If you happen to be in California, rejoice; the 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric will arrive at dealerships in January, at just $37,495.
That brings the effective total to $29,995 for the Kona Electric, provided you have enough taxable income to receive the full the federal electric vehicle tax credit.
Now for the bad news: Although other California-emissions states that observe CARB’s ZEV mandate will see the Kona Electric soon after that, it won’t be available nationwide any time in the near future.
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It’s really too bad, as the 2019 Kona Electric is competitive with the Chevrolet Bolt EV, if not better than it, in many respects. The Kona Electric has an EPA-rated 258 miles, from a 64-kwh battery pack. The 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV, on the other hand, has a rating of 238 miles from a 60-kwh pack.
The Kona Electric has a 102.4-inch wheelbase and 164.0-inch overall length, both identical to the Bolt EV—quite the coincidence—but it’s slightly lower and wider overall and, from our impressions, feels more spacious inside, especially in terms of back-seat space and cargo usability.
Both have their big “skateboard” battery packs mounted low and stocked with LG Chem cells—prismatic for the Kona Electric, pouch for the Bolt EV.
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There’s one other significant difference: The Bolt EV doesn’t come standard with DC fast charging, while the Kona Electric does. Its hardware can accept CCS Combo DC fast charging at up to about 70 kilowatts. Even when equipped with its optional DC fast charger, the Bolt EV is limited to 50 kw.
2019 Hyundai Kona Electric
The Kona Electric will come in three trim levels, SEL, Limited, and Ultimate. The base SEL—the one this price applies to—comes with heated front seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, plus a robust set of active-safety features (forward collision warning, blind-spot warning, driver attention warning).
Hyundai hasn’t yet finalized prices for the rest of the lineup, but the top Ultimate model includes adaptive cruise control, and Limited versions get upgraded infotainment, Infinity audio, a head-up display, ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.
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Although these two models seem so close in pricing today, much will change in April, because General Motors reached a cumulative 200,000 deliveries of eligible plug-in vehicles this calendar quarter. Beginning the second quarter of 2019 GM’s federal tax credit amounts will be reduced by half―to $3,750 for the Bolt EV.
By then, the 2019 Kia Niro EV and 2020 Kia Soul EV, both also offering the big 64-kwh battery pack, will both be on sale. If you want a city-sized all-electric hatchback with more than 200 miles of range, depending on where you are, you may suddenly have quite a few options.