Kia introduced its Niro EV concept at CES this week, in a form that seems production-ready. Its debut was not really a surprise, as it had been teased already, and it seemed a logical extension for a crossover that already has hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants.
The Niro is powered by a 64 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack and a 150 kW motor, and has a range of 238 miles, placing it in the upper tier of electric cars, at least in terms of range. It is also capable of recharging to a 115 mile range within 30 minutes.
The exterior is recognizable as a Niro, but the front and rear masks are more aggressive and futuristic, distancing themselves just a bit from the standard Kia design language. Also distancing itself from the standard Kia offerings are the wheels, which have a distinctive Cuisinart-style blade pattern (it’s a blender, for non-Americans) with copper accents.
At the interior, the IP is a simple composition of open dashboard combined with discreet instrument clusters. No doubt the design of this will drift back towards Kia’s current production IP designs, but here it looks clean and open, a good look that we hope stays into the production model.
The Niro EV also has an on-board camera-based pedestrian detection and warning system that can sense someone in front of the car and emit a warning signal. This system, while not new in the industry, is certainly an advancement given Kia’s modest price points. The system is expected to be implemented in future Kia models as well.
The Niro EV is the first of five fully electric models that Kia will be introducing between now and 2025, and will join the Soul EV in Kia’s line-up.