Published on July 23rd, 2018 | by Steve Hanley
July 23rd, 2018 by Steve Hanley
The Kia Niro Electric is here (assuming “here” is South Korea). The car officially debuted in Seoul on July 19. The biggest news is that with the larger of the two available lithium-polymer batteries — 64 kWh — it can travel 385 kilometers on a single charge. Bear in mind that various nations use various formulas to determine range. 385 km equals about 230 miles, but if you add in a bit of a correction factor for the more stringent EPA standard, 200 miles or fewer is more likely the number you will see when this car comes stateside.
The car will also be available with a 39.2 kWh battery for less money. Range for that version is given as 246 kilometers according to a Kia press release. That should work out to about 150 miles in EPA terms. Both versions come with a 204 horsepower motor with 290 ft-lb of torque for sprightly performance. Korean news source Hankyoreh says the Kia Niro Electric will be covered by the company’s standard 10 year/100,000 mile warranty, with one important upgrade — the battery will be covered by a lifetime warranty.
The Niro Electric will offer drivers several “peace of mind” features designed to minimize range anxiety concerns. The center touchscreen will show nearby charging stations while driving. When a route is programmed into the navigation system, it will automatically display charging locations along the way to make planning a trip more convenient. Smart charging options will allow owners to remotely program when and how much the car charges when connected.
The Kia Niro Electric will also feature a “smart regeneration system” that automatically controls the amount of regen available (no details yet on how that system works) and a heat pump system that minimizes air conditioning electricity consumption by recycling the vehicle’s waste heat. Forward collision avoidance assist, lane keep assist, smart cruise control, and a driver attention warning system are all standard. Blind spot collision warning, high beam assist, and highway driving assist functions are available options. Drivers can select from six interior mood lighting colors — white, grey, bronze, red, green, or blue.
What’s the best part of the Kia Niro Electric? It’s a crossover SUV that caters to drivers who want to be able to carry lots of passengers and all their stuff at the same time. The Niro features generous interior dimensions for an open and airy driving experience. It’s a Goldilocks kind of vehicle — not too big, not to small. It will be just right for lots of people who want an electric car with decent range that is not a sedan. Sales in Europe are scheduled to begin later this year with cars coming to North American dealers early next year.