Hyundai introduced the US-market version of its Kona Electric crossover at the New York Auto Show. Kona Electric rides on an all-new CUV platform and is Hyundai’s first compact electric crossover for the US market. It joins Hyundai’s successful new Kona, Tucson and Santa Fe in a full line-up of Hyundai crossovers for the US market.
2019 Kona Electric models will be produced in Ulsan, Korea and available in the fourth quarter of 2018, with initial availability in California and subsequently in the ZEV-focused states in the western and northeastern regions of the US market.
The Kona Electric powertrain employs a high-efficiency 150 kW (201 horsepower) permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor supplied by a high-voltage 64 kWh lithium-ion battery. The motor develops 291 lb-ft (395 N·m) of torque distributed to the front wheels through a 7.981 axle ratio. Estimated range is 250 miles (402 km).
The powertrain inverter has a power density of 25.4 kVA per liter. The battery system is liquid-cooled and operates at 356 volts. Battery pack energy density is 141.3 Wh/kg (greater than Chevy Bolt), with a total battery system weight less than 1,000 lbs. In addition, Kona Electric energy efficiency is internally-estimated at 117 MPGe, superior to Nissan Leaf (112 MPGe), Tesla Model S (104 MPGe), and Tesla Model X (93 MPGe).
The Kona Electric utilizes a Level-II on-board charging system capable of a 7.2 kW rate of charge for rapid recharging characteristics. Kona Electric estimated range is a segment-leading 250 miles (402 km), meeting the varying needs of owner lifestyles.
An 80% charge can be achieved in 54 minutes with a Level-III quick charge (zero to 80 percent charge @ 100 kW), using the SAE-Combo charging port, while a 7.2 kW Level-II charger takes nine hours and thirty five minutes. This 100 kW DC fast-charging capability is standard on the Kona Electric. For charging convenience, the charging port is located in the front grille area for head-in parking ease whenever charging is needed.
The Kona Electric compact platform has been developed to give customers CUV-like ground clearance and an elevated, command seating position to provide better visibility and comfort on long journeys, as well as easy ingress and egress. Rear suspension component intrusion is minimized, allowing for a lower load floor and seating position to deliver impressive headroom and ease of access for rear occupants.
Designers maximized interior space for storage versatility, meeting the requirements of eco customers with active lifestyle pursuits. Split-folding rear seats fold flat via a dual-level load floor that yields additional vertical space and allows easy access for a variety of recreational equipment. As a result, Kona Electric offers a generous 19.2 cubic feet of rear cargo volume, exactly the same volume as the Kona with an internal combustion engine.
Kona Electric was developed with a focus on enhanced driving dynamics and responsive performance for a variety of urban and multi-surface driving conditions. The long wheelbase, short overhangs and wide track create a planted stance that results in exceptional agility in urban environments with enhanced linear stability and ride comfort.
The front suspension features a MacPherson strut system using an innovative sub-frame bushing design for enhanced comfort and reduced NVH. The MacPherson strut design uses gas-filled shock absorbers and a hollow stabilizer bar for lower weight and enhanced responsiveness. Standard 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/55R17 tires give surefooted, agile handling character on a variety of road surfaces.
All Kona Electric models employ a sophisticated multi-link rear suspension design for overall agility, ride comfort and stability with minimal ride vs. handling compromises. Its geometry was specially designed for refined body movement on a variety of surfaces. Rear suspension control arm design also minimizes camber and toe changes throughout the suspension travel range.
Kona Electric also offers Drive Mode Select, which allows the driver to customize dynamic responses, such as steering feel, transmission and overall powertrain responsiveness to their preferences, and to changing road or traffic conditions. Differentiated driving modes (Normal, Eco and Sport) optimize torque distribution, tailoring Kona Electric to a variety of driving preferences and purposes. In Sport mode, there is a greater emphasis on acceleration, while Normal and Eco modes progressively prioritize range over performance with more conservative power-delivery strategies.
Steering. Kona Electric’s motor-driven power steering is more efficient and quieter than traditional hydraulic systems, reducing typical parasitic losses from ancillary belts and their continual drag on the powertrain. Further, the steering system was engineered and tuned specifically for Kona Electric’s precise and rapid adjustments in steering feel with changing driving conditions. The steering wheel itself offers a wide range of tilt and telescopic adjustment for greater driver comfort.
Safety structure. Hyundai is the only global car manufacturer to produce its own steel for vehicle production for specific benefits to Kona Electric structural integrity and safety. The lightweight yet strong unibody structure has been developed with Advanced High Strength Steel to deliver leading levels of inherent passive safety characteristics.
Proprietary hot-stamping methods produce lightweight, ultra-strong structural elements to maximize the cabin’s central safety cell. The length of structural adhesives used in Kona Electric production exceeds 375 feet, providing additional torsional rigidity and further reducing overall structure weight for better fuel efficiency, acceleration and handling. The platform also features an innovative multi-load path structure—an advanced energy dispersion technology that dispenses crash energy across multiple structures to help protect passengers in the event of an accident.
Active safety. Kona Electric offers advanced active safety features, including standard Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), which uses the car’s front-facing camera to help detect an imminent collision and avoid impact or minimize damage by braking autonomously. Three additional systems also utilize the standard front-view camera to boost safety and convenience: Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), High Beam Assist (on LED-headlight-equipped models), and Driver Attention Warning (DAW).
By sensing road markings, Lane Keeping Assist helps to prevent accidental lane departure by automatically steering the car if required. High Beam Assist automatically controls the high beam headlights depending on surroundings, while the Driver Attention Warning system monitors a spectrum of driver-related characteristics to help detect driver fatigue or careless driving.
Kona Electric radar systems also assist with the Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) to help detect approaching vehicles that may be obscured from view during highway driving. The Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist helps detect when another vehicle may have entered the car’s rearward path, such as backing out of a parking spot, and may provide a driver alert and automatic braking assistance.
Advanced infotainment and connectivity. Kona Electric offers a full suite of sophisticated technologies paired with user-friendly functionality to keep passengers informed and entertained. The premium infotainment system offers various advanced connectivity features, including standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM Radio, HD Radio and next-generation Blue Link LTE-powered connectivity.
The standard seven-inch color LCD display includes AM/FM/MP3 touchscreen audio, auxiliary inputs, voice-command recognition and Rear View Monitor. The available eight-inch touchscreen navigation display includes next-generation Blue Link, traffic flow and incident data via HD radio, Infinity premium audio with eight speakers, subwoofer and Clari-Fi music-restoration technology. Smartphone integration is also included in the premium system.
Because some Kona Electric buyers will have downsized from a larger CUV, Kona Electric offers features that they would be accustomed to in larger CUV segments, such as a seven-inch color LCD electroluminescent gauge cluster, power driver’s seat, leather heated seats, automatic air conditioning and proximity key.
A Heads-Up Display system is available, projecting a virtual image onto the transparent panel mounted behind the instrument panel, which helps the driver to keep his or her eyes on the road. With a generous, eight-inch projected-image size and outstanding luminance, the Heads-Up Display provides both excellent day- and night-time visibility. Information projected includes speed, navigation instructions, safety and audio system information. Deployed vertically by a simple touch of a button beside the steering wheel, the display disappears into the dashboard when not in use.
In a first for the segment, Kona Electric offers smartphone wireless charging. To charge a device, simply place a compatible smartphone on the wireless-charging interface located in the center console storage, recharging without the need for cables. The system indicates when the phone has fully charged, reminds occupants to remove their phone when exiting the vehicle, and detects when a foreign object is in the recharging area that could interfere with charging. The system is fully compliant with WPC’s Qi standard for ease of use.
Next-generation BLue Link connected car system. All Kona Electric models include complimentary three-year Blue Link services, with enhanced safety, diagnostic, remote and guidance services (models equipped with factory navigation). Blue Link brings connectivity directly into the car with technologies such as Google Home, Remote Start with Climate Control, Destination Search by Voice, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, Car Finder, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, and Stolen Vehicle Recovery. In addition, Kona Electric adds exclusive EV-oriented features such as Remote Charge Management, Charge Scheduling, EV Power History and EV Range.
Blue Link features can be accessed via buttons on the rearview mirror, the MyHyundai.com web portal, the Blue Link smartphone app, Amazon Alexa Blue Link skill and using the Blue Link Google Assistant app. Some features can also be controlled via Android Wear and Apple Watch smartwatch apps. The latest release of the Blue Link smartphone app includes:
- Widgets for easy access to remote features
- Access to Blue Link notification settings
- Access to the Hyundai accessories website
Owners can manage and monitor the Kona Electric remotely via the Blue Link smartphone app. With the app, owners can access real-time data from their Kona Electric and perform specific commands like starting the engine and locking doors. Plus, users can search for points of interest using Google with voice or text and have the directions when they start their Kona Electric.
For Kona Electric owners who will charge at their residence, one of the most useful features of the app is the ability to manage their charging schedule. Owners are given vehicle charging options that they can select while in the car, but users can also manage them remotely via their smartphone. Immediate charge is the simplest option, as charging begins as soon as the Kona Electric is plugged-in.
A distinctive instrument cluster provides Kona Electric drivers with additional information about the vehicle’s functions. A charge indicator is located on top of the dashboard to make it easy to see the state of charge from outside the vehicle.
Individuals that have different electric rates at off-peak times may want to schedule the charge to reduce cost as well as reduce peak demand on the electricity grid. Users can do that with the new app based on time and date.