The Kia Niro is the latest vehicle to get an all over electric makeover. After first appearing in hybrid format, the full electric Niro EV is due for release in Australia, or at least, that’s the plan.
The Niro EV has already been teased at CES, and is slated for a release into the North American market and into its native South Korean market in 2018, but where does that leave us down under?
When can we expect to take delivery of this environmentally responsible little vehicle?
As of right now, we don’t know. Initial reports have suggested that the Kia EV’s Australian pricing was too high for the market, or that the currently available EVs are sufficient to give the public what they want.
Don’t bet on this though. Buzz around recent releases suggests that appetite is strong for electric vehicles in Australia. It would be surprising if Kia decided to miss out on a very lucrative slice of the global market.
Until we know more about a possible release, here is the ultimate guide to the Kia Niro EV, and to what you can expect from this new concept.
The Kia Niro EV: Explained
Humanity is at a bit of a crossroads. It is now accepted that industrialisation and a reliance on fossil fuels over the last 200 years has caused serious harm to our planet and our environment. And yet, without reliable transportation, our economy would crumble.
What is to be done? Enter the newest addition to an ever-expanding range of automobiles: the fully electric vehicle.
At first, electric vehicles were scorned. Low battery life, even lower power, and no reliability; these were three of the reasons why a vehicle like the Kia Niro EV would have been completely unheard of only 15 or so years ago.
Back then it was petrol and diesel engines or nothing. Then came the hybrid revolution, in which an electric motor was added to vehicles to support lower fuel consumption and improved efficiency. Gradually after that, the car market began to edge towards electric vehicles.
Now, with ultra convenient, ultra-efficient vehicles such as the Niro EV now on the market – or preparing to enter the market – public perception has changed.
Electric vehicles now have the capability and the power required to be genuinely useful in daily life. The EV market’s gain is also the gain of our planet and our environment.
So, where a traditional car might have a petrol or a diesel engine, the Kia Niro EV replaces this with a 64kWh lithium-ion battery. This stores power for use in the impressively muscular 150kW electric motor.
It is this motor which provides the power that the Niro EV needs to get from A to B. The entry-level vehicle is expected to have an impressive 238-mile range on a single charge, making it a competitive customer in the current EV market.
But there’s that all-important word: ‘charge’. How often will we have to charge the Niro EV? And how will charging even be possible?
Well, unless you are planning to go on a serious journey, you are unlikely to need to charge more than once a day. Customers purchasing a Niro EV will also receive a home charging adapter kit, enabling them to charge their vehicles in the comfort of their own home.
When the vehicle is finally released in Australia, it will be compatible with the raft of EV charging points which the government plan to roll out in the coming years, expanding the reach of the vehicle still further.
What makes the Kia Niro so great?
Customers will find that the 150kW packs a serious punch. In fact, it provides almost double the power of that of its sister model, the Hyundai Ioniq EV, which manages only 88kW. This immediately silences any concerns relating to the vehicle’s suitability for modern driving.
A range of 238 miles on a single charge places the Kia Niro EV right in the mix with the Chrysler Bolt and other electric vehicle offerings. This is critical if the Kia Niro EV is to hold its own against – or even surpass – its competition in the long term.
As we move into the age of the electric vehicle, there has been some concern that these autos will be all concept and no style. This is blatantly not the case. Just take one look at the Kia Niro EV that was teased at CES and this becomes clear. Think white leather, sleek LCD screens, and smart hardware touches, as well as a sleek exterior.
That LCD screen isn’t alone in terms of the technology offered to customers. This is a forward-thinking, future-focused vehicle after all, and Kia are planning to represent this by releasing a raft of different tech features to support your driving.
Safety is a critical part of modern driving, and Kia have shown in the past that they are committed to making the driving experience as secure as possible. Features such as Electronic Stability Control, Airbag Occupancy Sensors and Knee Airbags, Side Impact Beams, Back-up Cameras, and much more, have all been included in safety packages for previous Kia Niro models, so we can expect similar for the EV.
The Niro EV has also been confirmed as having an automatic pedestrian collision detection warning. This is necessary, given the almost silent ride provided by an EV, and helps to keep all road users safe.
In Car 5G Connectivity
South Korea is renowned for having the fastest internet speeds in the world. So it is no surprise that the internet connectivity world leaders are keen to input some of that lightning fast broadband wizardry into their vehicles. Kia have announced that the Niro EV will be the first car to feature 5G connectivity, opening up a world of information, navigation, communication, and entertainment for drivers and passengers.
Options for the Kia Niro
Initial reports suggest that the Kia Niro EV will only be available in a motor version – the 150kW model.
However, there will be two battery sizes available for customers to choose from.
- The 39.2 kWh option:Provides almost to 240 miles of range on a single charge. This is the standard version of the Kia Niro EV.
- The 64.2kWh option:This option should provide minimum range of 310 miles.
Kia has reported that these two offerings represent just the beginning of the company’s forays into the EV market. The South Korean manufacturer has explained that as many as 16 electric vehicles will be available from the Kia stable by 2025.
This will include five new hybrid vehicles, five new plug-in hybrid vehicles, five new fully battery electric vehicles, and a new hydrogen-powered vehicle. This underlines Kia’s commitment to alternative energy sources and to responsible auto production.
When can I expect to get the Kia Niro in Australia, and how much will it cost?
As we have discussed, unfortunately, there is currently no concrete release date for the Kia Niro EV in Australia. Nor is any release planned at the moment.
Even the Kia Niro hybrid and standard models have not yet been launched into the Australian market.
However, this seems like too much of a missed opportunity from Kia, who certainly do not want to miss out on revenue from a burgeoning market like Australia. We expect a launch date to be released sometime in 2018.
As for pricing, because there is no definite Australian release just now, similarly there is no projected price.
Despite this, market analysts have predicted a price tag of below $40,000 for the vehicle, and perhaps even lower. Hang-ups regarding price have contributed to the Niro’s delayed Australian release.
Kia Niro: Additional Specs & Key Details
Detailed specifications are not yet available for the Kia Niro. Stay tuned to the Drive Zero website for more details.
*Featured image courtesy of Kia Australia.