When the electric car really goes mainstream, it won’t look like a Jetsons cruiser or a hot rod from the year 2050. You'll know EVs have made it when plain old family cars are running on batteries. That future could look a lot like the Hyundai Kona Electric, revealed today at the 2018 New York Auto Show.
Hyundai is in the midst of rolling out a slew of new and redesigned crossovers and SUVs—no surprise, now that these rides have supplanted minivans and sedans as America’s family car of choice. The automaker showed off new versions of its workaday Tuscon and Santa Fe crossovers at NYAS, but the Kona Electric is the clearest view of the way forward.
Kona Electric gets 250 miles of electric range, better than the base models of the Tesla Model S and the Chevy Bolt. It’s got a cross-hatch pattern meant to improve aerodynamics where the grille would be in a gas-powered car. There on the vehicle’s front, a flap opens to reveal the charging port, and DC fast-charging comes standard here.
But what’s really remarkable about the Kona Electric is that, frankly, it doesn’t look remarkable. Hyundai’s Natalia Edwards introduced the Kona by referencing the difference between early adopters—the kind of people turned on by the intentionally futuristic looks of cars like the Prius and the Nissan Leaf and the Model 3—and the rest of the driving public, folks who want to “stand out, not stick out,” as she puts it.
Indeed, the Kona Electric doesn’t look like a science project. It doesn’t even look like Tesla’s Model X, a sensuous and ultra-luxe take on the crossover. It looks like a perfectly safe and some-might-say-boring family crossover that happens to run electric. Get ready for a lot more of this.