The asking price of $28,500 seems high for a used vehicle of this size. But then again, it might be considered an alternative to a used Tesla.
Photo: Matti Blume
Used Tesla Model 3s are not dropping in value like they should. What other alternatives are there? Well, in Norway, one of them – described in this article – is a vehicle that does not look like a Tesla, does not drive like a Tesla, and does not have the AI that the American brand is heavily betting on – but its range results are surprisingly close to those of the early Model 3.
In Norway, back in late 2018 and early 2019, the range of affordable long-range electric cars was pretty limited (emphasis on affordable; the Model S and X were pretty expensive, but Norwegians were still buying them). There was the Chevrolet Bolt/Opel Ampera-e; and there was the Hyundai Kona Electric. End of list.
Those receiving deliveries of their long-awaited Bolts usually had placed an order at least about a year earlier. The shipments of the Kona Electric, starting from August 2018, improved the situation: the number of available models increased from one to two; even better than that, one of them (the Kona) was a vehicle whose sales were not being actively discouraged by the very brand under which it was sold.
Still, the waiting lists for the Kona were extremely long. Around March 2019, shipments of the Tesla Model 3 finally reached Norway, which (besides changing the Norwegian, and European, car market forever) eased the pressure on Hyundai a bit.
How much does one of these early-production Kona Electrics cost now?
On finn.no, which is Norway’s eBay, you can find some Kona Electrics from the 2019 model year starting from the equivalent of about $28,500 to $33,500 (NOK 275,000 to NOK 320,000).
Those from the 2020 model year are in the range of $32,000 to $38,500 (NOK 308,000 to NOK 370,000).
I excluded the sub-40-kWh-battery variant of the Kona Electric, which is not a long-range vehicle.
These are listing prices — which might be different from actual transaction prices.
I thought it’s worth checking if there is currently a shortage of Kona Electrics on the new car market. There isn’t. Such vehicles are readily available. But this is not the case with Teslas, electric Volkswagens, the Kia EV6, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and many others — there are long wait times — which might still be inflating the prices of used EVs overall.
So, the listing prices of the Kona Electric, in Norway, start somewhere around $28,500. For the Tesla Model 3 Long Range, also in Norway and for the same 2019 model year, they start around $38,500 (excluding one outlier at slightly above $35,000). But how does the small Korean crossover stack up against the Tesla?
The Model 3 charges faster — much faster. About 150 kW at 50% state-of-charge, still over 50 kW at 80% state-of-charge. The Hyundai can maintain only about 70 kW at 50% state-of-charge and 25–30 kW at 80% state-of-charge.
Besides that, I am going to limit this comparison to just one thing: range. And, intentionally, without referring to the official EPA ratings. Here are the test results published by the French magazine l’Automobile and the German automobile association ADAC. As we are comparing used cars, the data is for pre-2021 Model 3s, not the later ones with increased battery capacity.
Kona Electric 64 kWh | Model 3 Long Range 75 kWh
l’Automobile, ville (city driving):
480 km (298 miles) | 445 km (277 miles)
l’Automobile, route (outside town; rural highways?):
380 km (236 miles) | 393 km (244 miles)
l’Automobile, autoroute (European highway speeds):
265 km (165 miles) | 320 km (199 miles)
435 km (270 miles) | 429 km (267 miles)
At European highway speeds (typically 130 km/h, or 81 mph), the Tesla clearly wins. Interestingly, Norway is not one of the countries where it would matter much. Speed limits in Norway are stricter than elsewhere in Europe: 110 km/h or 68 mph at most; but usually lower. The French tests suggest that at such speeds, the Tesla might still have a slight advantage over the Hyundai when it comes to range. And, as mentioned earlier, the Tesla also charges much quicker.
But the significantly lower price works in favor of the Korean crossover.