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When we talk about electric vehicles, we tend to focus on the premium side of the market, with Tesla quickly becoming the household name for consumers. However, more affordable and accessible vehicles, such as the Hyundai Kona Electric, will be the EVs to truly change the market. In this respect, the Kona Electric is the poster child of the emerging EV sector, thanks to its sleek design with effective modern styling and accessibility that will help consumers transition over from petrol and diesel vehicles. People want change, but also seek comfort and certainty when purchasing a new vehicle, and the Kona Electric provides just that.

Off the back of a successful launch in 2018, Hyundai has been busy rolling out its second fully-electric vehicle, following the Ioniq, providing new customers around the world with an obtainable, connected and efficient electric SUV. Today, the company has decided to refresh its Kona line, with new connectivity offerings and a facelift. To find out more, Auto Futures sits down with Hyundai’s Vice President of Product Planning and Mobility Strategy, Olabisi Boyle.

“Kona Electric has been well-received in the marketplace for its SUV body style and versatility along with its impressive driving range. We’re building on the success through design and advanced technology,” she says. “Kona Electric is an advanced SUV, and people expect advanced technology.”

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As a result of this, the new Kona has been equipped with the latest in-car connectivity and technology. New to this model is a 10.25-inch digital cluster and 10.25-inch navigation center stack display, bringing with it new connectivity features. The new screen comes with a split-screen function, multiple Bluetooth connections and additional voice-recognition features.

“Drivers can activate and control features like climate, radio station, rear window and side mirror heating as well as steering wheel heating through Dynamic Voice Recognition. Kona also offers Digital Key, supported via a dedicated smartphone app, allowing smartphones to control selected vehicle systems remotely,” continues Boyle.

One thing is for certain; the Kona has sky-rocketed in popularity since its introduction. It will soon become a leading model for the entire Hyundai brand going forward, shaping the company’s mobility focus in the coming years.

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Becoming Mobility-Focused

Although last year was a challenging year in every industry, Kona actually improved sales by nearly 4%. Boyle believes that people are attracted to its design, utility, ride height, capability and advanced technology, making the Kona very important to the brand.

“Going back five years ago, EVs were typically sedans and urban vehicles with driving ranges in the one hundred range,” she says. “Kona Electric was a game changer by being offered in a SUV bodystyle and having an impressive range of 258 miles. This is one of many products that will shape Hyundai as a Smart Mobility Company.”

The Kona has not only been a pivotal product in the transition over to EVs for consumers but a pivotal product for the industry. It has directly addressed the key issues in EV ownership.

“The Kona Electric SUV has been a pivotal product in the industry,” adds Boyle. “Typically consumers face several hurdles in electrification like the marketplace like range anxiety, charging time and size. However Kona Electric overcomes these hurdles.”

The 258-mile range Kona Electric, using a Level-III fast charge rate, can charge from 10 to 80% in approximately 47 minutes using its SAE-Combo charging port.

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The first batch of the updated Kona will be introduced in the US and Boyle expects to see it in Europe very soon, with the current Kona performing extremely well.

“Hyundai’s company vision is Progress for Humanity,” says Boyle. “We are here to do the right thing for humanity. Humanity unites us and makes us stronger. Humanity accelerates progress by creating innovative solutions for global problems.”

As a result of this, Hyundai aims to introduce more than 12 battery-electric vehicles beginning with the IONIQ 5 in 2021 to eventually sell 560,000 EVs per year by 2025.

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