Kia will launch the Niro EV in Europe in October
Fully electric version of Niro crossover makes its European debut at Paris Motor Show before end of year sales commence
The e-Niro is based on the existing Niro crossover and will be sold with two variants at launch: one with a 39.2kWh lithium ion battery pack offering a range of up to 193 miles from a full charge, and another using a 64kWh version of the same battery pack offering up to 301 miles of range.
Both figures are calculated using the new, more real-world WLTP test cycle, with the larger capacity model claiming up to 382 miles on the urban driving cycle. By way of comparison, a Jaguar I-Pace uses a 90kWh battery giving a claimed range of 298 miles on the combined cycle.
Two power outputs are also offered with the e-Niro. The base variant produces 134bhp and 291 lb ft of torque, allowing it to get from 0-62mph in 9.8 seconds. The longer range version produces the same amount of torque, but the motor makes 201bhp. Kia claims a 0-62mph time for that variant of 7.8 seconds. Both put their power through the front wheels only.
From a 100kW charge point, Kia claims that the higher-capacity Niro EV will attain 80% charge in 54 minutes, and a 20% to 80% charge in 42 minutes.
The e-Niro, first previewed by a concept that was unveiled in January, is slightly slower in the 0-62mph sprint than the related Hyundai Kona Electric. However, with an output of 201bhp it is slightly more powerful, albeit with the same 291lb ft of torque as the Kona Electric.
In addition to the usual driver assistance systems of automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance, the e-Niro has Level 2 autonomous capability, akin to the Volkswagen Group’s Traffic Jam Assist system, which follows traffic and steers the car within its lane. It operates from a dead stop up to 80mph, although the driver must keep their hands on the wheel at all times.
Further tech includes a battery heating system, designed to insulate the battery from cold temperatures when the e-Niro is plugged in. There is also a pre-conditioning system, allowing buyers to set the car up to heat and cool itself before the journey begins, while an Eco Driving Assistant System gives intelligent guidance on how to extend range, including when to coast or brake. A pair of paddles behind the steering wheel allow you to select the amount of brake regeneration used.
The Niro EV stands out from the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions with a new front end incorporating a filled-in grille and a charging port, as well as arrow-like daytime running lights. At the rear, it has model-exclusive LED tail-lights.
Inside, there’s blue trim to match the highlights on the exterior, while the centre console now accommodates a rotary drive selector in place of the traditional gear selector. The space freed up by the lack of a transmission tunnel also allows for a new storage area in the centre console. A 7.0in digital instrument display replaces the dials that can show powertrain information as well as the usual functions.
No details of pricing have been revealed as yet, but expect it to start from slightly more than the £25,000 Hyundai Kona Electric on account of its larger size. There will be a price gap between the two battery variants, but the exact cost difference is yet to be detailed.
In June, Kia said it had received 5000 orders for the Niro EV in South Korea. It is sold there alongside the existing hydrogen fuel cell, hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions.
The Niro EV is part of Kia’s ACE (Autonomous, Connected and Eco/Electric) strategy, which plans to offer 16 electrified vehicles by 2025.