Electric SUV claims 383km range
The Kia Niro EV concept has been unveiled this week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, likely previewing an upcoming production model.
After being previewed with a set of shadowy teaser images last week, the Niro EV concept doesn't really offer too many surprises, looking like a dark and pumped-up version of the production Niro hybrid SUV (below).
Above: the existing Niro SUV, revealed last year
Key differences between this concept and the current production model include unique front and rear treatments, along with slimmer and more aggressive lighting at both ends.
Pitched as the company's "next step" on its "ongoing journey to electrification", the Niro EV concept features a 64kWh lithium-polymer battery pack hooked up to a 150kW electric motor.
Performance figures are yet to be quoted, though Kia does claim that the all-electric crossover has a driving range of up to 238 miles (383km) on a single charge.
Top: Niro EV concept, Bottom: Kia Niro PHEV
Inside, Kia says the dashboard features a wraparound design with a horizontal layout for the main controls and switchgear, which it claims gives an "innate sense of space and calm".
As pedestrians may not hear the Niro EV coming, the concept car is also fitted with a new Active Pedestrian Warning System (APWS), which can sound an external alert if the vehicle senses an imminent collision.
The technology relies on front cameras, object-recognition software and a set of forward-facing speakers.
Kia has committed to offering no less than 16 electrified models by 2025, including a new fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) in 2020.
Vice chairman, Woong-chul Yang said the 16 upcoming models will include "five new hybrids and plug-in hybrids" and "five new battery EVs", along with the aforementioned fuel-cell model.
The Korean manufacturer also announced it will commence 'Smart City' autonomous vehicle testing in 2021 to commercialise Level 4 driverless technology, and it will adopt connected car technologies in every vehicle segment by 2025 - before making every single model a connected vehicle by 2030.
Finally, Kia also announced its plans to launch the 'WiBLE' car-sharing services to new markets from later this year.
WiBLE was introduced in Korea last year, with select European markets earmarked for late-2018, and other nations to join in the coming years.
Similar in concept to Holden's Maven service, WiBLE gives users access to a range of Kia models via a smartphone app and charged based on the amount of time the vehicle is used.
The European implementation will allow customers to make one-way trips, too, rather than return the vehicle to its original location.