It’s bigger than the Hyundai Kona Electric, so the range is lower.
The 2019 Kia Niro EV is not new to us, as we’ve covered it extensively over the past year or so. However, with its U.S. debut at the LA Motor Show, we learn a couple of fresh details.
Most notably, the 64-kWh battery in the Niro EV provides the electric crossover with a range of 239 miles EPA. That’s actually quite a bit lower than expected and we’re not entirely sure why. For comparative purposes, the Hyundai Kona Electric, with the same battery pack, has an EPA rating of 258 miles.
Yes, the Niro EV is larger, but not so much so that it should lose ~20 miles of range compared to the Kona. We’ll dig deeper into this discrepancy soon.
***UPDATE: It seems as though Kia has removed this 239-mile reference from its press materials. We expect the actual rating to be higher.
But for now, let’s focus on the other juicy bit of just-released Niro EV news. Kia says it will go on sales in the U.S. in “early next year.” That’s right around the corner, but unfortunately, no pricing information is available at this time.
Lastly, all upcoming Hyundai / Kia plug-ins are switching over from CHAdeMO to CCS, so CCS is the fast-charge standard on both the Niro EV and the just-unveiled Kia Soul EV.
Onto the bad news. Like all Hyundai / Kia plug-in offerings, expect limited availability in select states only in the U.S.
2019 Niro EV
Full press blast below:
ALL-NEW 2019 KIA NIRO EV CROSSOVER UTILITY MAKES NORTH AMERICAN DEBUT
New EV Delivers a Fantastic New Package
State-of-the-art 64 kWh battery and 201-horsepower electric motor
Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast-charge is standard equipment: approximately 100 miles in 30 minutes or 80 percent battery capacity in 75 minutes1
Multi-functional crossover format provides a vehicle for every lifestyle
LOS ANGELES, November 28, 2018 – The new Niro EV opens a world of new possibilities for consumers who love crossover characteristics but also want all the benefits electric vehicles have to offer. Not only can they have all the functionality of a traditional crossover, but they can have it while happily driving past filling stations.
Powertrain and Battery
Energy and power for Niro EV comes from a state-of-the-art, liquid-cooled 64kWh lithium ion polymer battery that is packaged under the floor of the vehicle to allow for minimal passenger space intrusion. Fast charging2 rates are brief, so even extended road trips can continue after only short charging intervals. Some specifications and features of the Niro EV battery and powertrain include:
201-horsepower electric motor with 291 lb.-ft. of torque
Charging protocol changed to CCS and battery can now charge at 100kW
Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast-charge is standard equipment – approximately 100-mile recharge in 30 minutes or 80 percent total battery capacity in 75 minutes
Level 2 (240v) at 7.2 kWh charger needs approximately 9.5 hours for a full charge
The Driving Experience — A Blast on the Road and Flexible, Too
With 291 lb.-ft. of torque, the Niro EV’s powerful electric motor offers plenty of pull and, well, electrifying get-up-and-go. Add to that a low center of gravity due to the floor-mounted battery pack and a 106.3 inch-long wheelbase, the Niro EV delivers a vehicle that’s entertaining to drive, stable and feels planted and substantial on the road. Of course, driving style affects the amount of energy expended, and the Niro EV is equipped with a variety of tools that put lots of useful energy management control in the driver’s hands, including:
Four drive modes – Eco, Normal, Sport and Eco+ – that automatically adjust regenerative braking level, air conditioning and heating settings, and even set speed limits to help manage operating efficiency3
Smart regenerative braking operated via paddle shifters provides drivers the ability to slow the car and capture kinetic energy, returning energy to the battery and adding extra range. Drivers can choose from four regen braking levels (0 to 3) depending on how aggressive drivers want the regen effort and energy efficiency (range) needs. Brake and Hold System feature allows regen paddle shifter to bring the car to a full stop, adding energy to the battery that would be lost using normal braking4
Smart Regen System adjusts the regenerative braking level based on a vehicle being detected in front of the Niro EV and can create smoother coast-down driving, especially when descending a steep road5
Smart Eco Pedal Guide display on the instrument cluster that helps to keep the driver aware of real-time power distribution based on accelerator pedal input
NIRO EV HIGHLIGHT – WHAT IS THAT SOUND?
Part of the great fun of EV ownership is the futuristic aspect of the vehicle you’re driving. The Niro EV is not only a blast because of its powerful and torquey motor, but it also makes a fantastic techy whirring noise when moving that evokes speedy sci-fi craft. One early tester confessed to driving the car in parking garages with the windows down just for the pleasure of hearing the motor. The sound, though, is actually produced by the Pedestrian Warning System, a speaker and controller assembly mounted behind the front bumper. Without it, the Niro EV would be silent, possibly very cool, but which some consider a potential hazard to pedestrians. So, the car makes its fantastic futuristic whir so everyone knows it’s coming. While we apologize to those who wanted to believe they really were piloting an earth-bound spaceship, they can take comfort in the knowledge that the Niro EV is still a very sophisticated machine.
Design – A Unique Expression of a Successful Style
When Kia designed and created the Niro, it was engineered to accommodate many different advanced electrified powertrains. First to arrive in 2016 was the hybrid, then in 2017 the Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), and now a fully-electric powertrain. This battery-electric Niro EV is right on trend as consumers shift more and more to electric vehicles while looking for the attributes of crossovers, such as the higher seating position for easy ingress/egress and better visibility, and the utility and function for varied lifestyles (18.5 cu.-ft. of cargo space and 53 cu.-ft. with the backseat folded). In order to provide the Niro EV its own character, it has several unique exterior and interior design cues, including:
Unique front fascia with closed off grille – no need for an open grille, since there’s no internal combustion engine to cool
“Arrowhead” LED Daytime Running Lights
New lower air intake with EcoDynamics blue surround accent
Specially-designed 17-inch alloy wheels engineered to help reduce drag and improve efficiency
Reshaped rocker panels
Revised front and rear bumper fascias with blue trim accents – unique to the Niro EV
High-tech rotary shifter dial (shift-by-wire) with available customizable “mood” lighting
Large, multi-functional center console with many storage options, cup holders, storage compartments and 3 USB ports – 2 charging and one connectivity
Niro EV-only seat upholstery with blue highlights
Available special blue and black high-tech “holographic” graphic door trim
Technology — Equipment-Rich, Advanced Connectivity, Safety Features, and Driver Assistance Systems
The Niro EV is loaded with high-tech, advanced automotive technology to complement its status as a state-of-the-art, all-electric vehicle. Equipment includes the “Kia Drive Wise” suite of Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems, and a long list of standard and optional equipment, highlights of which are listed below.
7-inch color touchscreen6 with rear view monitor7 and parking guidance
6-speaker audio system (AM/FM/SiriusXM8) with USB input
Apple CarPlay9 and Android Auto10
Standard wireless smart phone charging11
Bluetooth wireless connectivity12 with voice recognition
7 airbags13 (dual front advanced air bags, dual front seat-mounted side air bags, side curtain air bags with rollover sensor, driver’s side knee air bag)
Vehicle Safety Systems14
Electronic stability control
Hill-start assist control
Tire pressure monitoring system
“Kia Drive Wise” Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS)15
Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA)
Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
Blind Spot Collision Warning (BSW)
Driver Attention Warning (DAW)16
Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go
Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning
Parking Distance Warning – Forward and Reverse (available)
New for Niro EV is a revamped UVO17 telematics system that allows owners to monitor and control a long list of vehicle operations, including:
Notifications of battery and charging status
Real-time charging station update
Panic notifications – the vehicle will send a notification to the server if the panic alarm is triggered and the system dials 911 emergency services, provides the car position via GPS, and opens a live microphone so that emergency workers can communicate with the vehicle occupants
“Send-to-Car” points of interest (POI) and waypoints — owners will be able to plan a road trip with waypoints and send it to the vehicle’s navigation system
Pre-condition the vehicle cabin temperature prior to use18
NIRO EV HIGHLIGHT – BATTERY COMPOSITION
Kia Motors Corporation sources EV, HEV, and PHEV batteries from multiple global suppliers. The battery specifications and exact cell chemistry varies for each application, which can impact materials and sourcing. Globally, battery manufacturers, including Kia suppliers LG Chem and SK innovation, source battery elements, including cobalt, from a variety of regions. These battery manufacturers regularly review mineral sourcing, and re-source to new areas to manage stability, cost, logistics, and other factors, ultimately looking at other ways to source cobalt and to reduce usage. Battery engineers are striving to progressively reduce the cobalt required, and are succeeding.
Made in Korea, Coming to America
The new Niro EV will be built in South Korea at Kia’s Hwaseong manufacturing facility, right alongside the Niro hybrid and plug-in hybrid. When it goes on sale early next year (pricing will be announced near the on-sale date), the Niro EV will be available in two trims, EX and EX Premium, which adds a host of upscale features to the already well-equipped EX. Premium EX features include:
8-inch color navigation19 touchscreen
Power tilt/slide sunroof
8-speaker Harman/Kardon20 premium audio system with external amplifier and subwoofer
Auto-dimming mirror with Homelink21
Heated steering wheel
LED interior lighting
Parking distance warning – forward and reverse22
Deluxe scuff plate
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