Hyundai has confirmed that a series of design tweaks to its flagship all-electric Kona model are expected to be introduced in the Australian market, boosting the car’s range by almost 10 per cent.
The changes will be applied to the 64kWh model of the Kona available in Australia, and have been targeted towards reducing drag and rolling resistance across the vehicle, leading to a notable increase in range without any changes being made to vehicle performance or the battery capacity.
Combined with a range of chassis design adjustments, the Kona will receive a range boost of just over 35 kilometres, taking the total range of the 64kWh model to 484 kilometres. The chassis changes are likewise intended to reduce drag and air-resistence of the Kona, and are understood to relate mostly to the underside of the vehicle and so will have negligible impact on the Kona’s appearance.
Hyundai has worked with Michelin to add lower rolling resistance wheels to the Kona as standard, which are designed to reduce friction between the car and the road and will lead to a boost in the vehicle’s efficiency.
It is the latest example of how iterative design processes can be used to boost the mileage and performance of electric vehicles, but is one of the first to integrate improvements to a vehicle’s physical design as opposed to making refinements to the vehicle’s software or battery management systems.
As reported by the UK’s Autocar, the new design adjustment has been deployed into the European market, with right-hand drive European models receiving the update in March, and it is expected that the adjustments will be added to left-hand drive vehicles available in the UK later in the year.
It appears that the new electric Kona design is already being included for vehicles that recently commenced manufacture at Hyundai’s new plant located in the Czech Republic, with the first models of the Kona rolling off the assembly line earlier in March already being touted as featuring the increased 484 kilometre mileage.
While Hyundai was not able to confirm when the design changes would be introduced into models offered to the Australian market, a company spokesperson confirmed that they were being actively considered as part of a “future lifecycle update”.
The all-electric Kona has been popular since its introduction as a more affordable SUV offering, and has been recognized through a range of design awards, including bating out the Tesla model S and the Nissan Leaf to sweep the Automotive and Transport category at the 2019 Good Design Awards.
The electric Kona also earned a place in the Guinness Book of World records, after a version of the vehicle manufactured in India set a new record for reaching the highest altitude, by successfully driving to the Sawula Pass in Tibet.
The electric Kona has a retail price of between $63,615 and $70,065 depending on the model chosen, with three to choose from.
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