The new Kia Niro EV, combining an all-electric, zero-emissions powertrain with ‘crossover practicality’ has just gone on sale in Korea and will make its European debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show.
The Niro EV sits alongside the existing Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid variants of the car – of which more than 200,000 have been sold globally (including more than 65,000 in Europe) since the Niro’s introduction in 2016.
This is to be Kia’s second globally-sold electric vehicle after the Soul EV, and will make its European debut at the 2018 Paris Motor Show in October. It will go on sale in Europe by the end of the year.
A high-capacity 64 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack affords a driving range of up to 280 miles (450 kilometres) on a single charge. Plugged into a 100 kW fast charger, it takes 54 minutes to recharge the Niro EV’s battery to 80 per cent. A 39.2 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack, with a range of up to 186 miles (300 kilometres) from a single charge will also be available.
Power is provided to the front wheels through a 150 kW (204 ps) motor, producing 395 Nm torque from a standstill, for acceleration from 0 to 100 kph in just 7.8 seconds. The battery pack is located low down in the body, beneath the boot floor, creating a centre of gravity more akin to that of a saloon or a hatchback “ensuring maximum stability and driving enjoyment on winding roads”.
The car offers drivers a range of Kia’s ‘Advanced Driver Assistance Systems’, supporting the driver in various environments and scenarios to mitigate the risk of a collision.
Available active safety systems include Forward Collision Warning with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Smart Cruise Control with Intelligent Stop & Go, and Lane Following Assist. Lane Following Assist tracks vehicles in front of the car in traffic and detects road markings to keep the Niro EV in its lane on the motorway. The system controls acceleration, braking and steering according to the behaviour of the vehicles in front, using external sensors to maintain a safe distance. Lane Following Assist operates between 0 and 130 kph.
Created at Kia’s design centres in California, USA, and Namyang in Korea, the Niro EV incorporates “the practicality and appeal of a crossover in a sleek, aerodynamic body with subtly sculptured surfaces”. Kia says the car demonstrates that “in seeking greater on-road efficiency, EV buyers need not sacrifice emotionally engaging design or crossover versatility”.
The Niro EV differentiates itself from the existing Niro Hybrid and Niro Plug-in Hybrid with a series of exclusive design features. Taking inspiration from the Niro EV Concept unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the exterior is based on a ‘clean and High-tech’ design concept.
Its aerodynamic ‘tiger-nose’ grille features an integrated charging port, bearing a ‘de-bossed’ Niro logo. Redesigned air intakes and new arrowhead-shaped LED daytime running lights combine with light-blue trim highlights to help it stand out further.
It rides on new five-spoke 17-inch aluminium alloy wheels with a diamond-cut two-tone finish, which house the regenerative braking system.
At the back, reshaped rear bumpers feature similar light blue highlights to those found at the front of the car, while new LED rear lights give the car “its own light signature”.
The interior stands out from other Niro models thanks to a range of new features and design elements. The dashboard includes a new light blue trim, echoing that of the exterior, while the design of the centre console has been simplified to accommodate the car’s shift-by-wire drive selector – Kia’s first ‘dial’-style shift knob.
A new ‘mood lighting’ system illuminates both the centre console and the shifter, and occupants can choose from six colours – white, grey, bronze, red, green, and blue. A new high-gloss black and blue trim lines the doors, making for what the makers call “a futuristic atmosphere”.
A 7.0-inch touchscreen HMI (human-machine interface) remains at the centre of the dashboard, but it has been updated to offer a series of EV-specific features.
The new infotainment system enables owners to locate nearby charging points and monitor the level of charge and the range remaining from the battery pack. The instrument cluster – a 7.0-inch colour-LCD display – is also unique to the Niro EV, enabling the driver to intuitively check driving and EV powertrain information while on the move.
The redesigned centre console creates more storage space at the base of the dashboard for smaller items – including a wireless smartphone charger. A lamp is integrated into the top of the dashboard, with a light displaying whether the battery pack is recharging or fully charged when plugged in. This enables owners to quickly see the car’s charge status at a glance from outside the car.
When the Niro was first launched in 2016, its new platform had been engineered to accommodate a variety of advanced powertrains. Kia says its 2,700-mm wheelbase ensures all occupants have plenty of legroom, while the sense of space is boosted by its crossover design. Its body is 1,805 mm wide and 1,560 mm tall, ensuring maximum head and shoulder room throughout the cabin. At 4,375 mm in length, it also offers more cargo space – 451 litres (VDA) – than many other plug-in and electric vehicles.
Prices and final specifications will be announced nearer to the launch date.