At the Paris Motor Show this week, Kia began releasing some details about the fully electric version of the Kia Niro, which is scheduled to go on sale in Europe before the end of 2018. No prices have been announced yet, but the top-of-the-line version of Kia’s electric SUV will have a 64 kWh battery, a 200 horsepower motor, and 301 miles of range as measured by the WLTP standard, according to TechCrunch. It predicts the EPA number will be closer to 250 miles.
The electric Niro is a close cousin of the electric Hyundai Ioniq, one of the most efficient cars on the planet. The Niro is just a bit more square in design in order to give it a more upright, crossover look. Standing taller means more wind resistance, but it also means more room inside for people and their stuff. The electric Niro will be available in some markets with a 39.2 kWh battery and a less powerful motor (100 kW), but that version will not be offered in the US. It will have a WLTP range of 193 miles.
Kia has sold 200,000 copies of the stylish Niro since it was introduced in 2016. It is available in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid configurations. For a summary of what it is like to drive a Niro for a week, see our report from last Spring.
Kia has redesigned the exterior to lower the drag of the electric Kia and included some software assistance to maximize range. A feature built into the dashboard suggests when to coast or brake to optimize range. There’s also a charge management function designed to extend the life of the battery.
The center touchscreen offers information about charging stations along the way and the car can be programmed to heat or cool itself to a predetermined temperature by a time of day specified by the driver. The interior has also been redesigned to provide more storage space in place of the gearshift mechanism that is no longer needed in the all-electric version of the car.
Driver assist features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and lane keeping assistance are available as optional equipment. US sales of the electric Kia Niro are expected to begin late this year. Although, it may be early 2019 before most dealers have cars in stock. Also, we’re not actually sure how broadly Kia intends to sell the car or at what volumes.
Kia and Hyundai have found success offering attractively styled, comfortable cars that are priced aggressively against the competition. And they do come with just about the best new car warranty in the business. As soon as we have more information about pricing and other technical details like charging times, we will pass it along.
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