As the first affordable, fully electric compact utility vehicle (CUV) in the world, the Kia Niro EV is one of the most highly anticipated electric vehicle launches. Being the new guy on the block, every step is being watched and eagerly reported.
The Niro EV went on sale in Korea on July 19th and has already taken the top spot as the best selling EV in Korea, according to a new report by the Korea Times. In the dash out of the gate, the Niro has already bested Hyundai’s Ioniq, demonstrating the demand for an electrified version of the taller form factor vehicle.
Kia gave a handful of Korean journalists some face time with the new Niro EV along a 100 kilometer route for them to explore. Right from the start, the journalists noted that the gear selection stick had been replaced by a much easier to use knob that switches gears in the vehicle with a simple twist of the wrist.
The journalists came away with positive impressions about the driving performance of the vehicle. The 150kW (207 horsepower) motor proved to be more than sufficient for a mid-sized CUV like the Niro. The instant torque was also a satisfier, putting not only smiles on their faces but a head start of a couple of meters right off the line, for the adrenaline junkies out there.
They also noted that the Niro EV was packed to the brim with safety and convenience tech, including lane keeping assist, smart cruise control, front collision avoidance, and collision warnings, among other features. Kia opted for steering wheel-mounted paddles that make switching to one of the four regen levels a breeze.
The Niro comes to the market with a 64 kWh battery that yields an impressive 239 miles (385 kilometers) of range, making it one of the longest range fully electric non-Tesla vehicles on the market. On a 100 kW charger, the Niro EV will charge from zero to 80% charge in just 54 minutes.
On the efficiency front, the Niro EV is a champ, with one reporter recording a real world efficiency of 5.4 kilometers (3.4 miles) per kilowatt-hour, which is slightly better than Kia’s official number of 5.3 kilometers (3.3 miles) per kilowatt-hour.
Kia shared that the Niro is but the first of a wide range of next-generation-fuel vehicles set to arrive in the next few years as it continues to pursue an “all of the above” approach to rolling out hybrids, fully battery electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles without picking favorites.
“By 2025, Kia Motors will release five hybrid cars, five plug-in hybrid EVs, five EVs and one fuel-cell EV to consolidate its status in the eco-friendly car market,” Kia Motors Executive Vice President Kwon Hyug-ho said.
The automaker believes the magic combination of comfortable seating for five, the impressive long range, and the affordable price has lured in buyers.
Finally, the price. In Korea, the Kia Niro EV is selling for an impressive 30.8 million won ($27,400). That is a fantastic price for an electric vehicle that shows that Kia is moving into electric vehicles in earnest. That price will surely go up as the vehicle travels farther from home, picking up bonus tariffs along the way, thanks to Team Cheetos in D.C.
I know I’m not alone when I say that I’m excited for the Niro EV to come to the US and the rest of the world — its CUV form factor, affordable price, and long range are one of the magic formulas the world of battery electric vehicles has been missing … until now.
Source: Korea Times
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