Efficiency: 4.2 miles/kWh
I’m a couple of months into life with our Hyundai Kona Electric now, and it is performing superbly. Its 64kWh battery continues to give excellent range on one charge, and it has even passed a couple of tests on practicality: an autumnal clear-out at the local tip, and a long-distance family run from my home in Berkshire to Liverpool.
Truth be told, I was never going to do the whole run to Merseyside in one hit, even as a challenge. With a five-year-old on board, the days of settling in for a three hour-plus odyssey without even a toilet break are long gone.
• Hyundai Kona Electric vs Nissan Leaf
Instead I took the chance to test Ecotricity’s Electric Highway charging network. I’ve had problems with the motorway service area-based points before, but to and from Liverpool they worked perfectly, allowing me a comfort break and half an hour of charging at Warwick Services (in both directions), plus some electricity (and a bite to eat) at Lymm in Cheshire on the way up.
The only black mark was a chap in a conventionally powered (and very rental-looking) Hyundai i20, who’d decided to park in one of the EV bays at Warwick South to listen to his music, at full volume. I presume (and hope) that the fine is in the post.
You’ll have noticed, by the way, that the Kona Electric’s official battery range has been downgraded slightly. It’s the result of an error in the original WLTP testing process, we’re told. Its official maximum distance is now 279 miles, which translates to 4.4 miles per kWh.
A period of more local journeys over the festive holidays has nudged my average closer to the revised official figure. But now I’m back to my usual mix of driving – probably a 50/50 split between motorways and urban roads – the Kona is delivering 4.2 miles per kWh again.
Hyundai Kona Electric Premium SE: first report
Affordable battery-powered Hyundai Kona Electric SUV joins our fleet. Is it a hit?
Efficiency: 4.4 miles/kWh
These are exciting times if you’re considering switching to an electric car. Prices are falling as battery range continues to grow – and so does our fleet, because alongside the Nissan Leaf we’ve taken delivery of one of the best EVs around, the Hyundai Kona Electric.
• Best electric cars on sale
Our Affordable Electric Car of the Year, the Kona Electric comes in a couple of specs – but we’ve gone the same way as the vast majority of the early orders by opting for the more powerful, bigger-battery edition. It offers around 300 miles of real-world range and while the recent cut in the Plug-in Car Grant has taken the price to well over £30,000 instead of just under it, that’s still around half the figure that this capacity has cost with rivals until now.
Hyundai GB is being quite canny about introducing the Kona Electric, mind you. You can’t order the car conventionally at present; instead, you use its Click to Buy website to get a personalised quote. Stick in about 10 per cent as a deposit, with no part-exchange, and you’ll be looking at a monthly figure of just under £500 based on 10,000 miles per year.
That sounds a fair old whack, but then you have to factor in how much you’ll save in fuel. The larger-battery Kona has a capacity of 64kWh, and my home energy tariff (which happily includes electricity sourced entirely from renewable sources) would give a full charge for around £8.50. By contrast, 300 miles in a petrol-powered Kona would cost you around £40, so you could save more than £1,000 per year on fuel alone.
Perhaps the hardest part of buying a Kona Electric could be the patience required waiting for it to turn up. Hyundai has been severely limited in supply; the firm’s UK boss recently told us he has around 1,000 vehicles to sell this year, when he reckons he could shift 5,000. Sure enough, the Click to Buy site estimates a 42-week wait.
We collected our car from a dealership, as many customers still will. Salesman Michael Dayles talked us through the options Kona customers can choose from – including the vibrant colour palette (our car is in what’s known as Acid Yellow, in case you’re wondering). And he admitted he has noticed a surge in interest in EVs over recent months.
“We’ve had at least one person a day walking in to request information about the Kona Electric,” Michael said. “A few of them have actually been Tesla Model 3 customers who have become frustrated at the delays with that car. We’re able to help, of course, by walking them through the online process. But it does feel like we could be making more of it, if HQ could get stock.”
We’re in a relatively privileged position, then, with six months ahead of us to rack up miles and put that real-world range (and the Kona’s everyday usability) to the test. It’ll certainly be interesting to find out whether it feels like ‘less of an EV’ because of the increased range.