Review of Hyundai Kona Electric Vehicle (EV) 2021
In 2021 I took out a lease on a Hyundai Kona EV. I'm not an expert on EVs and this review is based on my experience of using one as a disabled person via Motability.
This incident put me into a negative spiral re EVs. I spent 4 hours trying to find either a vacant or working charging point and my range was dropping as I drove from point to point identified by my car and my other apps. I then had to wait 2 hours to get enough charge off a slow charger, so I could get to the motorway and find a fast charger. I should have been home by midday but ended up getting home by about 9pm.
My main coping mechanism for my disabilities is wilderness and wildlife photography, so the various lockdowns during the height of the Covid Pandemic, coupled with Brexit, made coping extremely difficult. I was infected with Covid earlier in the year and have only just started to resurface mentally but I can't trust my EV enough to venture out; I actually feel imprisoned by it owing to the lack of charging infrastructure in the UK and I will be moving back to a petrol vehicle because pre Covid, I was regularly exploring Scotland, Wales and parts of Europe in my car.
So this is my review of the car that I've had for a few months now. I picked a range of 40 miles because I drove to a meeting the other week which was 40 miles away. I parked over night and drove back which depleted just under 50% of my battery capacity. The battery level was 97% at the start of the journey and 50% by the time I got home. You can make your own adjustments/calculations.
Electric Vehicle Local travel (less than 40 miles daily)
If you only drive locally and have a home charging unit, an EV is perfect for you, apart from concerns re Winter. If you have solar panels, the Zappi charging unit is the one you need. Stay away from BP Pulse as the chargers they install won't currently help you. The Zappi unit will put any excess power into your EV before sending it back to your grid. If you have a solar battery, it will not charge the EV until that home battery is filled if you desire this setting.
You will need to be fairly confident on using a smartphone and apps and there's quite a bit to setup on your car.
Electric Vehicle Longer travel (more than 40 miles daily)
This is very problematic. The car has an inbuilt charging app and there are many 3rd party apps to help you find charging points. They don't always accurately tell you which are working or broken and there may be a long queue (1 vehicles counts as a long cue as 1 vehicle may be using the charge point for anything up to 1.5 hours to get a full charge from a 'fast charger').
Differing driving conditions will affect how far you can drive. Don't expect to get 300 miles off this battery in Winter or if you're carrying a full passenger load with luggage. Any appliances that you use will reduce your battery capacity on a long drive (eg heating, lighting, satnavs, phone charging, equipment charging if you're a photographer etc).
I was told by the Hyundai dealer that to keep the EV battery working properly, I shouldn't charge higher than 80% of the battery's capacity. So you lose an additional 20% of your range.
This will be the most challenging area of using an EV for people that aren't used to smartphones, apps and IT in general.
I also found the Ford App buggy and inconsistent on the last manual drive petrol car I had (2021). So this issue isn't limited to EVs.
The Hyundai Kona EV has an autobraking function when you take your foot off the accelerator. You have to remember to disengage the function using the right paddle on the steering column...but it still automatically come back on. If this function were to come on when you hit some black ice, my assessment is that it could be dangerous and could result in the vehicle being put into a skid.
I drove from Nottingham to Lincoln for a meeting with a full battery. I parked there over-night and headed back to Nottingham in the morning; that journey 40 miles (one way) drained 50% of the battery.
More awareness is needed on icy/snowy roads as you need a higher gear with lower revs to ensure you don't slip/slide on a road. Some websites recommend driving this EV on Eco Mode and just applying little taps to get your car going in snowy/icy conditions. I haven't been able to test this on such conditions and have concerns whether the vehicle would allow me sufficient control as all EVs are automatics and not manual drive. I drive on 'Eco Mode' all the time anyway but I don't feel that this would address the control issue.