Two-model strategy is being discussed
UPDATE: News story now updated with preview video from the 2018 New York motor show.
Hyundai Australia says the hotly-anticipated Kona Electric should be touching down locally late this year, or early in 2019.
According to the company, our compact electric SUV will be sourced from Korea when it arrives. Local tuning for the suspension and steering is set to commence shortly.
Initially, priority will be given to the 64kWh long-range model, capable of a claimed 470km zero-emissions driving range. The final model line-up is "a work in progress" at the moment, but Hyundai says it's looking at a two-tier strategy when it comes to trim levels.
In base trim, the car is powered by a 99kW/395Nm electric motor, good for a 9.3-second sprint to 100km/h. The long-range version runs with 150kW and 395Nm, for a 7.4 second 0-100km/h sprint and a 167km/h top speed.
Unfortunately, pricing hasn't been confirmed at this point, but scuttlebutt suggests it could land below $50,000. Here's hoping it can hit that mark – excluding the fleet-only Renault Zoe, that would make it the cheapest electric vehicle in Australia.
The forthcoming Nissan Leaf is likely to land around the same mark.
Beyond a few styling tweaks – aero-style wheels, and a unique grille – along with the electric powertrain and a new digital driver display inside, the Kona Electric is very similar to its combustion-powered brethren.
Both driver and passenger sit in heated and cooled seats, and there's an option for a heated steering wheel as well. A new head-up display is designed to be both brighter and larger than before, offering information about the autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring and driver-attention systems.