Kia has unveiled the Niro EV Concept at CES in Las Vegas, with the compact crossover previewing the upcoming production version’s styling and showcasing future technology.
The production version of the concept will likely featuring the same powertrain as sister firm Hyundai’s Ioniq EV. The Niro EV features reworked bodywork from current production versions of the Niro, and the radiator grille (not required for an EV) has been replaced with an interactive display panel, while the bodywork has been refined to boost aerodynamic efficiency.
Kia has fitted the machine with a 204hp electric powertrain and power comes from a 64kWh lithium-polymer battery park, giving a claimed driving range of 383km. Woong Chul Yang, Kia's vice-chairman in charge of research and development, said the production machine would likely be offered with a choice of two battery sizes – the 64kWh and a smaller, likely 32kWh, unit.
While the styling of the Niro EV Concept will be closely related to the production version, other features have been included to showcase more general advanced technology Kia is developing for the future.
The Concept is fitted with an Active Pedestrian Warning System, which detects pedestrians or cyclists crossing in front of the car and sends them a warning alert. Inside, the Niro EV Concept features a new Human Machine Interface (HMI), with the infotainment and heating systems controlled by swiping on perforated leather area on the bottom of the steering wheel.
Drivers can ‘log in’ with the HMI using facial and voice recognition systems, enabling personalised settings – with the car able to disable key functions if it does not identify the driver.
The car also features a sound separation control system, which uses eight headrest-mounted speaker and noise cancelling tech to allow front and rear passengers to listen to different music at the same time. Kia has also fitted the machine with what it says is a world-first ultra-fast 5G mobile connection. This is being demonstrated with a cockpit display on Kia’s stand at CES with a 5G data link to the firm’s base in Seoul, Korea.
Kia aims to introduce autonomous cars by 2021
Kia has outlined plans to begin testing level four autonomous vehicles in smart cities in 2021, along with offering 16 electrified cars by 2025, as part of a new future strategy. These smart cities will have the infrastructure needed to support such machines.
The Korean firm’s new ACE strategy, unveiled at the CES technology event in Las Vegas, USA, is built around three pillars: Autonomous, Connected and Eco/Electric.
Under the Connected pillar, Kia will offer connected technology in every market segment by 2025, with every single model featuring such systems by 2030.
The Eco/Electric plans include a pledge to offer 16 new advanced powertrain vehicles by 2025, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, EVs and a new fuel-cell electric vehicle, due to go on sale in 2020. That range will include the Niro EV due to go on sale in international markets later this year.