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Kia’s new Niro EV could reach Australia as early as 2019

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Korean car maker Kai has unveiled its latest all-electric vehicle, the Niro EV, in a sneak peek at the International Electric Vehicle Expo in Jeju, a day ahead of the 2018 Busan International Motor Show.

Adding to their all electric and hybrid line up, the new model joins the company’s Soul EV which was Kia’s first entry into the electric vehicle market back in 2014.

“The Niro EV will be Kia’s second globally sold electric vehicle, following the immensely popular Soul EV,” said Kia CEO Han-Woo Par in a statement

The Niro EV, also a CUV (crossover utility vehicle), is an improvement on the Soul EV in terms of range – 380km compared to the Soul’s 178km.

With range anxiety cited as a major reason for hesitant adoption of EVs in Australia, the Niro’s range would be a welcome addition to our limited EV market.

While there are no concrete dates for the model’s introduction in Australia, the company has previously put it on record that they would not be bringing any of their hybrid models to Australia – instead, they will jump straight to EV.

“Kia Motors Australia will not have any hybrid models in our Australian range but rather step straight to full EV technology as soon as it is available to us and that could be as early as 2019,” Chief Operating Officer, Damien Meredith told Renew Economy in an emailed statement.

The California-designed Niro EV has many features associated with crossover SUVs, like generous space, while taking ‘Clean and High-tech’ notes from the model’s concept prototype which was earlier this year at CES2018 in Las Vegas.

This could resonate well with the Australian market, where models like Mazda’s CX-5 dominate SUV sales.

“It demonstrates the progress Kia has made in delivering comfortable, practical and fun-to-drive vehicles that lead the way in zero-emissions driving,” said Han-Woo Par.

Its long-distance range has been achieved using new production technologies that Kia say they will employ for all their EV models.

Along with a ‘next-generation electric vehicle powertrain’, it packs a 64kWh lithium-polymer battery that the company says will take 54 minutes to charge to 80% capacity.

Buyers will also have the option to order the Niro EV with a smaller battery system of 39.2 kWh, which would deliver a range of up to 240 kilometres.

The Niro EV is due to make its global debut this September at the Paris Motor Show, and will go on sale in Korea in the second half of 2018.  

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  • George Darroch

    Australia is a rich country with large numbers of consumers who would love to buy a reasonably-priced (non-luxury) EV. We’re neglected by manufacturers and 2019 is still another year away.

    • Connor

      Bring on the Hyundai Ioniq I say.

      • George Darroch

        If we see the Ioniq in any kind of numbers before Christmas I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

        • Connor

          Yeah definitely. I spoke with a dealer in Perth and they said they expect it to go on sale in the first week of August (for the PHEV model anyway). I’m so excited and eagerly waiting for more news

          • David Waterworth

            I spoke with a dealer in Brisbane and he said he would refuse to stock it.

          • Nick Kemp

            I suggest you get a recording of him saying it then popping around in (say) two years to show it to him.

    • solarguy

      Six months away George.

  • Malcolm Scott

    The questions that needs answered is not when the model becomes available in Australia, but will it be forward priced to drive volume sales and will there be delivery volume behind that pricing. And then there are the dealerships that fly in the face of this transition to affordable zero emissions transport. How will Kia shake this business model to drive greater efficiency?

    The Ioniq is available in many markets but volume is very low in most. Sometimes it seems like compliance and ‘me too’ status behind these market positions

  • krzystofer

    Pricing is one big factor, most Australians would love to drive a Tesla/Lexus/BMW EV or PHEV but they are nowhere near affordable.
    Another factor is car dealers that are notorious for downselling to /protecting the ICE vehicle market, even in Scandinavia it’s shown to be a serious problem.
    I also wonder with the currently unstable price of energy, esp.electricity, is there a possible future where these electric cars cost more to power than a petrol driven car (for those without a large solar array of their own) ?

    • Charles

      “is there a possible future where these electric cars cost more to power than a petrol driven car” No, the electricity to run a car is about 25-35% the cost of the equivalent petrol car. With petrol the price increases at an alarming rate, because we are held to whatever the international oil cartels want to charge. With electricity there are multiple generators and retailers – there is no-one to force scarcity for their own profit as you can generate it literally anywhere. Electricity will never get that expensive, and if it does it just makes solar much more cost effective. Even if you can’t do it on the roof of your own house, it doesn’t stop local businesses, councils and community groups from doing it.

  • MaxG

    The question will be more like: do dealers want to sell the EV?
    It is less likely the consumer, but more the dealers who clearly throw a spanner in the works; like this excellent research evidenced: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-018-0152-x?WT.feed_name=subjects_energy-and-behaviour
    I found this link a worthwhile read, as its finding can be applied across the board of all goods, even politics and general organisational behaviour.

  • Les Johnston

    Will be interesting to see what new Regulations are imposed on EV imports to restrict sales under the Liberal National Party Government. The rhetoric on reducing red tape will be put to one side.

    • George Darroch

      Let’s hope not. More important at this stage is getting through the skulls of the decision makers in the Labor Party that electric vehicles are both necessary and popular. (They’ll run a hundred miles if they think there will be a bad headline.)

  • Hanna

    There’s a typo: Korean car maker “Kai”