Hyundai Kona electric review Canada
The age of the electric car has arrived. You can now have it all! Sports car performance, instant torque, space for the family, and sufficient range for a day trip. Yes, the up-front cost may be higher, but the operating and lifetime costs are lower. And even if you can’t stump up the cash for a new electric vehicle (and most of us can’t), you may have other options that allow you to regularly drive an EV, especially if you live in Vancouver. This article discusses these options, but also is a Hyundai Kona electric car review for Canada.
Why electric vehicles?
Electric cars make a lot of sense for most people:
- No tailpipe emissions – cleaner local air
- Better performance characteristics – instant torque for faster acceleration, lower centre of mass for better handling, no spongy brakes with regenerative braking
- Lower maintenance requirements – fewer parts need maintenance and replacement, fewer visits to the mechanic, longer vehicle lifetime
- Lower lifetime emissions – even through current electric cars tend to have higher production emissions than conventional cars, overall lifetime emissions are lower. This is because the majority of lifetime emissions for a conventional car arise from consuming fuel, not the car’s production.
But EVs make extra sense in Vancouver.
- Vancouver has some of the cheapest and greenest electricity compared to other major cities around the world. Considering typical bills, the UK pays around $0.28 CAD per kWh and emits 280g CO2 per kWh, Vancouver pays $0.15 CAD per kWh and emits 11g CO2 per kWh!
Introducing the Hyundai Kona electric vehicle (EV) for Canada
The Kona EV is a small sport utility vehicle (SUV) crossover with around 200 horsepower (150kW) making it quite nifty and responsive. It does approximately 400km (250+ miles) on a full charge of the 64kWh battery, which should be sufficient for most people, especially considering the good charge network in BC, or across Canada’s highways now. You can charge to about 80% in 75 mins on a level 3 50kW charger, or 80% in 54 mins on a 100kW charger. There’s loads of level 3 50kW chargers around BC, as shown by the orange markers on the map.
The Kona comes with a 5 year / 100,000 km warranty and retails starting at about $45,000 CAD. It’s not Tesla Model X territory for pricing, but it’s not cheap neither. If that sounds like too much cash to party with, if you’re in Vancouver, you should consider joining Modo (see below); they’re a local car-sharing company that have 4 Konas!
We’re members of the car-sharing service Modo and they’ve got four Kona EVs to use around Vancouver. We’ve taken out a Kona EV 3 times now, and been super happy with our driving experience every time. Our trips have been mainly out of town and up to the mountains for day trips to go cross country skiing, but also with a bit of urban and around-town driving.
Picking the car up
I was excited to take the Kona out for the first time as this was my first full-day using an EV. I’d driven a Tesla model S for a few hours a few years ago, but never had a new EV for a whole day. The only visual clues that this is an EV is that it has an ‘electric’ badge on the rear, slightly aerodynamic-looking wheels, a flush front grill and the outline of the charging port flap. Nothing about the shape or appearance makes it look different. And it’s a good looking little crossover SUV!
After admiring the Kona from the outside for a moment, I used the Modo key fob to access the vehicle and opened up the car. I took the chargepoint fob out and swiped the charge bollard to release the charging plug from the car. We were untethered and could zoom away!
As this was our first time in the car, we had a moment to explore the interior, familiarise ourselves with the critical buttons, and have a good fiddle with everything that was toggle-able. The car comes preloaded with Apple CarPlay which we used to quickly connect our phone and apps for navigation, music, and podcasts. Whilst blasting out some tunes, we proceeded to find the climate control, seat-warmers, hand brake, cup holders, and gearbox switches. It’s all clearly laid out and easily accessible.
Perhaps a cliche, but once we got moving the first thing we noticed was the noise, or lack of typical car noise, but for a faint electric motor whirring at speeds below around 30 kph. It wasn’t distracting, and if anything it made me more aware I was in a fully electric car rather than in a chuntering fossil fuel beasty. Welcome to the future!
Around town, pulling out onto main roads is a breeze. You’ve got reliable and strong acceleration to make decisive adjustments. Visibility is good and parking is easy with the rear view camera and a reasonable turning circle. Parking is also hassle-free around town because with Modo you get 2 hours free parking on any metered spot! Bonus.
Once we’d faffed around town running errands, using only a tiny percentage of battery life, we drove home and parked the car for the night. The next morning we loaded up the car with our skis and set off to Callaghan ski resort.
The morning drive along the sea to ski highway was wonderful. The sky was clear and it was sunny, so the drive was easy and pleasant. There were great views out of the Kona. I’ve got an older iPhone, so excuse the photo which doesn’t truly capture the magnificence of the views that morning.
Along the way we discovered that the Kona has plenty of driving aids. There’s ‘lane keeping assist’ which not only notifies you if you’re leaving a lane but nudges you back into the lane with feedback and guidance on the steering wheel. There’s also ‘forward collision avoidance assist’ which I think actually braked for us, gently following the traffic in front, and not a dramatic sharp stop. There’s 3 settings for the brake regen so you can tune the braking force and coasting to your liking, as well as a cool little regen counter so you can see how many kms worth of range you recover under prolonged or hard braking. I topped 3km in one long action near Squamish!
The air conditioning and heating system is interesting on the Kona because it uses a heat pump. On internal combustion engine vehicles (petrol, diesel), a lot of waste heat is produced from the fuel burning in the engine, which means there’s lots of heat available to keep the cabin warm (most of the heat is wasted, but a little bit is usefully employed as heating). Kona’s don’t have substantial waste heat from their electric motors (because they’re so efficient), so the Kona uses a little bit of electricity to ‘pump’ extract heat from the outside air and move it into the cabin. There’s also seat heaters to keep your bum toasty if you need an extra hit of heat. We did find the cabin noticeable cold in the winter air unless you had the heating on.
Once we arrived at Callaghan we parked up, noting that the car handled the snowy and icy surface without any issues. The Kona comes with all season tires as standard, and Modo ensure mud and snow (M+S) tires on their vehicles. So they’re good for most trips during the winter.
After our fun day skiing we thought we’d check out Whistler and have a go at recharging the Kona at a DC fast-charger. After locating a charging station in Whistler, and faffing around working out how to activate the charger, we eventually recharged the car. Note that there is a 2nd charge port cover for the CCS plug connection. I didn’t realise this at first, and wasted time at the charging station! Also, it’s worth downloading Plugshare, BC Hydro EV, and Greenlots applications so you can access all charging stations around.
We charged the car for about 40 mins whilst eating some quick dinner, before zooming home and dropping the car back to its parking bay and charging station. It’s a fab car and we look forward to more trips using the Kona EV!
Hyundai Kona electric review Canada & car sharing in Vancouver with Modo
If you want to try out a Kona EV in Vancouver, a great idea is to to join Modo. In 2020 Modo introduced 4 fully electric Hyundai Kona cars to their fleet! We hope that Modo expand and replace more of their vehicle fleet with electric vehicles. They’ll surely do that if demand for the EVs increases. So join up and get booked! It’s probably cheaper than running your own car.
Modo is a homegrown BC car sharing co-op, with lots of different types of vehicles to suit your needs. Founded in 1997, it’s grown and united with other local car sharing services, and now has 600+ vehicles and 20,000+ members. The company is a co-operative and states, “Our intent is to earn just enough to cover our costs and continue to invest in being the best and most purposeful car share operator in BC”
If you found the Hyundai Kona electric review (Canada) article interesting or helpful and are tickled by Modo, please consider signing up with our Modo referral code REF28KSS0GB Get to Modo here.
Check out more info on car-sharing in our guide to car-sharing (in Vancouver).