200-mile Range ‘Kona’ EV Will Be Hyundai’s Answer To Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf

In announcing its answer to the Nissan Juke small crossover, Hyundai’s all-electric version due next year might also be an answer to the Chevy Bolt EV and Nissan Leaf.

To have a reported range of “around 240 miles” – a number that may be from a more-liberal test cycle than the U.S. EPA – the car fits with prior reports and rumors that Hyundai was developing a CUV with north of 200 miles.

“We will launch electric vehicle Kona EV model by next year,” said Hyundai’s vice chairman Eui-sun Chung at an unveiling event for the Kona which comes in petroleum-powered versions as well. “We will focus more on eco-friendly cars such as EV and hydrogen-electric cars.”

The present class champ in range-for-dollars in its approximate segment is the 238-mile Bolt, and the 2018 Leaf may eventually get over 200 miles, though initial reports suggest in may have less range for the first year.

Prior reports had it that a “200 mile” range EV from Hyundai would come from an upgrade to its only just-now releasing Ioniq Electric. That car has a 28 kWh battery and 124 miles range under EPA, and squeezing in enough extra batteries may be a challenge, but time will tell what they do with that one.

In other reports a small 200-mile all-electric crossover SUV by Hyundai had also been notated, and that indeed may have been an early on reference to the Kona.

In Hyundai’s announcing the new Kona, AutoCar reports also in the works are a new “A-SUV” that’s smaller than the Kona due by 2020, and a large SUV positioned above the Tucson. Hyundai basically says it is turning its attention to crossover SUVs as indeed, so have many consumers.

“We have analyzed the needs of our customers, and the SUV segment is reaching saturation,” said Chung. “We believe there’s greater room for potential growth in the B-SUV segment [compact crossovers such as the Kona and Juke]. Young drivers are looking for small but solid and powerful cars.

As for the electric version, it appears to be a little over an inch wider and a couple of inches shorter than the Chevy Bolt EV. Specs on the new 2018 Nissan Leaf due for unveiling in September in Japan are as yet not known.

Hyundai says the Kona will go on sale in Korea later this month, followed by North America and Europe. Whether Europe will get the EV version, however, was not stated by Chun.

The company promises it will be a spacious car, with modern infotainment, and stand-out style. The name “Kona” comes from the coastal region on the Big Island of Hawaii and follows a tradition of naming cars for places led by Tucson and Santa Fe.

This might lead one to ask would you rather be in Santa Fe, Tucson, or Kona? If tha latter sounds like a fun choice, Hyundai says the car is aimed to fill the bill.

“With the Kona, we have created a stylish and highly functional compact SUV, perfectly suited to the needs of customers who pursue challenging, action-filled lifestyles,” said Chung, “We aim to set new standards for the compact SUV segment, with appealing design, cutting-edge connectivity and class leading safety features.”

The new B-class car is packed with “uncompromised individuality and innovative features” say Hyundai, and petrol versions include a 2.0-liter gas version, and 1.0 and 1.6-liter diesels for Europe.

Baked in with the “voluminous, aggressive body styling” and “well-proportioned, dynamic silhouette” are advanced safety features. These includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA); High Beam Assist (HBA); and Driver Attention Warning (DAW), and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning (RCCW). Sensors, cameras and radar are part of the suite that combined promise a modern competitive car.

Hyundai’s press release did not so much as preview the battery electric version, so more details are yet to come. We’ll keep you posted as they do.

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