Updated: Apr 1, 2022
The number of strong contenders in the Electric Vehicle (EV) space continues to grow. Strong contenders in that they feature 250 miles or more of range on a single charge, DC fast charging capability that will replenish 80 percent of the charge in 45-ish minutes and a price tag that, with or without EV incentives, is at or near the average price of a new car today.
The Hyundai Kona Electric differs from the others in that it is an electric version of a car that can also be bought with a gasoline engine. And that takes a lot of the "alien" factor away for a first-time EV buyer.
The only real giveaway beyond an "electric" badge on the tail is the door on the front that conceals the charging port.
Under the hood is a 201-horsepower electric motor. And, as are most electrics, it's quick. Zero to 60 takes about 6.2 seconds. But as important as the power is the battery---storing enough juice for 258 miles between charges.
Let me put that in perspective. I have a 44-mile roundtrip commute to my day job. A week worth of commuting is 220 miles. Meaning, in theory, I would only have to charge this car once a week---about as often as a lot of people buy gasoline.
And given the Kona Electric's DC fast charging capability, this is a car I would have no worries about driving the 409 miles from Folsom (suburban Sacramento) to Los Angeles. I'd arrive at the mid-point, Harris Ranch, with 58 miles of range left, recharge in less than an hour while I had lunch, and arrive in Los Angeles with at least 50 miles remaining (likely more, from the regenerative braking while going down the legendary Grapevine on I-5).
Beyond that, and the charging gauge replacing the fuel gauge, this could be a gasoline-powered Hyundai Kona. There's no attempt to re-invent the driving experience, no massive screen for all functions, no oddball controls, no yoke in place of a steering wheel. If you've driven any other contemporary car, the Kona Electric requires no learning curve.
The base price of the 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric is $42,500. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the standard equipment highlights at that price are 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, leather-trimmed seats (heated and ventilated for the driver and front passenger) and a sunroof.
And---apart from $155 for floor mats, that's it. Everything is standard. So, with $1,225 inland freight and handling, the as-tested price of the 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric is $43,880. But EV incentives will knock that price down to $36,380, which is actually $9,000 less than the average price of a new car this year.
When the history of the mass conversion from fossil fuels to electric-powered cars is written, I think it'll be cars like the Kona that will be the heroes. Quick charging, solid range, a reasonable price and user-friendly operation all add up to making the 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric a big winner.