Similar to Jaguar’s I-Pace and every car built by Tesla to date, the Kona’s architecture is based around a ‘skateboard’ lithium ion battery pack spread across a Volkswagen Golf-sized floorpan.

The pack comes in two sizes – 64kWh, with a WLTP-certified range of 300 miles, and 39kWh for those who can cope with a ‘mere’ 194 (we’re testing the former). Crucially, this platform was originally designed with electric propulsion in mind, which sets the Kona Electric apart from Hyundai’s very first electric car, the Ioniq. The new car differs further in that its battery is cooled by water rather than air.

Richard Lane

Road tester
Kona Electric gets unique 17in alloy wheels. These are a little fussy for our liking but are said to yield aerodynamic benefits, reducing drag and improving the driving range of the car

When it comes to replenishing that battery, the car uses a 7.2kW on-board charger and the same CCS Type 2 charging connector favoured by manufacturers Mercedes, BMW, Ford and Volkswagen. The time taken for an 80% charge ranges from 54 minutes from a 100kW public DC rapid charger to 31 hours from a domestic 240V AC three-pin outlet, with a typical home-installed 7kW wallbox charger doing the job in less than ten hours.

The Hyundai’s motor itself is impressively potent, and capable of putting 201bhp and 291lb ft through the front tyres. That torque figure is not only eye-openingly stout but also developed almost instantaneously, and therefore promises to give the most avant-garde Kona in the range a rude turn of pace.

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The car’s suspension is a blend of what you would find elsewhere in the Kona range. Here you have the MacPherson struts at the front but, rather than a good old-fashioned torsion beam, there’s a multi-link design at the rear – until now reserved for the more powerful four-wheel-drive variants. The steering is electromechanical and reasonably direct, at 2.5 turns lock to lock, though despite the absence of a sizeable internal combustion engine, the car’s turning circle remains unchanged, at 10.6 metres.

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