A few months ago, I wanted to buy a `20-25 lakh petrol car. Since none met my expectations, I decided Hyundai Venue, the compact SUV (about `10 lakh). During the process, I learnt about then to-be-launched Hyundai Kona Electric. At the same time, it was encouraging to see the government’s Budget announcement to encourage sales of electric cars. While the launch price of the Kona was above my budget (over `25 lakh), with the GST reduction on the anvil, I booked it. Reasons included tax benefit offered on the loan availed for purchasing it, reduction in GST, no road tax, registration fees, etc. Add to that the fact that the Kona Electric has a decent range (claimed is 452 km on its 39.2 kWh battery pack).
I was aware charging would be a problem. While I got a slow charger and a fast-charging AC equipment free for charging at home, public infrastructure is almost non-existent. Then I got to know BESCOM, the electricity provider in Bengaluru, has set up 12 fast-charging stations across the city—the government of Karnataka and BESCOM are also planning to set up charging stations along national highways.I was among the first few customers to get the delivery of the car, in August. Its ride quality is fantastic. The intuitive cluster, infotainment system and the button-based drive-mode selector are futuristic. Interestingly, many people have asked me the typical ‘kitna deti hai’ question.
I’ve driven during rush hour, off-peak hours, and on a short stretch on highways. Practical storage spaces are worth mentioning, and ventilated seats are a boon in hot weather. Also, during rush hour traffic, I have been getting about 7.5 km per kWh (translates to 294 km range). During off-peak hours and if driven at 30-50kph, the efficiency improves to 11 km per kWh (431 km range). The key to getting better range is easy acceleration, regenerative braking set at level 3, using driver-only AC (if you are the only one in the car).
Also, range improves when going downhill as that helps recharge the battery. With five people travelling and AC switched on, about 9 km per kWh is achievable (352 km range). On the highway, the best range is possible when driving at 70-90kph.I’ve observed the Kona returns a range of 320-370 km during urban driving and about 300 km on the highway. Customers like us definitely need more choices as far as electric cars are concerned, and surely such electric cars that have a range long enough not to give us range anxiety.
By - G Krishna Kumar
Tesla Club India
*Article was originally published in Financial Express