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Driving Impressions

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Quantifying ‘Quito-Quito’ in Hyundai’s New Kona Electric

Most people considering an electric car purchase in Trinidad and Tobago are asking one question– “do we have enough charging stations for that to make sense?” Technically anywhere that has a regular electrical outlet will do especially if the vehicle you are looking at has adequate range. So then, how far is far and where exactly is ‘quito-quito’? We decided to try a range test in the new all-electric Hyundai Kona– to Cedros and back! On a single charge.



We started our run after the morning rush hours in a brand new white Hyundai Kona. Immediately as you get in you’ll realise that the cabin is decidedly more upscale than the Hyundais of yesteryear. The transmission now selects gears via buttons instead of any kind of gear lever, and sensibly, Hyundai has now created an open storage compartment below where you can place your devices and connect them to one of the many USB charging ports.

 

The transmission now selects gears via buttons instead of any kind of gear lever, and sensibly, Hyundai has now created an open storage compartment below...

 


There was also a wireless charging pad in the centre console that worked perfectly with my older iPhone– I didn’t even need to remove the case. Thanks to the on-board Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth there was no issue with connectivity either. 

 


Our first stop was going to be at UWI, to chat with Dr. Sanjay Bahadoorsingh, who, along with his counterparts from UTT, T&TEC and the Trinidad & Tobago Bureau of Standards pioneered electric vehicle infrastructure standards for Trinidad and Tobago.

 

After chatting a bit about developing the first electric station, we also learned that there are some simple safety measures you should follow if installing a charging port at home, or having a certified port installed at your business place. Adhering to these will avoid any mishaps with your car or charging unit, we do not recommend cutting any corners when it comes to this.

 

...there are some simple safety measures you should follow if installing a charging port at home, or having a certified port installed at your business place.

 

We also compared notes and discovered that there are around 9 charging stations (including all Massy Motors branches) that can be publicly accessed in Trinidad.

We also compared notes and discovered that there are around 9 charging stations (including all Massy Motors branches) that can be publicly accessed in Trinidad.

 


Most offer the Type 1/J1772 charging port (as per our Hyundai Kona and the Porsche Taycan) as an option, while a few cater for other multiple port types (CCS, Type 2, Chademo etc.) – such as NP’s new flagship station at the Couva/Point Lisas/Preysal exit.

 

In the 12 or so minutes that we conversed with Dr. Sanjay and his team, the Hyundai Kona was back at full charge, with 288km of range indicated. According to Waze, Cedros was roughly 2.5 hours and 117km away. I also planned a few stops to take photos of the Presbyterian churches in the area to assist with their upcoming commemorative 150th Anniversary book, since we were off to ‘quito-quito’ and all... 


According to Waze, Cedros was roughly 2.5 hours and 117km away. 

 

 

By now though, it was close to lunch. And we decided to go to Alpine Restaurant and Bar in Preysal for some hot roti– if you’re a foodie, you’ll love it! Our test was now properly realistic– three grown men, with full stomachs and the a/c on and keeping us cool.

 


We headed back to  the highway where accelerating, merging and passing was a breeze thanks to the Kona’s instant electric torque. The lane assist system was constantly giving us the tiniest of tugs, along with an audible but pleasant alert sound and flashes on the dash whenever we came near to the painted lines on the roadway without using the turn signal.

We headed back to  the highway where accelerating, merging and passing was a breeze thanks to the Kona’s instant electric torque.

 

The blind spot indicator was also very useful and even popped up on the heads up display (HUD). You can also choose between three driving modes, economy, standard and sport– with corresponding dashboard graphics to match on the full LED dashboard screen– easily rivalling the ones available in the latest European vehicles. And of course these adjust the Kona’s responsiveness and steering assist according to the mode selected. 

You can also choose between three driving modes, economy, standard and sport– with corresponding dashboard graphics to match on the full LED dashboard screen

 


The real highway superstar feature was the cruise control system. Via a few buttons on the steering wheel, you can adjust the distance you want to maintain from the vehicle in front of you, ranging from what seemed like 3.5 car lengths away to about 6. The system automatically applies the accelerator and brake as needed. It was even smart enough to react to cars cutting in front of us and automatically apply the brake to allow them room, then resume pace according to the speed of the car in front and available distance ahead. Of course I had my foot hovering over the brake throughout this part of the test, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well the system operated overall, and there was no need for me to intervene.

It was even smart enough to react to cars cutting in front of us and automatically apply the brake to allow them room, then resume pace according to the speed of the car in front and available distance ahead.

 


The car’s set cruise speed and actual speed were both shown on the HUD as well. 

 


We eventually turned off at the Golconda exit, went through the interchange, into Gulf View, and on to Mosquito Creek. Soon we got to the hilly, winding roads of the southland where I had loads of opportunities to play with the Kona’s regeneration paddles. You toggle the left one for more regen on steep downhills and toggle the right side to reduce when you are on gentler slopes and flatter roads– making the drive interesting in a completely different way, once you get used to it.

Eventually, we reached La Brea and of course we had to take a photo at the entrance to the world famous Pitch Lake.

...I had loads of opportunities to play with the Kona’s regeneration paddles. You toggle the left one for more regen on steep downhills and toggle the right side to reduce when you are on gentler slopes...

 

The Kona felt sure footed through the corners, and capably soaked up all but the biggest bumps and potholes while maintaining mid-corner poise, allowing us to maintain a decent pace. Somewhere along we encountered a slight drizzle and of course the Kona’s automatic wipers came on. And even though we were driving for so long the seats were still quite comfortable, especially with the built-in cooling system on. 

The Kona felt sure footed through the corners, and capably soaked up all but the biggest bumps and potholes while maintaining mid-corner poise...

 


We managed to find the Presbyterian Churches at Rousillac, Point Coco (Granville), Coromandel, and Cedros– securing some high quality photos for the book on the DSLR camera at each stop.

We managed to find the Presbyterian Churches at Rousillac, Point Coco (Granville), Coromandel, and Cedros...

 


By now we still had 62% power left or 172km of range, but we couldn’t come all this way and not see the waterfront, which according to Waze was just a few minutes away.

 


So off we went and surely enough we found Manmohansingh Park and the beachfront. There was definitely a sense of accomplishment here, especially when we realised that we actually had enough range left to go all the way back to the dealership at Port-of-Spain. 

 


Left to right: Creagh Costelloe - Senior Brand Manager (Hyundai), Gerald Henry - Marketing Assistant (Massy Motors) and Narend Sooknarine - Editor-in-Chief (Zorce)

There was definitely a sense of accomplishment here, especially when we realised that we actually had enough range left to go all the way back to the dealership at Port-of-Spain. 

 


The return trip was a bit more congested as the evening rush of work commuters presumably started their journeys home.

 


We encountered more slower moving traffic of course on the creek which took us down to 43% and 128km of range left by the time we neared Gulf View.



As we got back to the northbound of the Uriah Butler highway, the automatic headlights came on as well. So now we were using a little extra power but the Kona was unfussed.

 


Having driven most of the journey, I retired to the back seat as there was enough room for my 6-foot tall frame. The rear seats were also quite comfortable. 

We arrived at the Massy Motors dealership in Port-of-Spain after dark with 20% power to spare, which is around 74km.

 


We arrived at the Massy Motors dealership in Port-of-Spain after dark with 20% power to spare, which is around 74km. Keen readers will realise that we topped up to 100% at UWI but this really only added about 12km to our range as we left the dealership with 276km available.

 


So when you do the math, we could have gone the full way with 62km to spare– which is about 38.5 miles– in theory, more than enough to make an additional short run before returning home to charge overnight. 

 


So what’s the conclusion of this experimental expedition? The Kona can make it to ‘quito-quito’ and back– on a single charge, with lots of power in reserve!

The Kona can make it to ‘quito-quito’ and back– on a single charge, with lots of power in reserve! No need to fear, just remember to charge it up...

 


No need to fear, just remember to charge it up at home, which is very similar to remembering to charge your phone.

 


And in the highly unlikely case that you need power, remember you can always pop in to any branch of Massy Motors, to UWI or the other 6 locations where public charging is available. But according to our test, you really won’t need to unless you do an extraordinary amount of driving. 

 


Welcome to the future! 

 

Technical Specifications: Hyundai Kona Electric

Price as tested TT$365K
Battery 39.2 kWh Lithium-ion Polymer, liquid-cooled 
Electric motor, front axle Permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor (PMSM)
Transmission, front axle  Single-speed transmission
Drive system Front-wheel-drive
Power Output 100kW / 136hp
Torque Output 291ft-lb
Top Speed 155km/h (elec. limited)
0-60mph / 0-100km/h 9.9s
0 – 400 m (1/4 mile) TBD
Suspension (front) McPherson strut and coil spring
Suspension (rear) Multi-link (dual lower arm)
Steering rack and pinion, motor-driven power steering, column mounted power assist, 2.5 turns to lock
Driver Aids smart cruise control (w/ stop & go), blind spot monitor, lane assists, forward collision avoidance, parking distance (f & r)
Brake System Regenerative Braking System (adjustable) with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with 4-wheel disc brakes
Brakes Front / Rear Ventilated Disc 305mm x 25mm / Solid Disc 300mm x 10mm
Drive Modes Comfort, Eco, Sport
Wheels with tyres, front 7.0J × 17 with tyres 215/55 R17
Wheels with tyres, back 7.0J × 17 with tyres 215/55 R17
Width (including mirrors) 1800mm
Cargo capacity - rear seats up / rear seats down 332L / 1114L
Unladen weight according to DIN 3715-3836lb
Permissible gross weight 4762lb
Towing Not Recommended
Drag Coefficient 0.288
Range as tested / factory rating 288km / 304km
Fuel Economy MPGe 132 city, 108 highway, 120 combined 
Charger Type SAE J1772 - Type 1 CCS AC and fast DC combination connector (Combo 1)
Charging time AC Level II at 7.2kW 6.5 hours
Charging time DC AC Level II at 11kW 4.5 hours
Charging time DC Level III at 50kW 10-80% (SAE Combo) 48 minutes
Charging time DC Level III at 100kW 10-80% (SAE Combo) 47 minutes
Charging time In-Cable Control Box (ICCB) / Domestic socket up to 2.7kW 22 hours

 

  

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