This past May, my husband and I purchased our first electric car, a Hyundai Kona Electric. We love our Kona so far and really enjoy driving an electric car, especially driving past all those gas stations. Charging at home is much more satisfying, and because we purchased a large solar array earlier in the year, all the energy for the car comes from a renewable source.

Charging an electric car is slow though. If buying a fully electric car, installing a level 2 charger (240v) is a must. (Costs about $1K between the equipment and the electrician to install.) A level 2 will charge approximately 6 times faster than a level 1 (standard 120V wall outlet). This is still not speedy, but it does mean our 258-plus range car can be completely recharged overnight[1]. This is a big plus.

Charging aside, here’s some of what we love about our new car:

  • Average range of 258 miles per charge. Closer to 300+ in the city where the regenerative breaking really kicks in, but more like 200 on the highway.
  • Many safety features are standard with the Kona (e.g. blind-spot monitoring and automated emergency braking).
  • Terrific regenerative breaking (automatic breaking that recharges the battery). This takes some getting used to, but it is worth using this feature.
  • Quality feel of the interior for a basic level car.
  • Lifetime warranty on the Hyundai battery. This was really important to us for peace of mind.
  • Other features we appreciate: 201-hp electric, 64.0-kWh battery pack, EPA combined rating of 120-MPGe. Touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard.
  • No more gas smell in the garage.

And some downsides:

  • The Kona Electric is a brand-new car model and only recently became available in Massachusetts. So, it is somewhat of an unknown quantity, but car reviews have been very positive.
  • The Kona is not as expensive as a Tesla, but is more expensive than other popular electric cars. As a new model with limited inventory that is in high demand, there is little room for negotiating on the price. That said:
    • The Kona has a lot of standard features that similar electric cars only offer as part of added packages.
    • The Kona is eligible for the full federal tax break of $7,500, while some older electric models are no longer eligible for the full amount. They are all eligible for the full $1,500 state rebate from Massachusetts.
  • While the range is much better than earlier electric car models (and comparable to some Teslas), it is still very limiting in terms of taking long trips. DC Fast Charging stations (480v), providing approximately 210 miles of range for an hour of charging, are not exactly prolific yet. We expect, however, that they will become more common as more people buy electric vehicles. In the meantime, we will continue to rent cars for long road trips as we had done before buying the Kona.

All of the above considered, we are glad we made the choice that we did and hope to see more Kona Electric cars in Needham in the coming year.

[1] – DC Fast Charge, sometimes referred to as “L3” charging, is an even higher-speed charging technology that can charge an EV like the Kona to 80% of full charge in about one hour. DC Fast Charge stations are not yet widespread, but are increasing in number.

Needham Drives Green – Hyundai Kona
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