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Hyundai, Kia cut EV range claim
Hyundai and Kia blame independent tester for Kona Electric and e-Niro range error
5 Dec 2018
SOUTH Korean sister companies Hyundai and Kia have launched an investigation into errors in official European driving range testing for their closely related electric vehicles, the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro.
The companies have issue an embarrassing correction for the claimed figures, blaming incorrect testing methodology provided by an independent testing organisation hired to oversee the tests for the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) that is now mandatory in Europe and the United Kingdom.
According to separate Hyundai and Kia press releases, the Kona Electric and e-Niro were tested “for a disproportionate length of time on the WLTP urban cycle”, resulting in an overestimation of the vehicle’s all-electric range.
The companies have issued revised figures for both vehicles, with the 64kWh Kona’s range being trimmed 21km, from 470km to 449km, while the 64kWh e-Niro comes down 30km, from 485km to 455km.
The smaller battery versions of these models that employ an identical 39.2kWh battery have also taken a cut. The Kona version has been reduced by 11km, from 300km to 289km, while the e-Niro is down from 312km to 289km, a cut of 23km.
The errors apparently were discovered in Hyundai Group’s own continuing homologation work.
“Hyundai is concerned to have learned that the officially recognised driving range of Kona Electric must be corrected and is taking this matter seriously,” the Hyundai statement said. “No other Hyundai vehicles are affected by this issue.”
The Kona Electric and e-Niro have both been confirmed for the Australian market, with sales of the Kona EV expected to start in the first quarter of next year. The e-Niro will follow late in the year.
In each case, the Australian market is expected to get only the flagship 64kWh variant.
The independent test organisation blamed for the European error was not named, but the companies pointed out that the tests were overseen by “designated testing authorities” that seemingly did not pick up the mistake.
The complicated new WLTP testing regime has been a nightmare for motor companies in Europe this year, with many vehicle models simply disappearing from production because the companies do not have the resources to test all vehicles.
For Kia, the issue was further complicated because its e-Niro was one of the first vehicles to be put through the new test regime.
The e-Niro was just about to go on sale in the UK where Kia says it is communicating with buyers to alert them to the range change.
It is unclear whether buyers will be offered compensation or have their deposits returned.
Despite the testing hiccup and reduced theoretical range, the Kona Electric and e-Niro have been getting rave reviews, with motoring journalists in the UK describing them as “game-changers” and “the best-value EVs on the market”.
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