The Kia Niro is a compact crossover SUV that debuted in hybrid form in 2016. Last year the range was expanded with the addition of a plug-in hybrid version. Soon, we’ll be able to add a pure electric version to that list.
Kia previewed the electric version of the Kia Niro on Monday with the unveiling of the Niro EV concept at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, where the automaker also outlined upcoming technologies and a long-term vision for mobility.
The Niro EV is expected on sale later this year and is one of 16 electrified vehicles Kia will launch by 2025. There will be five electric cars in the group as well as a fuel cell SUV likely twinned with the Hyundai Nexo that was also unveiled at CES. Kia’s fuel SUV will arrive in 2020.
As for the Niro EV, in concept form the vehicle packs a 200-horsepower electric motor at the front axle and a 64-kilowatt-hour lithium-polymer battery good for 238 miles of range—the same figure as the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
Inside, the cabin has been designed with a pure, minimalist and digital appearance. With a wrap-around design to cocoon the driver and passengers, the dashboard’s horizontal layout has broad and smooth surfaces. There’s also a safety system with cameras to detect pedestrians or cyclists and an external speaker to warn them if they don’t hear the Niro EV approaching.
The concept also comes with self-driving technology. Kia says it will start testing a large-scale fleet of self-driving cars on public roads from 2019 and hopes to have a Level 4 self-driving car available for use in 2021 in what the company calls “smart cities.” These are cities where there is infrastructure and connectivity available to support self-driving cars. A Level 4 self-driving car is able to operate on its own but only in select conditions. The end goal is a Level 5 car which will be able to handle all conditions on its own.
Alongside the Niro EV concept, Kia previewed some next-generation interface and connectivity technologies, including the world’s first 5G connectivity system for cars. The company also announced that its Wible car-sharing service will launch in Europe in 2018. Already available in Kia’s home of South Korea, Wible lets you book and pay for the use of car in the shared fleet via an app. Kia will announce the first European locations for the launch of Wible later in 2018.