Hyundai is poised to offer not one, but two battery electric vehicles (EVs) in Australia before the end of 2018: the (already confirmed) Ioniq hatchback and the recently announced Kona Electric.
While the company won’t yet go on record regarding the Kona crossover EV’s Australian future bar the vague line “under review”, sources inside HMCA tell us it’s actually a lock, with an ideal launch time in the fourth quarter of the year priced somewhere around the $50k mark.
The Kona Electric will be released on February 27 ahead of its worldwide premiere in the metal at the Geneva Motor Show, with a European launch by mid-2018. It combines the two biggest growth trends in motoring: a zero emissions drivetrain and a crossover SUV body.
Pictured: Petrol Kona Highlander
There will be two different powertrain versions on offer, with a headline power output of about 150kW, which alongside the typical slab on instantaneous electric motor torque, should make it a rocket. The claimed driving range between charges is up to 470km.
It’ll sit atop the Kona small SUV range in Australia alongside the existing two petrol offerings, which currently tops out at $36k for the Highlander turbo with AWD. The targeted $50k price would put the Kona Electric well into the mix against the petrol Audi Q2 and BMW X2, sans incentives.
The Q4 launch time is something of a moving feast, because Hyundai is off its feet with EV demand in Europe, North America and across Asia — markets with more advanced electric car environments, in terms of incentives, CO2 emissions regulations, public awareness and infrastructure, than Australia.
We’ve seen such a delay applied to the Ioniq family, which was already supposed to be here, but which has now been pushed back to later in the year. Hyundai plans to launch the regular hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully EV Ioniq family to the general public simultaneously.
The full-electric Ioniq has a more modest driving range of 280km and is powered by an electric motor that produces 88kW of power and 295Nm of torque. Under the floor pan is a 28kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack that offers both standard and quick charging.
HMCA’s plans around providing wallboxes are not yet clear.
The Korean giant plans on being a world leader in EVs, with 38 low-emission models in the works for launch by 2025, also including two hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles that convert this gas to electricity by combining it with atmospheric oxygen, leaving water and heat as emissions.
When the company offers the Ioniq and Kona EVs by either the end of this year, or potentially by the early stages of 2019 (the Ioniq will certainly lob this year), it’ll have a strong answer to the brand new Nissan Leaf due late this year, plus the Renault Zoe and BMW i3.
The Kona’s crossover body gives it a clear point of difference.