Kia to join the EV market with Niro
Kia is poised to become the next major car company to join the electrification game with the launch of hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of a small SUV called Niro.
Kia Motors New Zealand has just announced that the model will go on sale here during the opening quarter of next year. No prices have been settled for the new vehicle.
The announcement result from a 10-month evaluation during which the Niro has done the rounds of selected consumers and motoring journalists in an effort to build a business case to allow the vehicle to be sold here.
The Korean-built Niro was primarily intended for the European market, and special dispensation was required from Kia to allow it to be imported to New Zealand for public sale. Kia claims the Niro is the first dedicated hybrid SUV produced anywhere in the world, built especially to run on the combined power of a petrol engine and an electric motor.
The hybrid version’s official combined fuel economy is 3.8 L/100km. This was put to the test in America when a Niro was driven across the USA, achieving 3.69 L/100km which was word record low fuel consumption for a hybrid car.
The plug-in hybrid version can do even better, thanks to its larger battery pack and bigger electric motor which allows it to travel distances under electric power alone. Factory figures for the Niro PHEV suggest 1.3 L/100km can be achieved on mixed use and regular charging of the battery.
‘‘The Niro Plug-in is not just a fuel-efficient vehicle, but it’s a great SUV as well and we are excited to be able to bring it to New Zealand and add it into our very popular SUV range,’’ says Kia Motors NZ general manager Todd McDonald.
The Niro hybrid is powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine in conjunction with an electric drive unit. With the lithium-ion battery located under the rear seat, it creates a flat cargo floor when the rear seats are folded.
The new Plug-in version of the Niro, which has only recently been released to international markets, has a larger battery pack and can travel up to 40 kilometres on battery power alone, without the assistance of its petrol engine.
The Kia Niro, soon to be launched in New Zealand in hybrid and plug-in hybrid forms.