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Hyundai Is Making An All-Electric Crossover And Man Is It Not A Tesla Fighter

Illustration for article titled Hyundai Is Making An All-Electric Crossover And Man Is It Not A Tesla Fighter
Photo: All Images Credit Hyundai

This is the new Hyundai Kona EV, announced today, looking every bit like the kind of car an automaker would be building in this Tesla-versus-everybody world. But wait.

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The Kona EV is like the vast majority of EVs from major manufacturers in that it’s exactly like the non-electric version, only with a bunch of batteries jammed into it and an electric motor. It’s still a fine and nice small crossover.

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Illustration for article titled Hyundai Is Making An All-Electric Crossover And Man Is It Not A Tesla Fighter

But the EV spec itself isn’t exactly thrilling.

Illustration for article titled Hyundai Is Making An All-Electric Crossover And Man Is It Not A Tesla Fighter

Hyundai says the long-range version gets a 64 kWh battery pack with 200 horsepower (150 kW) and a claimed range of 292 miles. A low-ranger version with a 39.2 kWh battery pack goes 186 miles and makes do with 132 horsepower.

Illustration for article titled Hyundai Is Making An All-Electric Crossover And Man Is It Not A Tesla Fighter
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So this isn’t exactly a Model X rival, the lowest spec of which runs off of a 60kWh setup and makes more power at one axle than the Kona does altogether. Also the Kona won’t cost a ton of money.

The Tesla Model 3, also, starts with a bigger 50kWh setup, with less claimed range (220 miles) and more claimed power (about 260 horsepower).

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Illustration for article titled Hyundai Is Making An All-Electric Crossover And Man Is It Not A Tesla Fighter

But I’m not mad. This car looks more attractive to me than any gas- or diesel-powered version. Moreover, unlike Tesla, I have no reason to believe that Hyundai can’t, you know, hammer this car together according to plan.

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Now we just have to see if Hyundai will bring the Kona EV to the United States. We know we’re getting the internal-combustion version, but the press release for the EV only mentions Europe. Time will tell.

CORRECTION: This post initially stated that the long-range version has a 39.2 kWh battery pack. That’s the spec for the low-range version.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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DISCUSSION

It might not light the world on fire, but 200hp puts it right in the middle of Compact Crossover country, and nearly 300mi of range is far better than most offerings. Don’t forget, the “New” Leaf still has a rated range of less than 150mi. Every EV, when compared to a Tesla, will likely fall short in all categories except either price, or VaporWare status. You need to compare apples-to-apples. This is more likely to be cross shopped with the Bolt. This has the same HP rating, longer range, and comparable interior space as the Bolt. In those terms, it’s actually a pretty attractive package, for people who are into this kind of thing.