electric vehicles are considered boring and impractical by Indians because of
the very limited choice available in the market today. But all that perception
is bound to change with the launch of the Hyundai Kona Electric. We got to
drive this new electric car at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater
Nodia, India’s only F1 track.
Kona electric SUV has a unique front grille with intaglio patterns and a unique
graphic element on the grille with a spilt type headlamp. The electric charging
port is seamlessly integrated with this grille area for convenient, head-in
parking at charging stations. It has LED Daytime Running Lights above and Bi-
Function LED Headlamps below.
side profile shows a sloping roof line and distinct design characteristics of a
sporty SUV with lightweight aero design wheels. The vehicle comes with 215/55
R17 tyres. The vehicle has a very aerodynamic styling with a sporty roof rail
and a sun roof. The rear has slim brake lights and turn indicators. The rear
bumper fascia is quite smartly designed. Not to be missed are the Rear Skid Plate
and the rear spoiler with the high mounted stop light.
interiors are sleek and simple, yet smart in more ways than one because of the
dark shades and the decent material used. Leather Seats, Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel,
Premium soft touch pad on dashboard, Metal Pedals and Digital Instrument
Cluster with Supervision give the vehicle an up market appeal.
shift-by-wire drive controls are supported by a centre console upper bridge
element with an integrated open-access lower storage bin for convenience. The 7
inches touchscreen infotainment includes standard Android Auto and Apple
CarPlay capability. The touchscreen infotainment includes AM/FM/MP3, auxiliary
input, voice-command recognition and Rear View Monitor.
is plenty of storage space and charging point in front. The steering wheel can
be adjusted for distance as well as tilt. The vehicle has a motor-driven power
steering. The Kona comes with Steering Mounted Audio & Bluetooth Controls.
vehicle gets power driver’s seat, leather ventilated seats in the front,
automatic air conditioning and smart key with push button start. Kona electric also
offers smart phone wireless charging. To charge a device, simply place a
compatible smart phone on the wireless-charging interface located in the center
The rear seats are decent with space for three
with three adjustable headrests. But what is missing are the much needed AC
vents at the back. There are no charging ports for the rear passengers.
coming to performance, this electric SUV gathers instant speed, thanks to the
massive torque available at the word “Go”. The Kona Electric powertrain employs
a powerful and highly-efficient 134hp permanent-magnet synchronous electric
motor powered by a high-voltage 39.2 kWh advanced lithium-ion polymer battery.
The motor develops 395Nm of torque distributed to the front wheels. It accelerates
from 0- 100 kmph in just 9.7 seconds. The battery system has liquid-cooling
long wheelbase, short overhangs and wide track create a planted stance. The
front suspension features a MacPherson strut system using an innovative
sub-frame bushing design for enhanced comfort and reduced NVH. The MacPherson
strut design uses gas-filled shock absorbers and a hollow stabilizer bar for
lower weight and enhanced responsiveness.
Electric offers different driving modes (Eco+, Eco, Comfort and Sport). Since
we had just three rounds to ourselves on the F1 track, we opted for the Sport
mode. The vehicle was zippy and even at those sharp corners, the tyres
screeched but stood its ground, balancing the vehicle superbly on the track. Now
this car comes with paddle shifters and mind you unlike conventional cars where
these shifters are used to manually change gears to have some fun kicking
around the vehicle, in the Kona, the paddle shifters are used for Adjustable
Regenerative Braking. Thus these paddle
shifters are basically regeneration paddles.
make things a bit more clear let me explain to all the novices out there that
when you apply the brakes in a vehicle to stop it, the kinetic energy gets
converted into heat energy as the brake pads get into action and this heat is
dissipated into the atmosphere. This energy that is wasted or dissipated into
the air can be tapped. This is the basic principle of regenerative brakes. It
is basically an energy recovery mechanism.
with the help of electric motors in fully electric vehicles and hybrid electric
vehicles, regenerative braking takes place.
How is that? One of the properties of an electric motor is that, when it
is run in one direction, it converts electrical energy into mechanical energy
that makes the wheels of a vehicle move. But the same motor when it is run in
the opposite direction, it plays the role of an electric generator, converting
mechanical energy into electrical energy. This electrical energy is stored in
lithium ion batteries to be used by the motor to move the vehicle. It is
similar to filling up your fuel tank in a conventional ICE vehicle.
regenerative braking gets into action when the brake pedal is depressed as well
as when the vehicle is decelerating.
Coming back to the Hyundai Kona, when decelerating or coasting downhill,
electric motor can generate electricity rather than consuming it. This charges you high voltage batteries and
extends your driving range. This is shown on the power charge gauge in the
instrument cluster. When regenerative braking takes places you can see the
amount of charging take place with the number of bars on the screen increasing
Kona Electric allows four different levels of regenerative braking from 0 to 3.
The higher the level, the greater is the amount of regenerative braking and
more aggressively the vehicle decelerates as you take the foot off the
vehicle. With the paddle shifters on
right and left of the steering wheel, you can select your levels which get
indicated on the bottom of the instrument panel’s LCD screen. The left shifter
increases the level while the right decreases the level of regenerative braking
and increases the deceleration level.
Thus at level 0 there is no regenerative braking. So even if you lift
your foot off the accelerator, the vehicle is coasting away. Higher levels are ideal for stop and go
traffic or when you are going down a hill. One must also remember that the
levels of regenerative braking using paddle shifters act different in terms of
response in different drive modes. At the track, I must confess I was driving
at 0 level to get as much momentum as possible!
Hyundai Kona also has a function of a one pedal driving. This is controlled by
the left paddle shifter. While you are coasting, you can press and hold the
left paddle. That applies a higher level of regenerative braking for your speed.
This will bring your vehicle to a complete stop. You have to step on the
accelerator to move the vehicle forward. In normal driving, with this function
activated, you need not use your brake pedal at all, only the left paddle and
your accelerator. If you release the left paddle while travelling more than 3.2
km per hour, regenerative braking returns to your previous preset levels. But at speeds lower than 3.2 kmph if you
release the left paddle shifter, regenerative braking remains at its maximum
vehicles need to be charged and for this, Hyundai Motor India is providing
customers with two chargers along with the car – A portable charger and an AC
Wall Box Charger. The Portable charger can be plugged into any normal 3 Pin 15
Amp socket. This charger can top up daily running of 50Kms in less than 3
Hours. Whereas AC Wall Box charger (7.2 kW) can top-up charge the vehicle
within 1 hour for running 50Kms.
it comes to safety, the Kona Electric comes with Electric Parking Brake with
Autohold, 6 Airbags, ABS with EBD, ESC, Vehicle Stability Management, Hill
Assist Control, Rear Camera with Guideline, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System,
All Disc Brakes and a Virtual Engine sound System (VESS). Unfortunately, the
drive lasted barely a few minutes and we really could not test out the VESS.
Hyundai Kona Electric will definitely change the perception about electric cars
in India. No longer will they be looked upon as primitively designed and shaped
cars with lithium ion batteries. With modern features and a technology that is
so sophisticated, the Hyundai Kona Electric can definitely give a modern ICE
car a run for its money.
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