Hyundai Beats Tesla to the Compact Electric Crossover Punch
The Model S wasn’t the world’s first electric car, nor was it even the first Tesla, but thanks to its long range and practical design, the 2012 Model S did something revolutionary. It convinced the public that EVs can be real cars. Since then, Tesla has added the Model X and the Model 3 to its lineup, but it still doesn’t sell a compact crossover, one of the hottest segments in the auto industry right now. Perhaps sensing an opportunity, today Hyundai announced plans to sell an all-electric version of its Kona crossover.
But while most automakers have announced plans to begin selling EVs sometime between 2020 and 2025, the Kona Electric will go on sale this summer. At the moment, it’s only confirmed for Europe, but with the gas-powered Kona hitting U.S. dealers soon, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the electric version soon follow. Unfortunately, while the Hyundai USA spokesperson we reached out to said they hoped to have more information soon, they couldn’t tell us much more than that.
In the announcement, Hyundai said it’s targeting an official range of about 290 miles per charge. Even better, it hopes to achieve that kind of range using the Worldwide Harmonized Light-duty Vehicles Test Procedure, a much more realistic standard than the notoriously generous New European Driving Cycle rating. WLTP testing also closely matches EPA range, which means the Kona Electric should offer a longer range than both the Chevrolet Bolt and the short-range Tesla Model 3. It will still come up a little short compared to the long-range Model 3, though.
Of course, range aside, for buyers who like the idea of an electric car but would really prefer a compact crossover, the Kona Electric will be their only option. The Model X is significantly larger, and considering how backed up Model 3 production is, we don’t expect to see the Model Y anytime soon. Kia also recently showed off an electric Niro concept, but it has yet to announce a production date.
Hyundai still hasn’t said anything about pricing, but look for that to be announced later this month ahead of the Kona Electric’s debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show.