To be launched in the Indian market tomorrow, the Hyundai Kona could prove to be a game changer. The first proper electric car to grace our market, the Kona has been in international markets for quite some time already. The car will be imported in CKD form and assembled at the Chennai plant of the Korean brand. This would enable Hyundai to price the car more competitively, in a price sensitive market like ours, as importing completely built units would attract heavy taxes and duties. Being run by electric motors, the car comes with a number of quirks and features, here are our top 5 such features you need to know about.
Unlike many EVs which place the charging port where the fuel lid would be, the Kona takes a different approach. You see, the Kona does not require to have a conventional front grille where a radiator would be placed to cool the car down. Instead, you will find a flap at this spot which opens up to reveal the charging port. Hyundai has done this so that you do not have to squeeze into tight place to get your vehicle charged. Talking about charging, the car can charge up to 80% in an hour when connected with the fast charger.
The Kona would also offer multiple driving modes, to change the way the power is sent to the wheels. An eco mode would be helpful when you are low on charge, but would also make the motor feel a bit lazy. Then there is a comfort mode, suitable for daily driving, striking a balance between battery conservation and driver engagement. Finally, a sports mode will also be offered for moments when you feel like ripping up the tarmac. Moreover, Hyundai will also offer some customisation options for each mode, to suit the way you like to drive.
Low centre of mass
The Kona is powered by an electric motor which rests beneath the bonnet of the car up front. Feeding this motor is a set of batteries, which are placed on the floor of the car. These batteries, combined, have a considerable amount of mass which is all concentrated at the floor of the vehicle. This would bring the centre of mass of the car very low, near to the floor, making the car a much better handler. Moreover, the body roll of this SUV will also be in control.
Goodbye gear lever
The Kona does not come with a traditional gearbox or even a traditional gear lever. The motor directly drives the wheels in a single gear, but you do get an option of having a reverse gear. The reverse gear of the car can be engaged with the help of a button in the centre console. We have seen a similar pattern of shifting in other cars before, like the brand new Honda CR-V.
No gears but gets shifters
As mentioned above, the Kona uses a direct drive system with just one forward gear. However, despite that, you can spot levers on the steering wheel, where one can find paddle shifters. The shifters are there not to shift gears, but to allow you to change the level of regenerative braking the car does. Regenerative braking would use the kinetic energy from the wheels, when the car is coasting to convert it into electricity and store it in the battery for further use. The Kona lets you choose the amount of regen force you want and also gives you the option to switch it off completely if you wish to.
The Kona is not the only electric car coming to our market this year. MG Motor too has also announced its plan to bring the all-electric eZS SUV to the Indian market. To be manufactured locally at the MG plant in Halol, Gujarat, the eZS could prove to be a worthy competitor of the Kona. While both these cars will be priced under the INR 30 Lakh bracket, at the other side of the spectrum we will have the Audi E-Tron. This all-electric luxury SUV from the renowned German maker will also be on sale in India by the end of the year. Unlike the other two cars, the E-Tron will be sold as a CBU and priced around the INR 1 Crore mark when its launched.