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.
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.
But the EV spec itself isn’t exactly thrilling.
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.
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).
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.
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.