Long-distance EV competition is heating up as Kia announces its Niro EV at the Busan Motor Show in Korea. With a range of 236 miles from its 64 kilowatt-hour battery, the Niro EV joins the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Tesla Model 3 in the over 200-mile club.
Designed from the start to accommodate a variety of powertrains, the Niro EV is the third entry in Kia’s Niro family, a lineup of wagons launched in 2017 with the Niro hybrid, followed by the Niro plug-in hybrid in 2018.
The Niro EV is powered by an electric motor rated at 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque driving the front wheels. Those not requiring long range will also be able to choose a smaller 39.2 kWh battery-equipped Niro, capable of traveling up to 149 miles on a single charge.
Visually, the Niro EV is differentiated from its traditional hybrid counterpart through the use of light blue trim at the front and back, while the familiar-shaped grille up front gains an integrated charging port.
The Niro EV features more light blue trim throughout the interior and a simplified rotary shift knob, while the 7-inch infotainment system gains EV-specific settings and information. Cargo space drops from 19.4 to 15.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded up.
On the safety front, the Niro EV can be optioned with a suite of active safety systems, including forward collision mitigation, automatic cruise control, and lane assist. The Niro EV also offers Level Two autonomous driving technology, meaning that it can control acceleration, braking, and steering depending on the conditions.
The Niro EV will hit dealer showrooms in Korea later this year, with global sales to follow. Pricing has yet to be announced, but expect the Niro EV to slot in above the Niro plug-in hybrid, which currently starts at $28,840.