The full-electric Kona accounted for 42 percent of the model line's European sales last year. Hyundai expects the second generation of the EV (center) to boost that share to 60 percent.
BERLIN -- Hyundai’s first-generation full-electric Kona has exceeded expectations. Last year the small SUV was the No. 9-selling EV in Europe.
Based on that performance, the Korean automaker has set its sights even higher for the second-generation model that arrives later this year.
Hyundai Europe CEO Michael Cole said he expects the electric Kona to account for 60 percent of sales for the model line, which will include combustion-powered and full-hybrid variants.
That would be up from sharply from the current electric Kona, which accounted for roughly 40 percent of the model line’s sales in 2022, according to figures from market researcher Dataforce.
To help the new Kona get to the next level, Hyundai increased the size of the second-generation EV, responding to customer demand for more interior space, making it one of the largest small SUVs available in Europe’s most popular segment.
At 4355 mm long – 175 mm (about 7 inches) longer that in its predecessor – the new Kona EV tops rivals such as the Dacia Duster (4341 mm), Peugeot 2008 (4300 mm) as well as the segment-leading Volkswagen T-Roc (4236 mm).
“Customers asked us for more interior space and a wider tailgate. We delivered, extending the Kona’s wheelbase by 60 mm as well as making it 25 mm wider and 20 mm taller,” Hyundai design head SangYup Lee told Automotive News Europe at the media lunch for the model family in Berlin last month.
Lee said the new Kona’s design is purposely very different from the Ioniq 5 midsize SUV’s clean, sharp lines and the smooth Ioniq 6 midsize sedan.
“Like on a chessboard, each piece has a very unique design, but together they make a complete team,” Lee said.
Despite delays caused by a global semiconductor shortage, Hyundai is maintaining a six-year life cycle for its models, which is one year less than most brands.
The first-generation Kona debuted as a combustion-powered model in mid-2017, followed by the full-electric variant 18 months later.
Hyundai will reduce the lag time with the second-generation Kona’s combustion version going on sale in Europe next month followed four months late by the battery-powered variant.
Both derivatives of the car were shown at the event, although Hyundai has not shared European specifications for the combustion version. Hyundai will also offer the Kona with a full-hybrid powertrain.
The multi-energy new model carries over the K3 architecture from its predecessor, which offers a 400-volt electric architecture. By comparison, the Ioniq 5 and 6 use Hyundai’s E-GMP (Electric Global Modular Platform), which had an 800-volt electric architecture, resulting in faster recharge times.
Hyundai said it takes 41 minutes to charge the new Kona from 10 percent to 80 percent using a fast charger, whereas to do the same with the Ioniq 5 takes less than 20 minutes.
Hyundai designed the first the battery-powered version of the Kona to be aerodynamic to increase range. That trend continued with the new Kona, which has a 0.27 drag coefficient, down from 0.29 for its predecessor.
Hyundai design head SangYup Lee (inset, right) is particularly proud of the new Kona's so-called Pixelated Seamless Horizon Lamps, which give the EV a lighting signature that goes from one side of its front to the other.
The new model also uses active air flaps in the front to reduce the airflow when it’s not needed for cooling. Lee said this feature is not very common on small SUVs.
Lee is particularly proud of the new Kona’s so-called Pixelated Seamless Horizon Lamps. This is a single line of LEDs that goes from one side of the Kona’s front to the other side. The same is true for the back, giving the small SUV its a unique lighting signature.
Inside the car, the Kona’s shift-by-wire gear selector has been relocated from the center console to behind the steering wheel, which allows more storage in the console area, that features foldable cupholders and can accommodate large bags.
The new Kona can be locked, unlocked and started through the Digital Key 2 Touch, using near-field communication (NFC) on smartphones or smart watches.
The new battery-powered Kona will continue to be offered in two configurations.
The standard range variant comes with a 48.4-kilowatt-hour battery coupled with a 114.4-kilowatt (156-hp) electric motor. The promised performance is 15.7 kWh of energy consumption per 100 km and a range of 342 km, based on WLTP standards.
The long-range Kona variant couples a 65.4-kWh battery with a 160-kW (218-hp) motor. The promised performance is 15.1 kWh/100 km and a range of 490 km.
All versions of the new full-electric Kona will be manufactured at the company’s factory in Nosovice, Czech Republic. Previously, Hyundai made right-hand-drive electric Kona derivatives in Ulsan, South Korea, which is where all combustion-powered Konas and will continue to be built.
With combined sales of 99,703 units, the Kona was Hyundai’s No. 2-selling model ahead the Tucson compact SUV last year. Broken down further, the non-electric Kona was the brand’s No. 3-seller and the electric Kona was No. 6 on the list (see table, below).
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