SEOUL, Apr. 12 (Korea Bizwire) — Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s biggest carmaker, on Thursday unveiled the electric version of its Kona subcompact sport utility vehicle (SUV) in a stepped-up drive to diversify its lineup with environmentally friendly vehicles.
Amid the rapid growth in the domestic electric vehicle market in recent years, Hyundai Motor is planning to beef up its lineup with more emission-free models, Hyundai Motor Executive Vice President Lee Kwang-guk said in a press conference.
The local electric car market grew to 13,826 units sold in 2017 from 5,914 units a year earlier. The growth was mainly driven by strong sales of Hyundai’s Ioniq Electric car, he said.
The company aims to sell more than 12,000 of the electric vehicle (EV) models in the domestic market this year. It has already received preorders for over 18,000 units of the small electrified crossover, the company said in a statement. The preorders were received from Jan. 15.
One model of the Kona EV has a big 64-kWh battery, which was unveiled at the EV Trend Korea 2018 exhibition held in southern Seoul, and a range of 406 kilometers (252 miles) on a single charge. The model with a smaller 39.2-kWh battery can travel 254 km per charge, it said.
If fully charged, the Kona Electric can make a one-way trip to the southern port city of Busan from the capital city of Seoul without an additional charge, Hyundai said.
It takes 54 minutes to charge 80 percent of the 64-kWh battery at a rapid charging station, with the full charging time reaching nine hours and 40 minutes on slow chargers. To charge up the 39.2-kWh battery car, it takes six hours and 10 minutes through a slow charger, it said.
The Kona Electric is equipped with a host of safety features, such as forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, driver attention warning and lane following assist.
The new model will have a sticker price of between 46.5 million won (US$43,500) and 48.5 million won, but those prices go down to 29.5-31.5 million won in Seoul due to government subsidies.
In overseas markets, Hyundai said it plans to launch the Kona Electric in Europe this month and in the U.S. in August.
In June last year, the Kona subcompact SUV went on sale in the local market to meet growing demand for crossovers amid low oil prices. The small crossover has been shipped to Europe since late last year and to the United States since early this year.
Hyundai aims to sell 150,000 Kona SUVs this year in the two overseas markets, while targeting sales of 45,000 units domestically. Last year, 23,522 Konas were sold domestically and 9,976 units were sold in Europe. In the U.S., 2,559 Konas were sold in the January-March period, the company said.
Kona models equipped with either a 1.0 gasoline turbo GDi engine or 1.6 gasoline turbo GDi engine have been launched in Europe. The 1.6 diesel model is scheduled to be added there this year. In the U.S., the 1.6 gasoline turbo GDi engine and 2.0 gasoline MPi engine Konas are available, Hyundai said.