PostHeaderIcon Kia Niro EV Concept

Launched for the 2017 model year, the Kia Niro is a subcompact crossover positioned below the popular Sportage. Previewed by a concept vehicle introduced in 2013, the Niro is built on the same platform as the Hyundai Ioniq, and it’s available with a 1.6-liter gasoline engine and electric motor combo, in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants. A gasoline-only version isn’t on a drawing table yet, but a fully electric model is definitely underway. Already spotted testing on public roads in 2017, the Niro EV is coming to the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in concept form.

Heavily based on the production model, the electric concept is more than just a Niro with an electric motor and a battery. Kia also meddled with the exterior design and created a new lighting system for the show car. Inside the cabin, we will see a “never-seen-before human-machine interface (HMI),” which could preview an upcoming infotainment system. Most details are still under wraps, so make sure you stay tuned for an update from the Consumer Electronics Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Niro EV concept.

Exterior

  • Redesigned headlamps
  • New daytine running lights
  • Revised taillights
  • New rear bumper with LED lights
  • New side skirts
  • New wheel design
  • “Motion graphic” lighting system

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“The concept comes with an "advanced new ‘motion graphic’ lighting system"”

Although the photos of the concept car are quite dark, we can spot a few essential details. For starters, it’s pretty obvious that the show car is a modified Niro. All the familiar features are there, including the headlamps and taillights, the “Tigernose” grille, and traditional crossover shape. But unlike the production model, the concept comes with an “advanced new ‘motion graphic’ lighting system.” Kia had nothing to say about it yet, but was careful enough to highlight it in the photos.

A quick glance at the headlamps reveals a new LED pattern with thin stripes around the lens and new detailing around the main bulb. The daytime running lights in the bumper are also new, now formed of a thin hockey stick-like element and a diagonal bar toward the bottom. The traditional grille was also replaced with what appears to be a display with LED dots. It’s unclear whether the graphics are customizable here but it could change depending on the drive mode selected.


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“The license place recess is much wider now and looks like a sporty diffuser”

Things become a lot more interesting around back, where Kia replaced the Niro’s usual taillights with slimmer units. On top of being thinner, which gives the crossover a more aggressive stance, they also feature a new LED pattern with thin stripes around the lens and vertical bars, similar to those seen up front. The red lights in the bumper also mimic the shape of the daytime running lights. The license place recess is much wider now and looks like a sporty diffuser. Inside, there’s “Niro EV” lettering in white LED lights.

The SUV’s profile appears to be the same, but I can see a new side skirt design, new wheels, and a slightly lowered ride height.

Kia says that the “motion graphic” lighting system previews the potential for such a technologies “for market introduction in coming years.” I’ll be honest here, I can’t wait to find out what this thing is all about.

Interior

  • Likely based on production model
  • Extra apps and features
  • new human-machine interface

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“The concept also features a "never-seen-before" human-machine interface (HMI)”

Kia had absolutely nothing to say about the concept car’s interior, but it’s safe to assume that it won’t stray too far from the production model’s layout. Sure, Kia may add a few new features, like a custom instrument cluster with information about the electric drivetrain and additional apps for the infotainment system, but the general cabin design should remain unchanged. It could showcase new visuals like a flashy two-tone upholstery, new contrast stitching, and new materials but don’t expect anything wild.

New technology is also on the table, but don’t get your hopes up for something revolutionary. With the Niro EV already under development and testing on public roads, the concept is probably an almost production-ready vehicle. Kia did say that the concept also features a never-seen-before human-machine interface but it remains to be seen if the Korean brand will introduce something entirely new. I’ve read way too much fancy PR talk lately so I’m tempted to believe it’s something we’ve already seen in other concept car but packaged in a different way.

Drivetrain

  • Electric motor from Hyundai Ioniq
  • 28-kWh battery
  • 155-mile range
  • 118 horsepower
  • 217 pound-feet of torque

2018 Kia Niro EV Concept - image 755519
“The Niro EV could use the same drivetrain as the Hyundai Ioniq”

Kia has yet to release drivetrain information on the Niro EV concept, but it did say that it features a “highly efficient battery-electric powertrain.” However, we already know that the Niro is based on the Hyundai Ioniq, which already has an electric version, so it’s safe to assume that the Niro EV could use the same drivetrain.

Introduced in 2017, the Ioniq Electric has a single electric motor that generates 118 horsepower and 217 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a single-speed reducer transmission that’s capable of pushing the car to a top speed of 102 mph. The juice is stored in a 28-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery that promises an estimated range of 155 miles. Charging the battery to 80 percent only takes 24 minutes using a 100-kW fast charger, and an integrated in-cable control box (ICCB) allows the vehicle to charge using a standard 120-volt wall socket. These specs should be similar for the production version of the Niro EV.

Of course, the concept car could have additional output and features, but we won’t know for sure until the vehicle breaks cover at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Conclusion


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The Niro EV may be just a concept car for now, but it’s pretty clear that it will become a production model soon. The vehicle was already spotted tested on public roads and it will most likely arrive by the end of 2018. With the Niro already available in hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants, the full electric version will round out the nameplate and give Kia a solid competitor for all markets.

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    • * Details still under wraps

References

Kia Niro


2019 Kia Niro EV - image 742858

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Kia Niro EV.


2017 Kia Niro - image 665038

Read our full review on the 2017 Kia Niro.


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Read more CES news.


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Read more Kia news.

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