Living with it: Hyundai Kona Electric 64kWh Premium SE

Choosing a Hyundai Kona Electric is certainly no chore. Here we introduce our new long-term car, which we'll be living with for the next six months.

Report 5: Driving conditions and the impact range

Mileage to date: 3,953
Efficiency to date: 4.2 miles/kWh

A period of shorter, local journeys has nudged my average consumption closer to the Kona’s official figure of 4.4 miles per kWh, but now I’m back to my usual mix of driving – probably a 50/50 split between motorways and urban roads – the Kona is delivering 4.2 miles per kWh again.

Report 4: Long-distance Kona

I’m a few months into life with our Hyundai Kona Electric now, and it's performing superbly. Its 64kWh battery continues to give excellent range on a charge, and it has even passed a couple of tests of practicality: a clear-out at the local tip, and a long-distance family run from my home in Berkshire to Liverpool.

Truth be told, I was never going to do the whole run to Merseyside in one hit, even as a challenge. With a five-year-old on board, the days of settling in for a three-hour-plus odyssey without even a toilet break are long gone.

Instead I took the chance to test Ecotricity’s Electric Highway charging network. I’ve had problems with the motorway-service-area-based points before, but to and from Liverpool they worked perfectly, allowing me a comfort break and half an hour of charging at Warwick Services (in both directions), plus some electricity (and a bite to eat) at Lymm in Cheshire on the way up.

The only black mark was a chap in a conventionally powered (and very rental-looking) Hyundai i20, who’d decided to park in one of the EV bays at Warwick South to listen to his music, at full volume. I presume (and hope) that the fine is in the post.

Report 3: First impressions

The Kona is currently managing around 250 miles on a full charge, in very British temperatures averaging around five degrees Celsius, with my usual mix of around 50/50 motorway and town driving. As an aside, I never get close to using the full range other than on the odd long journey. With a 7kW home charger, it’s rare I even worry about the car’s range, or where the nearest charging point is.

Report 2: Kona collection

A landmark day! We collected our car from the local dealership, as many customers will, and Salesman Michael Dayles talked us through the options Kona customers can choose from – including the vibrant colour palette (our car is in what’s known as Acid Yellow, in case you’re wondering).

He admitted he has noticed a surge in interest in electric cars in recent months. “We’ve had at least one person a day walking in to request information about the Kona Electric,” Michael said. “A few of them have actually been Tesla Model 3 customers who have become frustrated at the delays with that car. We’re able to help, of course, by walking them through the online process. But it does feel like we could be making more of it, if HQ could get stock.

Report 1: Price and specs - choosing our Hyundai Kona

The Kona is already one of our favourite electric cars, and you can read all about why in the full review. When it came to what spec we wanted our car in, we went the same way as the vast majority of the early orders by opting for the more powerful, bigger-battery 64kWh model.

It offers 279 miles of range according to WLTP tests, and while the recent cut in the Plug-In Car Grant and a jump in list price has taken it to well over £32,000 (£35,000 for the Premium SE tested here), that price is still very close to the Kia e-Niro and usefully less than the Nissan Leaf e+.

Finance deals are seriously competitive, too. Buying on Hyundai GB’s 'Click to Buy' website, and with a £5,000 deposit or part-ex value, the monthly cost even for the Premium SE is around £500, with a 10,000-mile annual allowance. That sounds a fair old whack, but you have to factor in how much you’ll save in fuel.

The larger-battery Kona has a capacity of 64kWh, and my home energy tariff (which happily includes electricity sourced entirely from renewable sources) would give a full charge for around £8.50. In contrast, 300 miles in a petrol-powered Kona would cost you around £40, so you could save more than £1,000 a year on fuel alone. Plus, those finance costs are on a par with all of the Kona's key rivals.

We'll be spending a lot of time in our Kona, commuting into London regularly on a fairly typical mix of motorway roads, as well as embarking on long journeys that will rely on public charging points rather than my 7kW home charger, so come back regularly to find out how we're getting on.

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Hyundai Kona Electric stats

Model: Hyundai Kona Electric 64kWh Premium SE

Run by: John McIlroy
On fleet since: September 2018
Price new: £35,145 (inc. Govt grant)
Engine: Electric motor with 64kWh battery, 201bhp
CO2/tax: 0g/km/£0
Official WLTP range: 279 miles
Cost of a full charge at home: £8.50
Average cost of a 100-mile public rapid-charger top-up: £7 
Options: Metallic paint (£565), two-tone roof (£420)
Annual company car BIK cost at 20/40%: £1003 / £2007  
Insurance*: Group: 26, Quote: £551
Any problems? None so far

*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points