By on April 10, 2019

Depending on your place of residence, you may have begun seeing a small, quiet Hyundai crossover with a face like Jason Voorhees tooling around the neighborhood. That’s the Hyundai Kona Electric, a vehicle with 258 miles of range and a starting price matching the Chevrolet Bolt’s $37,495 MSRP.

At least, its price did mirror the 238-mile Bolt, until Hyundai beancounters decided it was time for some new math.

First noticed by CarsDirect via manufacturer pricing docs, Kona EV pricing took a jump once the second quarter of 2019 arrived, rising upwards by $500 for the base SEL trim. That puts the post-delivery, pre-credit price floor at $37,995. Better-appointed Limited and Ultimate trims see a $250 climb, coming in at  $42,445 and $45,945, respectively.

So far, the price bump hasn’t made its way to Hyundai’s build-n-price page.

While the Kona EV is only available in California and ZEV states, Hyundai was caught off-guard by better than expected demand earlier this year, forcing it to renege — at least temporarily — on the promise that it would fulfill orders in other, non-ZEV states.

The timing of the price bump coincides with another ripple in the low-priced EV world: the halving of the Bolt’s federal EV tax credit. At the end of first-quarter 2019, the Bolt’s $7,500 credit dropped to $3,750, pushing up the ultimate price of the vehicle. General Motors claimed it would step in with boosted incentives.

Perhaps this change compelled Hyundai, which still hasn’t passed the 200,000-vehicle threshold, to try and get the Kona to profitability a little earlier.

The automaker confirmed to CarsDirect that the pricing changes does not reflect any additional content applied to the model. And it’s not just the Kona EV’s purchase price that’s in flux, either.

From CarsDirect:

This month, the SEL trim starts at $369 for 36 months with $3,899 due at signing. That’s $20/month more than the previous offer of $349/month with the same amount at signing. The current promo equates to an effective cost of $477/month.

At that price, we consider the Kona to be too expensive to recommend. For reference, the 2019 Bolt LT has an effective cost of $389/month, based on $279 for 36 months with $3,959 at signing here in California. That’s an advantage of $88/month.

For its price, the Kona EV remains the range leader, beating out the Bolt and new Nissan Leaf Plus in the one category that gnaws at every EV driver’s brain — distance to darkness.

[Image: Hyundai]

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15 Comments on “Hyundai’s Kona EV Price Bump Comes at an Interesting Time...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Hyundai was caught off-guard by better than expected demand earlier this year, forcing it to renege — at least temporarily — on the promise that it would fulfill orders in other, non-ZEV states.”

    Your wording is precisely correct, but it gives the impression that Hyundai would actually, actively sell its EVs in all 50 states. They have no such intention. What they meant was that you could *special order* their EV in a non-CARB state.

    Hyundai builds a very nice EV (I really like my Ioniq EV, imported to PA from MD), but they aren’t serious about the EV market.

  • avatar

    “the one category that gnaws at every EV driver’s brain — distance to darkness.”

    Not true. With many, if not most, EV drivers, we don’t even pay much attention to range gauge. Unlike an ICE vehicle, many of us are at 100% fueled every time we get into our vehicles. If you have a 300+ mile range and only driving 30 or 40 miles a day, why would you care about the range? When you’re done with your driving for the day, you park at home and plug it in. The car is soon at 100% again and you do your thing again the next day. That’s not the case for everyone, but for some of us, it is.

    With a gas car, after so many days of driving that 40 miles or whatever, you’ll get that low fuel light at some point and you have to deal with fuelling the car. Pulling in and out of the station. Waiting for a pump. Freezing while pumping it. Looking for the best price. Range matters with ICE because it dictates the time between fuelling. In a hurry and low on fuel? Too bad. You’re going to be even later because you have to pump some gas and some fool in line in front of you and blocking the pump you want to use is taking his sweet time to carefully pick out each one of the 50 scratch cards he’s buying.

    The fact is that range concerns do not gnaw away at every EV drivers brain. Some of us have less concerns about fuelling than ICE drivers.

    • 0 avatar

      Sounds like you did an awful lot of thinking about gassing up. Know what most people do? See they’re running low, pull into station, fill up and leave. 5 minutes.

      • 0 avatar

        Until EVs offer the same level of ease that gassing up a ICE-powered car, EVs won’t truly take off in the mainstream. Range anxiety is still very much a thing.

        • 0 avatar

          Depends. If it’s possible to charge at home, range can definitely be a non-issue for city driving on an EV with a max range of 238 miles.

          If, however, home or work charging is not an option, yeah, more affordable charging infrastructure is definitely needed for EVs to be considered mainstream transportation.

    • 0 avatar

      I could see my wife pulling out of the garage with tethered AC cord still intact! Opps, I forgot to unplug! Did I cause any damage? Grrrrrrrr!

      • 0 avatar

        I did that once back in the ’70s. I lived in Blackfoot, Idaho, and the overnight temps were down in the -20 to -30degF range so I had my ’61 Falcon Ranchero tank heater plugged into the living room receptacle with the wire through the storm door and inside door. Late to work one morning, jumped into the car, backed out, and off out to work at the site out on the desert. Came home that night to find the storm door ripped off and lying on the porch and the inside door with a pretty good chunk ripped out by the plug (which had abraded down to nothing on the 100-mile round trip).

      • 0 avatar

        Unlike other cars an electric car is likely to “know” it’s plugged in. My i3s, for example, will not let me drive away if it is plugged in.

    • 0 avatar

      After the car ages several years, and you’re driving in the cold weather, what is the real range – 100 miles? My wife panics when the warning light comes on at 50 miles to empty – so her effective diving range would be 50 miles. This is what stops me from buying an electric car.

  • avatar

    Who pays sticker price for a Hyundai? Their dealers specialize in “Come on down!” screamer ads offering low, low, monthly payments and no money down on a deeply discounted price.

  • avatar

    I must say I do like this color combination, the light green with a white roof! Copied from the Toyota Rav 4.

  • avatar

    What an ugly rear end.

  • avatar

    I look forward to literally an article a day blasting Hyundai for missing its promised price point. Oh, you only do that for Tesla? Innnnnteresting.

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