Brendan Foot Supersite and Hyundai NZ organized for Marjorie and I to collect the first Kona EV from Hyundai NZ in Auckland in August 2018 and make its first drive to Wellington, to prove its long range capability. See here for more of our first experience with the Kona EV.  

Since then and up until the end of April this year we have travelled some 33,468 kms – an average of 1,045km a month. However if we deduct the months for the pandemic, and the time waiting for the new battery, our normal monthly use is around 1,300 kms per month. 

Two Kona EVs in the family Brendan Foot Supersite
John and Marjorie collecting their first Kona EV in 2018

As well as the original journey we have made two significant road trips. The first was across a week in late 2018 when we went from Wellington to New Plymouth, on the Forgotten World Highway to Turangi, then on to Whakatane and on to Lottin Point. We continued by Te Ararora and Tolaga Bay to Gisborne, and on to Napier with a trip up Te Mata Peak, and returned by Woodville and Martinborough. It was a great journey and we found charging points easily. 

The second long trip was a week in late 2019 in the South Island, where we went from Picton to Blenheim, then Greymouth, over Arthur’s Pass to Geraldine, and then on to Cromwell. After that it was as far southwest as we could go past Tuatapere to Papatotara, then by Invercargill and the Catlins to Balclutha. From there we went inland to the Maniototo, as far as St Bathans, and back to the coast over the Danseys Pass track to Oamaru. Danseys Pass was a good test for the Kona – it is narrow, rocky, steep and twisty, and if we were to do it again I’d be better prepared for a puncture and carry an actual spare wheel. Fortunately we didn’t have any problem apart from a good coating of dust over the back of the car. We ended the journey up the coast staying at Akaroa and Kaikoura – another great trip and with good availability of recharging options there was no issue of having no charge. 

Most weekends we visit our son and partner in Martinborough so the car has been over the Remutaka Pass a hundred times and more. It has the grunt to pass slower traffic and 85km trip usually takes between an hour and ten and an hour and 15 minutes. The rest of the time it is mainly urban journeys around Wellington and my daily trip to the Moxie office in Blair Street from home in Kelburn.  

Every month we enter the charging information into the database run by Flipthefleet.org.  That way we know that our electrical efficiency averages 14.9 kWhour per 100 km. 

During the road trips we used mainly the Chargenet network which costs 25c per kWhour plus 25c per minute. The charging rate is around 44 kW (it varies with the level of charge in the battery), so at an efficiency of 14.9kW/100km that works out at 8.8 cents per km. 

However most of the time we charge at home using the Wallbox unit rated at 20 Amps. Usually we plug the car in on Friday evening after the off-peak rate starts at 9pm, and the car is charged by Saturday morning. The off-peak rates are quite high recently at 19.3 cents per kWh so that works out at 2.9 cents per km. In comparison the Volvo V40 D4 we traded in for the new Kona used 5 litres of diesel per 100km at $1.30 per litre which is 6.5 cents per km, plus 7.6 cents per km Road User Charge. So the comparable monthly cost would be $183.30 for the Volvo and $37.70 for the Kona EV. There is an expectation in EV advocate circles that the EV RUC exemption will continue past the end of this year 

Another difference is the maintenance cost. The annual Volvo service is over $700, and the Kona is around $250. 

There have been two issues with the Kona. The first was around 18,000 kms, when the drive motor was making a whining noise. It was replaced under warranty and during the time out of action we were provided with another Kona EV by Brendan Foot Supersite. The second issue concerned the traction battery problem that is currently the subject of a global replacement programme. Our car was called in last November for a Battery Management Software change to prevent the battery overheating and catching fire. The software did its job because two weeks later the car was “bricked” and could not move. The car went in for a new battery and we had the use of a loan car while it was out of action. 

Two Kona EVs in the family Brendan Foot Supersite
John taking delivery of his new Kona EV Series II earlier this month

While we were waiting, we decided that when we got the Kona back we would trade it in for the new Kona EV Series II that had been announced last November and was due in New Zealand in April. However, when we got the car back with the replacement battery, we found we had not factored in just how good a car it is in so many ways, from it being fun to drive, comfortable to travel in, and easy to get in and out of. So we traded in our Volvo instead, and now we have two Kona EVs! Our carport is ICE free. 

The new one is very good too. More safety features and more display functions that we’ve yet to explore fully, and nothing seems to have been lost. And overall we believe we have been very well treated by Hyundai NZ and Brendan Foot Supersite.  

John Lumsden
Kona EV owner

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