What are you driving?
One of the most talked about new electric cars since Tesla arrived on the scene, the Hyundai Kona Electric. There's no mystery in the name, so you're looking at an all-electric version of Hyundai's junior crossover, the distinctive-looking, but already quite successful, five-door Kona. A 204hp electric motor turns the front wheels only and draws its power from a 64kWh battery pack. It is distinguished from its petrol and diesel brethren mostly by a blanked off radiator grille and a set of unique 17-inch alloy wheels.
There's just a single specification sold in Ireland at €38,130 (ok, you can pay €600 more to get a two-tone paint finish). That price includes the government's €5,000 VRT rebate, the €5,000 SEAI grant and some €1,126 'residual VRT', which Hyundai kindly covers. Standard equipment includes roof rails, leather upholstery with heated seats up front, climate control, auto lights and wipers, cruise control, electric windows, rear parking sensors with camera, Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Name its best bits
The combination of the Kona Electric's range between charges, the purchase price and its level of equipment are quite unique (well, until the Kona's cousin, the Kia e-Niro arrives in the country). What's more, we can report that the Kona can indeed pull off over 400 kilometres between charges in mixed driving. In one day involving a schlep from Dublin to Limerick and back on the motorway, with the cruise control set to the speed limit, we managed over 300 kilometres. Electric cars aren't at their best in such conditions usually. That makes the Kona Electric a viable only car for many thousands of buyers in Ireland. Business buyers in particular could find huge savings.
Anything that bugs you?
If you look only at the official range between charges, then the Kona Electric looks like good value against the premium options such as the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace, but it's smaller than those and not as 'premium' inside. Indeed, leaving aside the future-proof aspect of EV ownership, it's worth remembering that €38,000 or so will get you into a very nice version of the (larger) Hyundai Tucson. So yes, it's well-priced for a long-range electric car, but it's still more expensive than the average new car buyer can afford.
And why have you given it this rating?
Here's a useful electric car that mere mortals could conceivably consider purchasing. That moves the game on considerably and shifts focus from the high-end luxury marques that have so far dominated the 'electrification of the automobile' headlines. While it's still expensive by the standards of internal combustion alternatives, we're massively impressed with the Kona Electric, mostly because it delivers on its range promises in daily driving. Hyundai Ireland will sell every example it can get its hands on.
What do the rest of the team think?
Great battery range and great to drive, while its unique styling and crossover design should add to its appeal. The only limitation is that space in the rear seats isn't ideal for tall adults. Currently the best electric car on sale today, though.
Dave Humphreys - Road Test Editor