2024 Hyundai Kona Electric Preview Drive: Still not a mini Ioniq 5, but promising

2024 Hyundai Kona Electric Preview Drive: Still not a mini Ioniq 5, but promising

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Earlier this month, we had our first opportunity to drive the 2024 Hyundai Kona. It’s bigger, roomier and better at hauling cargo than the outgoing model, but the powertrains pretty much carry over from the previous-generation car. That's not the case with the 2024 Hyundai Kona Electric, which gets a more significant overhaul of its powertrain lineup.

There are now two motor and battery combinations available, roughly paralleling the gasoline options in the standard car. There’s a new entry-level, 133-horsepower motor mated to a 48.6 kWh battery with 197 miles of range and then a larger, 201-horsepower motor paired to a 64.8 kWh battery, which Hyundai says is good for 260 miles. Either way, it’s front-wheel-drive only.


If you’re familiar with the outgoing Kona Electric, that 201-horsepower figure should ring a bell, as it's the same output as last year. However, the torque output decreased considerably, from 291 pound-feet to just 188. The base motor produces the same 188 pounds of twist twist, for whatever that’s worth. The Kona's upgrade motor is also the same unit found in its platform mate, the Kia Niro EV, and like that car, the new Kona Electric still uses 400-volt architecture. The E-GMP platform utilized by the Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 packs an 800-volt setup.

While this makes no difference at all in the way the Kona drives, this is a charge speed bottleneck; don’t expect significant improvements over the outgoing car; charging from 10 to 80% on a level 2 home setup should take just over 5 hours for the smaller battery and 6:15 for the larger; both can top off on a level 3 fast-charger in approximately 43 minutes, Hyundai says. A max charge rate isn't specified by Hyundai, but the charge time suggests it's similar to the Kia Niro EV that tops out at 85 kW.

The new Kona Electric hasn’t launched just yet, but Hyundai shipped a pair of pre-production prototypes in from the mothership for us to sample during a break in our evaluation of the standard model. The loop set up for us was quite short, but its meandering route through Baltimore County horse country was nonetheless informative.