Hyundai’s front-drive Kona Electric began appearing on Norwegian streets back in August, slowly proliferating to other European countries ever since. Backing up the model was its enviable status as the longest-range EV on the market.
Using the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), testers rated the Kona EV’s range at 292 miles, more than enough to travel between tightly spaced European cities. Now, the vehicle faces a double blow of bad news. First, the testers got the test wrong, and second, a new Tesla his poised to arrive on the east side of the Atlantic.
Both Hyundai and Kia have had to downgrade the range of their new electric sort-of crossovers after learning their external test agency followed the wrong procedure. As such, the range of the 64 kWh Kona Electric drops from 292 miles to 279 miles, while the entry-level model (which we won’t get here) drops from 186 miles to 180 miles.
Kia’s e-Niro, following close on the Kona’s heels, sees its 64 kWh variant fall from 301 miles to 282 miles. The lesser, 39 kWh version drops from 193 miles to 179.
In a statement reported by Autocar, Hyundai said, “In testing the Kona Electric to establish its homologated electric vehicle driving range, the independent organisation overseeing the process accidentally provided an incorrect testing methodology and then approved the results it generated.
“This led to the Kona Electric being tested for a disproportionate length of time on the WLTP ‘urban’ cycle – comprising lower overall vehicle speeds and a reduced energy requirement – resulting in an overestimation of the vehicle’s all-electric range.”
Bummer. In the U.S., Hyundai’s gas-free Kona rates 258 miles on the EPA cycle, which is some 20 miles ahead of the Chevrolet Bolt. Tesla’s new “Mid Range” Model 3, currently the cheapest Model 3 available, is rated for 260 miles between plug-ins.
Speaking of the Model 3, demonstrator models have now arrived to further annoy Hyundai on European soil. While deliveries of the Model 3 aren’t expected until the middle of 2019, would-be customers in some locales can now sit in and test drive their prospective purchase, further drumming up demand. Available for ordering are the twin-motor Long Range and Performance variants, rated (on the WLTP cycle) at 338 and 330 miles, respectively.
Hyundai’s time on the throne stands to be as short-lived as that of flaky Edward VIII.