Korean car maker Kai has unveiled its latest all-electric vehicle, the Niro EV, in a sneak peek at the International Electric Vehicle Expo in Jeju, a day ahead of the 2018 Busan International Motor Show.
Adding to their all electric and hybrid line up, the new model joins the company’s Soul EV which was Kia’s first entry into the electric vehicle market back in 2014.
“The Niro EV will be Kia’s second globally sold electric vehicle, following the immensely popular Soul EV,” said Kia CEO Han-Woo Par in a statement
The Niro EV, also a CUV (crossover utility vehicle), is an improvement on the Soul EV in terms of range – 380km compared to the Soul’s 178km.
With range anxiety cited as a major reason for hesitant adoption of EVs in Australia, the Niro’s range would be a welcome addition to our limited EV market.
While there are no concrete dates for the model’s introduction in Australia, the company has previously put it on record that they would not be bringing any of their hybrid models to Australia – instead, they will jump straight to EV.
“Kia Motors Australia will not have any hybrid models in our Australian range but rather step straight to full EV technology as soon as it is available to us and that could be as early as 2019,” Chief Operating Officer, Damien Meredith told Renew Economy in an emailed statement.
The California-designed Niro EV has many features associated with crossover SUVs, like generous space, while taking ‘Clean and High-tech’ notes from the model’s concept prototype which was earlier this year at CES2018 in Las Vegas.
This could resonate well with the Australian market, where models like Mazda’s CX-5 dominate SUV sales.
“It demonstrates the progress Kia has made in delivering comfortable, practical and fun-to-drive vehicles that lead the way in zero-emissions driving,” said Han-Woo Par.
Its long-distance range has been achieved using new production technologies that Kia say they will employ for all their EV models.
Along with a ‘next-generation electric vehicle powertrain’, it packs a 64kWh lithium-polymer battery that the company says will take 54 minutes to charge to 80% capacity.
Buyers will also have the option to order the Niro EV with a smaller battery system of 39.2 kWh, which would deliver a range of up to 240 kilometres.
The Niro EV is due to make its global debut this September at the Paris Motor Show, and will go on sale in Korea in the second half of 2018.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.