It was an eventful day yesterday as Hyundai India launched its first electric SUV in India – Kona. The Kona is the fourth SUV from Hyundai after Creta, Tucson, and Venue. But, not everyone from our editorial team was convinced with this move.
Mrinmoy Choudhury and I sat down and had a good conversation on what the Kona has to offer. He still doesn’t seem convinced with Hyundai’s move. Find out what Pros and Cons did we discuss upon.
Saurabh: It doesn’t look like an electric vehicle it blends in like any other SUV on the road.
Mrinmoy: The front is different, there are no grilles, the wheels giveaway that it’s an electric vehicle.
Saurabh: The wheels are designed that way for one purpose – Aerodynamic purpose.
Saurabh: The Kona EV gets a 39.2kWh battery producing 134bhp and 395Nm of torque.
Mrinmoy: They are selling a much powerful variant overseas.
Saurabh: More power would compromise on its range. And for starters, we can get going our electric campaign with this variant!
Mrinmoy: I doubt it can drive from South Mumbai to Lonavala.
Saurabh: It can do that quite easily and a fair amount of range still left in it. The Kona boasts a range of 452 km on a single charge.
4. Charge time
Saurabh: It takes 6 hours and 10 minutes to charge from zero to 100 per cent, even better if you have a DC quick charger that will charge the car up to 80 per cent in one hour. Also, you get a portable charger and a wall charger with the Kona.
Mrinmoy: It still does not beat my visit to the petrol station for a quick refill.
Saurabh: What happens when petrol prices skyrocket? This will eventually be our saviour and we have to give it some time, the technology will improve eventually.
5. Charging Stations
Mrinmoy: We do not have proper infrastructure set up in India yet. Heck, the infrastructure for CNG and LPG running vehicles, which has been for a long time, can only be found in metro cities at the most.
Saurabh: Hyundai has taken care of that by collaborating with Indian Oil to set up charging stations. Of course, this cannot happen in a day or even a month or a year, it will take time. But it’s a start in the right direction.
6. Range Anxiety
Mrinmoy: An Electric vehicle like Kona will always make me feel nervous because most of the times I will have to stay within my neighbourhood or be near a charging station whenever the range is about to finish. Plus, have the time and patience for the long charging time.
Saurabh: Haven’t you ever driven on roads where there are no petrol pumps? What do you do then? You coast your way towards the nearest pump. Similarly, you’ve gotta be little careful with the Kona as well, but to assist you with it there are driving modes like Sport, Eco / Eco + and comfort mode. These modes will help you in driving the Kona efficiently and at the same time giving good acceleration off the mark.
Mrinmoy: Spend some more money and I’d get an Endeavour or a Fortuner or the Trailhawk! Saurabh: Can any of them hit the 100km/h in 9.7 seconds? The Kona can do that without breaking a sweat, of course, with a bump in the range as it can only do that in the Sport mode.
8. Regenerative Braking
Saurabh: At first, you’ll find it difficult to get used to the regenerative braking feature. I believe a comprehensive class on it would help. But you can activate the brake by using the shifter paddles on the steering wheel and choose how much do you want the car to brake automatically.
Mrinmoy: No gear shifters, and no automatic gearbox, and what is regenerative braking? This will definitely take a long time for an average driver in getting used to the vehicle.
Saurabh: The cost of maintenance is 1/5th of an internal combustion engine, Hyundai is giving 3 years warranty and unlimited kilometres, along with a battery warranty for 8 years and up to 160,000 kilometres for its High Voltage Battery.
Mrinmoy: An average maintenance figure from Hyundai would have been more insightful.
Saurabh: For 25.3 lakh rupees, it gives me all the safety features, it is quiet on the road, it is environment-friendly, has the highest range so far for any electric car, blends well with the city traffic, has an electric sunroof, loads of infotainment features, ventilated seats, and the list goes on and on. Everything you can find on a premium SUV. And if you wait for some more time before buying the Kona, you can even get tax rebates on it! I’m excited to see how the Kona EV will perform in city conditions.
Mrinmoy: Your excitement is short-lived, we still need massive support from the government to encourage the building of charging points, plans on income tax discounts, and I feel that the Hyundai Kona has arrived at the electric vehicle party a little too early. The host (our country) is still struggling for resources whereas the Kona is all dressed up and ready to hit the dance floor. An average buyer would definitely consider buying a premium SUV than spending on a 25 lakh SUV.