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Kona Electric India - Road Trip Experience

*A shortened edited version of this blog was published on CNB, NDTV. We would like to share the entire blog here.

In mid 2015 I happened to stumble upon the Nevada and Fremont Tesla factory videos while doing some research for implementation of robotics in my manufacturing unit (we have 10 of them in our unit now). Together in this journey of yearning for EVs’ was my friend Kiran Alangar and Cousin Padmanabh Bhat. Together we would follow Tesla news and drool over the Model S & Model X progress. That really opened our eyes to EVs’ and their advantages.

Now skip to April 1st 2016, or 31st March 2016 in USA, I saw the live stream of Elon introducing the Model 3, Tesla’s most affordable (~ 35,000 USD ) model yet, and India was also a country where they planned to enter and had opened up the reservation page for. After deliberating with Dad for a few days finally reserved one paying USD 1,000 on 7th April 2016. Tesla it seemed had bit off more than they could swallow, with the almost 400,000+ reservations.

So started my journey of waiting for Tesla to enter India. Elon’s multiple tweets of entering India gave me hope and them not fructifying brought disappointment.

Cut to June 12th 2019, I got the news that Hyundai India is planning to release Kona EV in India on July 9th , and I was straight away interested to test drive it. I called a couple of leading Hyundai dealerships and enquired about the same. They told me that they were not aware of the same and will ask their premium car sales person to give me a call back. In the meanwhile I tweeted to a few Tesla Owners I follow on twitter to get their feedback.

The Hyundai dealer sales person called me and gave me only a few details, he had visited the training session and told me that we may only get the base 39.2 kWh variant (EPA range of 250-260 km )and not the 64 kWh long range (EPA range of 410-420 km) which I was looking forward to so that I can travel long distances without range anxiety. ARAI range of Kona EV of 452 km/charge is not practical unless you hyper mile with no climate control on. I thank the sales rep and ask him to keep me informed.

July 1st week, the sales rep called me and asked can I come over to the showroom on 9th July for the official reveal of the Kona. , I was more than happy to. On July 9th , I went to the showroom where they had the Kona under wraps and they broadcast the live stream of Kona reveal at Buddh International Circuit on the Lounge TV.