When will the Hyundai Kona Electric have increased range?

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Hi Bryce

 Thank you for your many excellent articles on EVs. I have learnt you are an owner of a Kona EV.

 I’ve looked at the specs for a Kona and got to drive one at a dealer here in Brisbane a few weeks ago.

I was very impressed with the car.

But less impressed with the dealership. Specifically I asked for a PDF glossy brochure for the 2020 model and for confirmation the car would have the ‘’tweak’ to increase the range to 484 kilometres.

And I have asked a few times in emails but I only hear from the salesman that he has no idea why there is no brochure but is unaware of the improvement in range. But I believe he doesn’t try very hard to find out.

 So do you have any insight into the Hyundai situation?

 Looking forward to your reply.

 Best wishes

Stephen Bower, Narangba QLD

Hi Stephen – the Kona electric has had a few variations and updates since it first went on sale in 2018 (and here in 2019).

Unfortunately, of the around 40,000 of them built in 2019 (by the way, Hyundai expect to double that production number in 2020), barely 500-ish come to Australia each year.

Given they are made in country specific batches (and each batch for Australia might only be half a day or less of production), this means when updates to the design apply in Australia can be a ‘bit’ tricky to determine relative to when the production change is made vs when our next few months allotment is made.

To further complicate things, some variations are not available in all markets. For instance reverse cycle heating cooling units are fitted to the Kona electric for cool climate countries, but the much less efficient resistive element heater is fitted for the Australian market.

Yet another problem is that Hyundai Australia has not officially confirmed it will incorporate the range improving changes into the Australian spec Kona. I would find it unlikely that ultimately it wouldn’t – but when is the question.

So to defend the sales person a bit – part of the problem is they probably have no real way to find out, although it would be better customer service to at least acknowledge the issues involved.

By the way, the modifications made to create the increased range were quite minor. They come from a change in tyre brand/type and some tweaks to the underbody aerodynamics.

If you’re trying to work out for yourself whether the changes have been applied to the Australian delivered Kona EV, see if it comes with Michelin brand tyres instead of Nexen – if so, then it probably has the increased range.

A second part of your question relates to the level of general EV knowledge by EV sales people. The Victorian and Tasmanian branches of AEVA (the Australian Electric Vehicle Association) have developed a short EV training course for dealership staff.

If you find that an EV dealer is a bit ‘thin’ on EV understanding – feel free to refer them to their local AEVA branch for a chat about the course.

Hope that helps Stephen

Kind regards

Bryce

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