In addition to all of the concept cars that will never enter production but were put on display at the Geneva Motor Show, Kia apparently saw fit to highlight its upcoming plug-in hybrid version of the Niro (which will be accompanied at a later point by an all-electric Niro).
Those familiar with the internal combustion engine (ICE) variants of the Niro won’t see anything unfamiliar. The model is more or less the same aesthetically, give or take a couple of minor changes.
As far as the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Niro’s specs? The model will feature an 8.9 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery pack, which will reportedly allow for around 25 miles of real-world range. (The NEDC rating is apparently going to be 55 kilometers/34 miles, but the NEDC testing cycle is incredibly “optimistic,” to put it lightly.)
So, it’s not a horrible all-electric range — certainly enough to meet many people’s everyday needs — but nothing special (like the Volt’s). The ICE engine is of course always there for longer trips.
Autoblog provides more: “The new battery, besides offering more range, is also physically larger. It’s placed under the cargo floor and rear seat, and the larger size means the cargo area shrinks by a little over 3.5 cubic feet. However, Kia says that the rest of the interior is unaffected. And an unusual note, Kia will offer a towing package that will allow the Niro PHEV to pull a trailer with brakes weighing up to roughly 2,900 pounds, although it’s unclear if this is a European-only option.”
The Kia Niro PHEV is expected to go on sale in the European market by the autumn, and to hit the US market before the end of the year.
As a recap of the electric vehicle situation in the US now: Before the end of 2017, it’s expected that the new Nissan LEAF will be available, that Tesla Model 3 deliveries will have begun in earnest, that the Chevy Bolt EV will be available nationwide, that the Toyota Prius Prime will be available nationwide, and that the Kia Niro PHEV will be on sale.
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