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Hyundai Kona EV debuts with optional near-300 mile range

The model’s optional 292 mile range underlines the progress made by EVs in the past seven years

Earlier this week Hyundai took the wraps off the new Kona EV to pretty universal applause. But while there is plenty to like about the EV version’s sleek futuristic take on the non-EV Kona’s funky looks, or about the improved interior, it’s the new model’s range that is its main draw. Modeling itself on Tesla’s and Nissan’s strategy, the EV Kona will be

offered in multiple versions, with the basic one getting a 133hp electric motor, a 39.2kWh battery pack, and a range of up to 186 miles (300km). The pièce de résistance, however, is the second version, which gets a 201hp motor, a 64kWh battery pack, and a range of up to 292 miles (470km).

Almost 300 miles in a small Hyundai crossover? Not bad at all!

Certainly not, and you can see this betters pretty much all competition but the top-of-the-line Tesla Model 3:

Prices are yet to be announced, but it’s reasonable to expect the Kona EV will be a good deal cheaper than the Model 3 as well.

You know, I might even consider an EV now!

It’s pretty striking to think that when the first-generation Nissan Leaf came to market in 2011, it offered a range of barely 73 miles out of its 24kWh battery. From there on, progress has been relentless – although by the end of its production the Mk I Leaf had an optional 30kWh battery that gave it a more usable 107 mile range, in 2016 it was well-and-truly beaten by the 60kWh / 240 miles Chevrolet Bolt. Soon after that the Tesla Model 3 was announced with an optional 300+ mile range, and now, in 2018, it seems that 60kWh batteries is quite possibly exactly what EV cars needed to go mainstream.

So, will every EV have a 300 mile range from now on?

Yeah, not so quick… although right now there seems to be a market developing for cars with range in the 250-300 mile, ahem, range, most EVs on the market actually still aim to offer something more like 100-150 miles. This is probably fair, as while some may need the 300 miles for their EV to act as their only car, others only need a shorter-range one for daily in-city commuting. That said, days of EVs with range below 100 miles are probably numbered: spare a thought for the unfortunate 89-mile range in the new Honda Clarity BEV, or the current Hyundai Ioniq EV’s paltry 110 mile range.