Hyundai Ioniq 5 in the picture, what is Hyundai Kona Electric’s future?

The Hyundai Kona Electric, which is a hero in its own right for making long-range electric vehicles affordable, could become a thing of the past when the next-gen Hyundai electric cars under the ‘Ioniq’ sub-brand begin emerging in early 2021. Discontinuation of the older Hyundai Ioniq electric is inevitable as the far superior Ioniq 6 would come in time as its direct successor, but what’s the future of the more recent Hyundai Kona Electric?

Probed on the possible axing of the Kona EV in the face of advanced electric cars, Lorenz Glaab, Vice President, Hyundai Motor Group, told that discontinuation is one possibility. However, he indicated that it could happen in the distant future, adding that the company’s first electric SUV will remain on sale even after the Hyundai Ioniq 5 arrives on the market.

Hyundai Ioniq EVs
Pictured from left to right: Hyundai Ioniq 5 concept (Hyundai Prophecy), Hyundai Ioniq 7 concept and Hyundai Ioniq 5 concept (Hyundai 45).

The Hyundai Motor Group launched the Kona Electric (Hyundai Kauai Electric/Hyundai Kona EV/Hyundai Encino EV) in March 2018. By 30 June 2020, cumulative sales reached 1,03,719 units. While not a very high volume model for the company, with countries beginning to adopt EVs around the world thanks to incentives, the potential in the short-term is huge. For instance Hyundai began manufacturing the Kona Electric in Czech Republic this year to meet the growing demand. It is one of the best-selling electric crossover-SUVs in the continent and the plan is to make around 35,000 Kona electrics there in the first year.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 and other future Hyundai Ioniq EVs going on sale from 2021 will sit on the e-GMP platform, pack the newest advancements in powertrain, connectivity and driving assistance technologies. They will also be experimental in some ways, like outlandish designs and new-age battery systems, for instance. So, the higher costs could make them unfeasible in many markets, especially emerging countries like India. While there are many reasons to keep less sophisticated EVs like the Kona Electric on sale, lower price is the most compelling.

Hyundai Kona Electric rear three quarter view 1 - Auto Expo 2020
The Hyundai Kona Electric will continue in the market for the foreseeable future, running alongside the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

The potential for the Hyundai Kona Electric may increase in the coming years instead. As the EV infrastructure expands and battery price reduces, these vehicles become very accessible suiting budget-constrained private customers and the fleet buyers.

To surmise, the Hyundai Kona Electric is future-proof, and we’d go out on a limb and say that a next-gen Hyundai Kona Electric must exist somewhere in the roadmap. The Kia Niro EV (Kia e-Niro), its powertrain twin that debuted in May 2018 is moving to its second generation in 2021. That’s a clear indicator of HMG’s confidence in its first-gen eco car platform and stretching it for a second round of cars.

The 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric with cosmetic changes comes out early next year, and it may enter its second generation around 2023 after all.