The new best-selling EV in Korea appears to be a solid option for green car seekers.
The Kia Niro EV launched about a month ago in Korea and 976 copies were moved there in August. The new, small CUV has surpassed Hyundai's IONIQ in Korean sales for the month. Both vehicles are highly efficient, and Kia believes this is the primary selling point. But, the Niro EV offers more practicality than Hyundai's electric hatch.
Reporters for Korea Times recently completed a 100 km testing trip in the Niro EV and were happy to share its merits. Overall, it's a good choice for families despite its small footprint. The car offers adult-friendly rear seats and respectable cargo volume. In addition, it comes standard with a long list of advanced safety technologies, including smart cruise control, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, and forward collision avoidance. It also comes at a very reasonable price.
The Niro EV finds its power from a 64-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. According to Korea Times, it's rated at some 385 km per charge. It can be charged to 80-percent capacity in just under an hour via a 100 kW fast charger. In terms of efficiency, Kia says it travels 5.3 km/kWh. During this recent test drive, the reporters averaged 5.4 km/kWh over 100 km.
While the Niro EV isn't a racer, its 206.5 horsepower rating and light weight mean it accelerates fine for most daily driving and is adequate on the freeway. The test driver recorded a 7.8-second zero-to-100 km acceleration time and also reported that the car is agile and corners well. Regenerative braking can be dialed up and down using steering-wheel-mounted paddles, which offer four different levels of regen.
Inside, the Niro EV boasts a well-laid out cockpit and user-friendly technology. While the cabin materials were said to be high-quality, surfaces are a mix of soft-touch and hard plastics, which is typical of many vehicles in the class.
Kia and Hyundai have started on the fast track to a wide palette of upcoming electric vehicle development and production. While it seems the automakers won't be producing the cars in high volume at first, steps are surely being taken in the right direction. Kia Motors Executive Vice President Kwon Hyug-ho shared:
By 2025, Kia Motors will release five hybrid cars, five plug-in hybrid EVs, five EVs and one fuel-cell EV to consolidate its status in the eco-friendly car market.
According to Kia, 8,500 orders have already been placed for the Niro EV. The automaker has confirmed that it will be coming to the U.S. soon. However, no official timeframe has been revealed.