Kia’s California-Flavored Niro EV Debuts in Korea

The new CUV, boasting a range of 236 miles in its high-capacity version and 149 miles in a lower-capacity model, offers a high level of safety features and in-car technologies.

Vince Courtenay, Correspondent

June 11, 2018

2 Min Read
Niro EV offers suite of advanced driver-assist safety technologies.
Niro EV offers suite of advanced driver-assist safety technologies.

Kia Motors’ battery-electric Niro CUV makes its world debut June 7, a day ahead of the opening of the Busan auto show in South Korea.

The new entry boasts a range of 236 miles (380 km) in its high-capacity version and offers a high level of safety features and in-car technologies.

“The Niro EV will be Kia’s second globally sold electric vehicle, following the immensely popular Soul EV,” Kia CEO Han-Woo Park says at the unveiling. “It demonstrates the progress Kia has made in delivering comfortable, practical and fun-to-drive vehicles that lead the way in zero-emissions driving.”

The Niro EV was designed mostly in California with input and guidance from Kia’s design and development center in Namyang, Korea. Styling cues were inspired by the Niro EV Concept shown in January at the CES in Las Vegas.

The Niro EV measures 72 ins. (1,805 mm) in width, 61 ins. (1,560 mm) in height and 172 ins. (4,375 mm) in length with a 106-in. (2,700-mm) wheelbase. Cargo space is 16 cu.-ft. (451 L).

Kia’s distinctive tiger-nose grille incorporates a charging port for the high-capacity 64-kWh lithium-polymer battery pack. A 100-kW fast charger can give the batteries an 80% recharge in 54 minutes.

Also offered is a lower-powered 39.2-kWh battery pack that provides 149 miles (240 km) of range on a single charge.

Available active safety systems include forward-collision warning, forward-collision-avoidance assist, smart cruise control with stop/start and Level 2 autonomous-vehicle-rated lane-keeping assist.

The Niro EV’s interior features differ from those of other Niro models. The new entry features shift-by-wire technology controlled by a shift-dial knob on the center console. Mood lighting enables the driver to choose five subtle colors for lighting the console and shifter.

The 7-in. (18-cm) touchscreen incorporates EV-specific features that let the driver monitor the charge level and remaining range. The monitor also provides continuous driving and powertrain information.

Kia says the Niro EV will launch in Korea during the second half of the year. No schedule has been given for a U.S. or European launch and pricing is not yet indicated.

The new entry comes as EVs are strongly penetrating the Korean market. The Korea Automobile Manufacturers Assoc. reports 5,542 EVs were sold in the first four months of 2018, accounting for 22.7% of all eco-friendly vehicles sold in the country.

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