Hyundai India has begun delivering the Kona electric SUV. A customer in Mysuru, Karnataka, took delivery of the state’s first Kona Electric. A Hyundai dealer in Bangalore – Advaith Hyundai – delivered the first Kona Electric SUV of Karnataka to Mr. Raghavan, an environmentalist and owner of Raghulal and co. Mr. Raghavan’s wife Radhika accompanied him to take delivery of the car. Hyundai sells the Kona electric in 15 cities of India, through 17 dealerships. The SUV is India’s first high range electric car. The other electric cars sold in india have ranges of less than 150 kilometers on a single charge. In contrast, the Kona offers an ARAI certified range of 452 kilometers on a full charge of its lithium ion batteries. The Kona’s batteries take about 8 hours to recharge fully from empty. They can also be charged to 80 % of their capacities in just an hour using a fast charger.
The big range per charge is a key reason why Mr. Raghavan was able to buy the Kona Electric in Bangalore, and then drive to his residence in Mysuru. The other electric cars in the market are unlikely to make it so far on a single charge. Range anxiety is one of the biggest concerns on electric cars, and this is a reason why they’re not yet popular. While companies such as Tesla, Nissan and Hyundai have successfully produced cars that can do long distances on a single charge, there’s another factor that’s limiting sales of electric cars: the prohibitive cost of batteries. This is a main reason why electric cars are so expensive. Despite the government charging lower GST and giving attractive rebates such as zero road tax, income tax benefits on electric car loans and on the Kona, the Kona electric SUV still costs about Rs. 25 lakhs, making it unaffordable for most except rich buyers.
The Kona is powered by a 135 Bhp electric motor whose talking point is the sheer torque it generates right from idle: All 395 Nm of it. The high torque from the electric motor means that the Hyundai Kona is very quick, and just takes 9.7 seconds to reach the 100 Kph mark from standstill. The electric SUV gets a CVT automatic gearbox which means that the driver doesn’t need to bother about gear shifting. In the coming years, electric cars are expected to become quite affordable. Hyundai for its part is investing Rs. 2,000 crores to develop an affordable electric car for the Indian market. However, this car is likely to be deployed mainly for the cab aggregator segment. It’ll still be a couple of years before India will get affordable electric cars with high range/charge.