Kia Niro EV Spied Winter Testing


No exhaust pipes, no ICE. This is the purely-electric Niro crossover.

Our spies were at the right place at the right time to capture two heavily camouflaged prototypes of the all-electric Kia Niro EV, set to debut before the year’s end. This time, the South Korean company’s test drivers were kind enough not to give us the one-finger salute like their colleagues did back in November last year.

The bad news is the vehicles are still testing with a lot of disguise, but a couple of signs tell us they are indeed electric Niro test cars. Just take a look at the aerodynamically-shaped wheels and the grille-less front end and you’ll easily recognize it’s an EV. Also, the prototypes lack exhaust pipes at the back.

Kia Niro EV

Interestingly, one of the two prototypes recently photographed probably had bad time testing in the heavy snow, as the plastic under engine cover seems to be half detached from its mounts. Adding the amount of snow between the front bumper and the cloth camouflage, the car might have had a minor accident.

Kia’s second all-electric crossover in addition to the Soul EV will adapt the electric hardware of its Hyundai Ioniq Electric cousin, which means it will get a 118-horsepower (88-kilowatt) synchronous electric motor. The Ioniq EV has an average range of 124 miles (200 kilometers) on a single charge, so we expect to see similar numbers for the zero-emissions Niro.

Kia Niro EV

The production Niro EV was previewed by a concept during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year. Naturally, the interactive lighting system that’s replacing the radiator grille will be replaced by a more traditional plastic cover in the transition to a mass-production vehicle, but the study gives a good idea of what the Niro EV will look like.

Kia Niro EV

The electric crossover is part of Kia’s major EV push, which includes no less than 16 purely-electric or electrified models by 2025.

Keep the conversation going in our InsideEVs Forum covering electric cars and green technology. Start a new thread about this article and make your point.

Categories: Kia, Spy Photos


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24 Comments on "Kia Niro EV Spied Winter Testing"

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Are they actually going to ship this thing to the United States?

On top of that, will they sell it outside California?

The Ioniq EV seems great but it doesn’t matter if the cars don’t exist.

Yes. Kia needs a BEV for compliance.

Probably in other larger ZEV rule markets. If they don’t have traveling credits they’d have to buy credits.

Considering that they are supposed to start the production at only ~20k units per year it’s not likely that many find their way to the US.

It is pretty much the same story as with the Ioniq, half to the domestic market and the other half to important EV markets.

As long as they’re very much production limited (due to the batteries, I presume), this makes sense. If they can sell so manyof the output locally, it makesmore sense economically since they save on shipping and import/warehousing costs.
Of course, they still should export a reasonable % of the cars, so the overseas markets, dealers & service network are familiar with them and then as soon as production ramps they can start serious exports.

Hyundai/Kia’s key EV market
1. Korea
2. Europe
3. Canada
4. California (bare minimum)
5. Other CARB States (New for this year, bare minimum)

Then why do they sell the Soul EV in Texas?

Last year Kia sold slightly over 2000 Soul EVs in the US.

It’s a compliance car. Guessing not many make it to Texas.

You’re starting to sound like me…

Until it’s available in Pennsylvania, it’s vaporware to me.

Does it have AWD?

“Kia’s second all-electric crossover in addition to the Soul EV will adapt the electric hardware of its Hyundai Ioniq Electric cousin, which means it will get a 118-horsepower (88-kilowatt) synchronous electric motor.”

Expected single motor, so apparently not AWD.

AWD was the only aspect that could have qualified this hatch-back car as a CUV.

The vast majority of CUV models don’t have AWD even as on option. That’s the basic different between SUV and CUV: SUV is a truck-type chassis capable of offroad use, meaning both AWD and ride height.
CUV is for poseurs, simply a car with a body that looks like a downscaled SUV, but without the capabilities.

It’s a 150kW motor not 88kW.

Huh? No, it isn’t. Both Wikipedia & Hyundai say 88kW / 120 HP

150kW would be 204 HP… Even the Hyundai Veloster Turbo doesn’t have that powerful an engine.

The Niro EV will use the same motor has the Kona EV. 150kW. The article is wrong.

Effectively it’s the Bolt EV motor. If that remains the case then this vehicle will be a formidable offering.

No other Niro has AWD, including the PHEV which could have been designed as a through-the-road hybrid.

It’d be surprising if Kia shipped an AWD BEV.

KiraÉ…. You mean Kia, rightÉ

What is the expected range?

Online are references to 238 mile range. That would be interesting. 124 not interesting.


The Kia Niro EV concept shown at CES has a 64 kWh battery, and speculation is that the Ioniq and Niro will be available this year with both 39 and 64 kWh battery options.

We’ll see what they actually do.

It looks like it has a nicely sized tire profile for winter driving. Not to wide, like many modern cars.

M3 - reserved -- Niro/Leaf 2.0/Outlander - TBD

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of energy efficiency, and therefore real range, they manage to get on the production car, whatever the actual motor is (same as Ioniq, or same as the concept); The Niro doesn’t look anywhere as aerodynamic as the Ioniq.

Ditto for the Hyundai Kona, of course.

I also just saw reports from back in Nov. that Hyundai/Kia are planning a total production of 50K for both models together for 2018. I hope they can extend that mid-year if sales warrant it, which they likely can.

And hopefully, they’ll also launch a larger-battery version of the Ioniq whenever they launch the larger-battery version of the crossovers; that’s bound to be an immensely popular car, particularly in Europe where the hatchback/liftback form factor is still #1 .

Doesn’t appear to have a moonroof. The Hybrid version has one, but Kia left it out of the PHEV version. I don’t get it, why leave that out of the PHEV and the BEV versions?