Hyundai Kona Electric | First Drive | Review |

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HYUNDAI KONA ELECTRIC - SURGING FORWARD WITH VOLTS & BOLTS Riding on the government’s drive to propel electric mobility in India, Hyundai brought in its first electric vehicle (EV) – the Kona Electric, amidst much fanfare. Standing testament to the company’s vision and efforts to promote EVs across the globe, the Kona Electric has been adapted to make it more suited for Indian conditions. With testing carried out on an India specific driving cycle, the Kona Electric is slated to offer an ARAI certified range of 452 kms, which may prove to be an optimal solution that wards-off range anxiety woes amongst potential buyers. To get a better understanding of the product, Auto Tech Review briefly tested the new EV on the Buddh International Circuit (BIC). Here is our take on the Hyundai Kona Electric that may spearhead the acceptance of EVs in India. PROPULSION AND ENERGY STORAGE Being an EV, the Kona Electric is miles apart for the current petrol and diesel models on offer. The compact electric SUV features a Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (PMSM) that helps propel the car. This motor has been fitted and designed to replicate what looks like the engine in a traditional Internal Combustion model. The PMSM transfers power to a single speed reduction gear that drives the front wheels of this compact electric SUV. Capable of producing roughly 395 Nm of torque, the motor also serves up a nifty 134 hp. With peak torque available from the moment you begin rolling, the Kona Electric can easily surprise most drivers who have not experienced electric vehicles. Accelerating from standstill to a 100 km/h in a matter of 9.7 s, the electric system brushes aside any doubts about performance and speed. The PMSM draws its power from a large lithium-ion polymer battery pack. With a new platform on the Kona Electric, Hyundai has been able to execute space-saving integration of the battery pack, while not compromising on space in the new EV. The company has opted to use a lithium-ion polymer instead of the conventional nickel-metal hybrid batteries aiding a lower memory sensitivity and excellent charge & discharge efficiency, along with a highly optimised maximum output. The battery setup on the Hyundai Kona Electric is capable of holding 39.2 kWh of charge, that has aggregated to its extensive range. Along with battery setup is a newly developed Battery Thermal Management system which delivers higher efficiency of the battery and a higher lifetime. The system offers water cooling through the air-conditioning system and is heated by an electric heating element to maintain optimal conditions for the battery pack. While the lithium-ion battery provides ample capacity to hold charge, one will need to charge the vehicle from time to time and this will not be as simple as fuelling up at a gas station. To improve the convenience of charging, Hyundai will be offering a 7.2 kW AC wall box charger that can be installed at a customer’s desired premises free of cost. The charger is stated to take six hours and ten minutes to completely charge the battery pack. Hyundai will also be offering a 2.8 kW in-cable control box (ICCB) on the new Kona Electric. The ICCB can be used in a normal wall socket but takes roughly 19 hours to completely charge the batteries, it can be beneficial in emergency situations, taking up to three hours to charge that batteries to deliver a 50 km range. While these chargers are enough to offer charging convenience at home or in the office, Hyundai has ensured there are DC fast charging outlets in select tier one cities such as Delhi and Mumbai. The company has tied up with IOCL to install four 50 kW CSS Type – 2 fast chargers in four cities. These are capable of juicing up the batteries to 80 % in just 57 minutes. One will however, need to wait at the refuelling station to charge the electric vehicle. DRIVE EXPERIENCE Predominantly, the Kona Electric has an architecture that is different to traditional IC powered models. Owing to many different components, engineers have been able to successfully design a more flexible layout on the Kona Electric that can be adapted