The Hyundai Kona has a claimed range of 452 km in one single charge under standard esting conditions. (Photographer: Nishant Sharma/BloombergQuint)

Hyundai Kona Electric SUV Launched In India, Prices Start At Rs 25.3 lakh

South Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. on Tueasday launched the Hyundai Kona electric sports utility vehicle in India at Rs 25.30 lakh, and sought government support for electric vehicles.

The company, which is present in the country through its wholly-owned subsidiary Hyundai Motor India Ltd., is also planning to develop a mass market electric car for India to supplement its Kona Electric SUV.

"We have seen some positive development in the form of tax incentives on purchase of EVs as provided in the budget, but we think more can be done by the government to accelerate adoption of EVs in India," Hyudnai India's Managing Director and Chief Executive SS Kim said on the sidelines of the Kona launch.

According to Kim, EVs are currently expensive in India and require economies of scale to make them affordable for mass adoption.

Referring to the FAME II scheme, which provides incentives to electric cars only for fleets and public transportation, Kim said: "Our desire is that such incentives should also be extended to personal usage too for the market to develop."

Commenting on the Hyudai Kona Electric SUV, Kim said, "this will be a game changer in the Indian EV market. We are addressing range anxiety which is one of the biggest issues that consumers have in mind when buying an electric vehicle."

Hyundai Kona has a claimed range of 452 km in one single charge under standard testing conditions.

"As we embark on the journey of India's future mobility, the launch of country's first fully-electric SUV Kona will be a revolutionary and a definitive forward move to change the perspective towards electric cars altogether," Kim said.

Globally, the Korean firm aims to have 44 environment-friendly cars in its lineup, including 23 fully-electric models, by 2025, he added.

The Hyundai Kona comes with different driving modes, infotainment features, 136 PS of power with an ability to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 9.7 seconds.

The Electric SUV can be charged fully in around six hours. It also come with safety features such as six airbags, anti-lock braking systems with electronic brake-force distribution, tyre pressure monitoring system and rear camera with guidelines.

Compared to what is available in India, the Hyundai Kona EV will be a big differentiator and will help the carmaker adopt a top-down approach in India, as far as electric vehicles are concerned.

"Currently, our research and development teams in Korea and Hyderabad are working together, doing customer clinics, in order to develop a mass market EV for the Indian market. It can take 2-3 years to hit the market," Kim said.

Hyundai is looking at a minimum of range of 200 km for this electric car, Kim said, adding that the company will go for localisation of components, including the battery packs when it is eventually launched in India.

The Kona will be assembled at Hyundai’s Chennai plant with most of the major components imported. There are only a few parts of Kona EV that are from local suppliers. The company is looking to expand its supplier base for its future EVs.

The Kona EV will be launched only in 11 cities across India, considering charging constraints and demand expectations in mind, Hyundai said. The company will provide a home-charging kit with the vehicle and is setting up charging stations through 15 dealerships in these cities—at showrooms as well as service centres.

Hyundai India is also tying up with Indian Oil to set up charging stations at petrol pumps in four cities, including Delhi-NCR.

From a profitability point of view, the Hyundai Kona EV does not have much to talk about in India, but the vehicle's launch is aimed at taking a lead in cleaner mobility and demonstrating the carmaker’s technology prowess, said Kim.

Hyundai is open to partnerships, and even form joint ventures for its electric mobility drive, especially to secure local supplies of key components like the battery and electric motors, he added. "Unless we localise supplies of components like the battery, we cannot bring the cost of EVs down.”

When asked if the mass market Hyundai electric car will be available for fleets, specially Ola where Hyundai has invested, Kim said the vehicle will cater to both taxis and personal usage but will be distinct for each of the segments.

Bloomberg Quint

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