After releasing its next-generation Kona electric model Tuesday, Hyundai has high expectations for the updated urban SUV. The South Korean automaker believes the new Kona EV will sell more than its gas-powered and hybrid variants.

Hyundai released the first Kona electric model in 2018, a year after the gas-powered version was introduced in Korea and North America.

The Hyundai Kona compact SUV, or “lifestyle SUV” as they call it, was designed to fill a growing need for a smaller B-segment Sport Utility Vehicle while expanding its options in the segment.

The subcompact SUV was redesigned with a new sporty look and more aerodynamic front fascia for last in 2021 for last year’s model year, and the results have been huge.

Hyundai’s electric Kona placed ninth out of the top-selling EVs in Europe, selling over 41,000 models in 2022.

Perhaps, more importantly, consumers are gravitating toward the electric model, which accounted for about 40% of the lineup’s sales last year, as it continues to gain more attention than its gas and hybrid variants.

Hyundai built upon the Kona EVs success, releasing the second generation model on Wednesday with over 300 WLTP mile range (for the long-range 65.4 kWh battery option).

However, the range is only a small factor of the Kona electric refresh. Alongside an “EV-led” redesign, the new Kona features improved aerodynamics, features, and style over its predecessor.

Hyundai Kona electric will outsell gas and hybrid models

According to Auto News Europe, Hyundai Europe CEO Michael Cole said he expects to sell more Kona electric models than the gas and hybrid-powered variants.

Cole says he forecasts the electric subcompact SUV will account for 60% (up from 40% in 2022) of the Kona lineup, which includes the combustion and full-hybrid models.

To help get it there, Hyundai has taken customer feedback and implemented it into its latest generation. Hyundai design head SangYup Lee told Automotive News:

Customers asked us for more interior space and a wider tailgate. We delivered, extending the Kona’s wheelbase by 60 mm as well as making it 25 mm wider and 20 mm taller.

Lee added that the new Kona electric was designed to be unique from the IONIQ 5 SUV and IONIQ 6 electric sedan on purpose, fitting together “like on a cheese board.”

The Kona also differs from the IONIQ series in that it rides on the automaker K3 architecture 400V electric architecture that’s been modified from previous Kona generations. Meanwhile, the IONIQ 5 and 6 models sit on Hyunda’s dedicated E-GMP platform, offering ultrafast charging with 10% to 80% in less than 20 mins. In comparison, the Kona EV will take 41 minutes, according to Hyundai.

Electrek’s Take

With a bold, sleek new design, enhanced features, and range, it’s no wonder Hyundai believes its electric variant will outsell its gas and hybrid-powered variants.

The Kona model was Hyundai’s third best-selling vehicle in 2022, with over 58,000 sales, while the Kona electric placed sixth, selling 41,448 units last year.

2023 is shaping up to be a big year for Hyundai – as its award-winning IONIQ 5 continues gaining momentum, the IONIQ 6 will begin to roll out, and the Kona electric is poised for another breakout year.

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