This will be the electric SUV's toughest challenge yet.
With its quirky styling, respectable range, and affordable price, the Hyundai Kona Electric is an enticing option for first-time EV buyers. Launched back in the summer, the electric SUV is facing its toughest challenge yet. To demonstrate the electric SUV's capability, range and reliability in extreme conditions Hyundai Motor India has announced the Kona Electric will become the first electric SUV to reach Mt. Everest's North Base Camp.
The 434-mile long drive has started off from Lhasa in China and will reach an altitude of 17,000 feet with temperature variations up to -12 degrees. Behind the wheel will be renowned mountaineer Mr. Ajeet Bajaj but Hyundai hasn't said how the Kona EV will be charged during its ascent.
"Hyundai Kona Electric has started the electric vehicle revolution in India by bringing-in a long range fully electric SUV. Hyundai always stays ahead of the curve and this feat signifies the unparalleled and unperturbed performance in extreme climatic conditions, reaching the pinnacle of the earth," said Mr. S.S. Kim, MD and CEO of Hyundai Motor India.
"Hyundai has leapfrogged with this revolutionary product and created a perpetual perception change about the concept of EVs in India. It's an extremely proud moment for us as yet again Kona Electric has proved its mettle in the world's toughest terrains without compromising on its performance. Today, Kona Electric embodies the most safe, secure and zero emission vehicle that can go all terrains."
Hyundai India certainly needs the publicity right now, because sales of the Kona Electric have been slow with about 130 units sold in India since it launched in the summer. Sales in the US aren't much better with around 100 units sold per month according to Bloomberg, despite Hyundai struggling to keep up with demand initially.
According to a report by Electrek, the India-spec Hyundai Kona Electric being used for the ascent also has significantly less range than the US model since it is powered by a 39.2-kWh battery pack instead of a 64-kilowatt-hour pack that provides 258 miles of range in the US-spec Kona Electric.