238-Mile Kia Niro EV Concept Debuts
It features a 238-mile range and a 64-kWh battery.
The Detroit Auto Show is coming soon, but Kia chose the Consumer Electronic Show happening this week in Las Vegas to unveil its Niro EV Concept, along with a host of other auto-related technologies that the company says will endow future vehicles. We were given some teaser photos of the EV last week, and now that the veil is fully lifted from the compact SUV, there’s much to like about it.
In the powertrain department, the Niro EV Concept wields a high-capacity 64-kWh lithium-polymer battery pack that drives a single 150 kW motor. It’s all packaged in what Kia calls a next-generation EV powertrain utilizing new production technologies for near-future vehicles. Whatever it is, the Niro EV Concept should have a driving range of around 238 miles (383 kilometers) on a single charge.
The DNA shared with the current Niro is obvious, but aside from the requisite streamlining to help it slip through the air, the Niro EV Concept nixes the traditional grille for an interactive display that isn’t strictly for looks. Since Kia envisions the Niro EV as a machine for use in urban environments, the grille is part of an interactive lighting system that offers intuitive visual communication for both users and pedestrians. Further assisting in that department is something called Active Pedestrian Warning System, which uses cameras and object recognition tech along with speakers to alert people that could be in harm’s way and unaware of the silent-running Niro.
Like many concepts, the Niro EV adopts a very minimalistic approach with a wrap-around design and neutral colors that Kia says creates a sense of “space and calm” for passengers. As for what’s in the cabin, Kia mentions “greater user interaction with new technologies and features” but stops short of explaining what that means.
With the Niro EV Concept, Kia is keen to stake a larger claim in the electric realm. In fact, Kia is promising no less than 16 production vehicles with some kind of electrified propulsion by 2025, with five being standard hybrids, another five being plug-hybrids, and yet another five ditching internal combustion all together for full electric power. In addition, the company is planning to launch a single fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) in 2020.
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