The Kia Niro EV has been presented at the Busan motor show in Korea this week, accompanied by new details regarding additional variants and the driver-assistance technologies on offer.
It appears the Niro EV has a lot in common with the Hyundai Kona Electric, with Kia confirming the electric SUV's 150kW/395Nm electric motor which exclusively drives the front wheels – contrary to previous coverage suggesting it would feature the Ioniq Electric's lower-output 88kW/295Nm unit.
Kia claims the Niro EV will complete the 0-100km/h sprint in 7.8 seconds, or 0.4 seconds slower than the smaller Kona Electric, while being capable of driving "more than 380 kilometres" per charge from the high-spec variant's 64kWh battery.
Meanwhile, the smaller 39.2kWh version claims a driving range of up to 240km – by comparison, the Kona Electric claims 470km of range in long-range form, and 300km in standard guise.
Using 100kW fast-charging, the Kia Niro EV should charge to 80 per cent capacity in 54 minutes.
Design features include a closed version of the company's signature 'tiger nose' grille with integrated charging port, arrowhead-shaped LED daytime-running lights in the front bumper, 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels in diamond-cut two-tone finish, unique bumpers, and new LED tail-lights to distinguish the electric version from other Niro models.
For the first time, Kia has revealed the electric Niro's interior, complete with new features and design elements compared to the hybrid versions of the small crossover.
The light blue accents that feature externally continue through to the cabin, and the centre console has been revised to accommodate the new shift-by-wire rotary gear selector – a first for Kia.
A new 'mood lighting' system allows drivers to accent the cabin with six different colours, while new gloss-black and blue inserts line the doors, which the company says enhances "the futuristic atmosphere of the cabin".
The 7.0-inch infotainment system from hybrid versions carries over, though gets EV-specific functions like locating charging points and battery monitor. Meanwhile, the instrument cluster gets a new 7.0-inch display so drivers have driving and EV powertrain data right in front of them.
Kia has also fitted the Niro EV with all its latest driver assistance technologies, including AEB with forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control with 'intelligent' stop&go function, and Lane Following Assist – combining the adaptive cruise and lane assist functions allowing the vehicle to semi-autonomously drive at speeds between 0 and 130km/h.
The all-electric Niro will g on sale in its home market of Korea in the second half of 2018, and will be launched in other markets "in due course".
While Kia's local division has ruled out the introduction of plug-in hybrid models in favour of an all-electric onslaught from 2021, it is unable to offer any indication on whether we'll see the Niro EV in Australia anytime soon.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest updates.