Hyundai unveils the new Kona Electric

New Hyundai Kona Electric
New Hyundai Kona Electric

Today Hyundai announced a series of updates made to the popular electric car Kona Electric. Most of them are just small incremental improvements, but under the surface an important upgrade might have happened…

 

Let’s see some highlights.

 

In order to make the new Kona Electric an even better product for its customers, the upgrades revolve around design, technology, and practicality.

  • The new Hyundai Kona Electric has a new purer exterior design, signifying clean electric mobility
  • Additional safety, connectivity and convenience features ensure an even better driving experience
  • Kona Electric continues to deliver one of the best all-electric driving ranges of any electric car, with up to 484 kilometres (WLTP)

 

Nothing major, only incremental improvements on one of the best electric cars out there.

 

Pure and stylish design signifying clean electric mobility

The new Kona Electric has undergone a series of bold exterior design updates. By combining a clean and sleek appearance with the protective and bold B-SUV body type of the Kona, it expresses its exceptional electric technology while being even more recognisable on the road.

The front with the new-look closed grille features a pure and clean design. This modern look is further enhanced by the new LED Daytime Running Lights, which emphasise the car’s wide stance. The front is complemented by an asymmetric charging port, a feature unique to the Kona Electric which makes a strong statement about driving electric.

New, sharper headlamps stretch around the side of the car. The high-tech headlamp inner bezel now incorporates multifaceted reflector (MFR) technology. The headlamps are connected to the painted wheel arch claddings, giving the new Kona Electric a distinctive and sophisticated look. Vertical air inlets in front of the wheel arch claddings enhance its aerodynamics, substantially reducing turbulence in the front wheelhouse area. Meanwhile, a functional air intake in the lower bumper is visually enhanced by horizontal satin accent bars, which give it a pronounced stance.

The rear bumper retains the accent bars to add value to the overall look of the car, while new horizontally-stretched rear lamps complement the pure appearance of the front.

The new Kona Electric is 25 millimetres longer than the previous version. This ensures it has a dynamic appearance combined with a strong visual stance.

 

New Hyundai Kona Electric front

New Hyundai Kona Electric front

 

An updated interior with progressive technology

For the first time, the new Kona Electric is equipped with a 10.25-inch digital cluster, while an optional 10.25-inch AVN screen is carried over from the last update. The AVN unit incorporates multimedia and convenience features including Bluelink®, Hyundai LIVE Services and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, further democratising advanced connectivity for Hyundai drivers. Customers who select the eight-inch Display Audio system can wirelessly connect their smartphones to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

New Kona Electric customers can enjoy the new Bluelink® upgrade, which allows them to control their car with their smartphone or voice to make their drive more convenient and enjoyable. The app displays the vehicle’s range and battery state, as well as charging times, when plugged into different public or private charging points. Users can access an advanced battery management system in order to select charging times that best fit their schedule or their budget by making the most of off-peak electricity rates.

 

New Hyundai Kona Electric interior

New Hyundai Kona Electric interior

 

Segment-leading driving range

Like its predecessor, the new Kona Electric offers two different zero-emissions battery electric powertrains, with no compromises on performance.

The long-range version with a 64 kWh battery features an electric motor which delivers maximum power of 204 PS (150 kW), accelerating the Kona Electric to 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds. The basic version has a battery capacity of 39.2 kWh, with the motor delivering 136 PS (100 kW), accelerating to 100 km/h in 9.9 seconds. The long-range battery version provides a maximum speed of 167 km/h, with the standard-range battery version offering 155 km/h.

Charging the lithium-ion polymer battery from 10 to 80 per cent only takes about 47 minutes using a 100 kW direct current (DC) fast charger. The Kona Electric features an optional 10.5-kW three-phase on-board charger, allowing for significantly shorter charging times using public three-phase AC charging stations or with a private compatible wall box at home. Drivers also have the option of charging their car at a compatible regular household power socket using the ICCB-cable (in-cable control box).

 

New Hyundai Kona Electric charging times

New Hyundai Kona Electric charging times

 

Even more best-in-class safety features

The new Kona Electric features a state-of-the-art Hyundai safety package for peace of mind. Hyundai SmartSense provides comprehensive, best-in-class active safety and driving assistance systems, and the new Kona Electric is now equipped with even more functions than its predecessor.

Hyundai SmartSense safety features:

  • [NEW] Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA)
  • [NEW] Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA)
  • [NEW] Leading Vehicle Departure Alert (LVDA)
  • [NEW] Safe Exit Warning (SEW)
  • [NEW] Rear Seat Alert (RSA)
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection (FCA-Ped)
  • Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go (SCC w/ S&G)
  • Lane Following Assist (LFA)
  • Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
  • Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (ISLW)
  • Driver Attention Warning (DAW)

 

 

It seems that the new Hyundai Kona Electric doesn’t change much, but this is a good thing since it was already a great electric car.

However, under the surface some interesting changes might have happened. It seems that the Hyundai Kona Electric made in Europe not only gets its battery cells from LG Chem, but also from SK Innovation. At least it’s what was reported by some Korean media outlets when this model suffered from some battery fires.

 

Both LG Chem and SK Innovation have supplied batteries for the Kona Electrics. According to industry officials, the 77,000 Kona Electrics under recall were made in Korea from 2018 to March this year.

SK Innovation is thought to have supplied batteries for 12,000 Kona Electric vehicles built at Hyundai Motor’s plant in the Czech Republic. These are not subject to the recall.

 

This makes me think that currently the Hyundai Kona Electric no longer uses NCM 622 battery cells, instead it gets NCM 712 cells from LG Chem and NCM 811 cells from SK Innovation.

However, since the battery capacity doesn’t seem to have increased, the battery should be lighter with the new more energy density chemistries. I would like to know if there was a battery weight reduction to back this possibility.

Publicly Hyundai still says that it managed to increase the WLTP range of the Kona Electric from 449 to 484 km from tyre improvements alone…

 

 

Thanks for the heads up Giora.

 

 

More info:

https://www.hyundai.news/eu/press-kits/new-hyundai-kona-electric-comes-with-a-series-of-updates/

https://www.hyundai.news/fileadmin/eu/press-kits/20201111_new_kona_electric/20201111_Technical_Data_new_Kona_Electric.pdf

Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

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Barry
10 months ago

Pedro, since nickel and Cobalt are next to each other on the periodic table (and have almost identical atomic masses), I’m not sure a NCM 712 vs 622 anode would have much of a weight difference (assuming same electrode thickness), so I wouldn’t expect the pack to be any lighter assuming no change in number of cells. Or is there evidence that a 712 cell weighs less than a 622 cell? Are there any functional differences between the new Kona and the old Kona, like charging speed or range? If not, then I’m not sure the new pack is different than the old pack.

sola
10 months ago
Reply to  Barry

The NCM811 chemistry results in higher energy density than the 622 and the 712.

Thus, fewer cells are enough for the same battery capacity, which results in a lighter vehicle, which normally translates into better range (esp city range)

Barry
10 months ago
Reply to  sola

I understand that. But if pack capacity and voltage is the same, then cell number is identical, right? Do we know voltage of “new” 64 kWh pack?

antrik
10 months ago
Reply to  sola

Doesn’t have to be fewer cells: could be same number of somewhat smaller cells.

Barry
10 months ago
Reply to  antrik

Good speculation. This requires a pack redesign due to thermal and structural changes. So what is the form factor of the new cells and how much less does each cell weigh?

Barry
10 months ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Pedro,
Thanks! Ok, so the new pack has 6 fewer cells (but same energy content) as old pack. That will save a bit of weight and space.

Rok
10 months ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

If Hyundai followed the same path as Renault with 712 (or 811) the weight reduction should be somewhere close to 50kg which should add few additional 20km+ into WLTP range.

Rodri
10 months ago

Nice front, I like it. Cars with grills will look outdated soon.
I also suspect there is something else than better wheels to gain a ~8% of WLTP range in an already very efficient car which already had aero wheels.
What I miss is a faster charging speed for long journeys from current 77 kW max. to at least 120 kW or else, a cut in price.

A car that is slowly starting to be adopted by the taxi sector here in Spain where even the smaller 39 kWh battery is enough to do the job. Savings of 300€/month on fuel only:
https://youtu.be/_3PxenjTP8g

Pajda
10 months ago
Reply to  Rodri

Actually I was hoping that smaller 39 kWh battery will be discontinued after facelift. The major problem with this smaller battery is not the capacity itself but very slow DC fast charging capability, it is similar issue to the facelifted Ioniq.

János
10 months ago

What does “polymer” stand for in the battery specs? Usually it means a SSB, with semi or fully solid electrolite. SK Innovation is well known for its solid state battery research efforts and cooperation with Prof. Goodenough. They also produce solid state batteries. So what do we know about the chemistry and state?

antrik
10 months ago
Reply to  János

Lithium-ion-polymer batteries, more commonly just called lithium-polymer (LiPoly), use a polymer gel for the electrolyte instead of a liquid one. They have been around (in cell phones etc.) for about two decades. They have somewhat lower capacity, everything else being equal; but are supposed to be safer — thus potentially allowing savings on other fronts… Large pouch cells usually use the polymer gel electrolytes as far as I’m aware, since a liquid electrolyte would be considered too dangerous without the extra protective measures that canned cells provide…

János
10 months ago
Reply to  antrik

Thanks!
However I do not know, what kind of polymer batteries will come with the new Kona Elektrik from SK Innovation and with what kind of basic characteristics?

There are contradictive statements on SSB energy density, operational temperature, and above all DC quick charging speed.

It is also an issue in e-buses, where Blue Solutions of Beolloré is said to supply Daimler / eCitaro buses with lithium polymer batteries post 2021.

Could Pedro dedicate a post to solid state (lithium polymer, metal polymer / LMP?) batteries?

So much expectation and so much uncertainity.

antrik
7 months ago
Reply to  János

These “lithium metal polymer” batteries that have been available from Blue Solutions for years (and some other makers are also working on), use a type of solid polymer electrolyte, technically making them solid state batteries. However, they don’t come with the promised high densities of other lithium metal cells using other types of solid electrolytes; and what’s more, they need to maintain a high operating temperature, limiting their application to specific use cases. (Such as bus fleets…)

The polymer gel electrolytes used in automotive pouch cells from LG and SKI — and that have been used in other applications for decades — are an entirely different story. They are really a minor modification on traditional liquid electrolytes, and aren’t usually considered a distinct battery type. They are unrelated to any solid state battery research.

Ralf K.
10 months ago

Here is battery organization in Kona Long Range.

Early models use LGChem cells:
96s 3p
6s 10s3p + 4s 9s3p pouch cells
cell type: LGChem LGX E63B of 65 Ah each nominal

European made Kona Long Range change to:
98s 3p
3s 20s3p + 2s 19s3p pouch
cell type: SK E600 of 60 Ah each nominal

People use these PIDs to get data from their BMS and thus you can find out from the number of cell voltages in the BMS (96 or 98) which type of battery you have.

A mate called JeJuSoul has all sorts of information on these Hyundai/Kia batteries.

Pajda
10 months ago
Reply to  Ralf K.

Thanks Ralf K for detailed info about battery pack with SKI cells.