Hyundai's Kona EV Price Bump Comes at an Interesting Time

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Teddyc73 Teddyc73 on Apr 11, 2019

    What an ugly rear end.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Apr 13, 2019

    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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  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
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