Such a car would really strengthen Kia’s alternative fuel portfolio

Kia recently opened a new flagship dealership in London and at the grand opening, Chief Operating Officer – Tae-Hyun Oh – spoke on the Niro and the possibility of its electric future. Since the Niro’s debut in Europe and the U.S. in August of this year, Kia has taken more than 1.000 orders for it, which in itself could be enough to convince the brand to go all electric. During an interview on the scene with Car Dealer Magazine, Oh said, “We have just launched Niro in Europe and the United States, but also we always need to meet [increased] local emission regulations. So, in this sense, we are looking at a feasibility study to develop a Niro which is electric.”

Kia’s sister company, Hyundai, already has the Hyundai Ioniq that will launch as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and an EV. So, Kia doesn’t have to spend too much in research and development to make an all-electric Niro happen. Oh went on to discuss that Kia is looking to avoid sticking to one kind of tech and expand its reach considerably. With a hybrid, and a plug-in hybrid already under the companies belt to go with the Soul EV, Kia has most bases covered, but Oh admitted that the brand is prepared to create a hydrogen-powered vehicle as well, saying, “In the coming years we are prepared to launch a fuel cell. In this sense, I think we are at a good stage to cover everything in the sector.”

It’s pretty clear that Kia has the ambition to really up its alternative-fuel game, but it’s still got some work to do to compete with the big players. But, that work is already underway as it has been said that the Soul will be taking a major update for 2018 that will significantly improve its all-electric range. The current model pulls about 93 miles on a full charge, but Kia is looking to compete with longer-range models like the Chevy Bolt and the Tesla Model 3. The all-electric Ioniq from Hyundai will hit U.S. dealers by the end of the year with a 28 kWh battery and a range of 110 miles.

Why it Matters

With vehicle electrification becoming a big deal these days, it’s important that brands like Kia really step up their game on the EV front. Bring an all-electric Niro to market – especially one that can pull 200 or 300 miles on a single charge – will really fill out the brand’s portfolio of available models. Even though the Ioniq will only sport a range of about 110 miles, it’s likely that both Hyundai and Kia will provide much more range by the time that 2018 rolls around.

Even if Kia rushes the issue, however, and brings a Niro EV to market quickly with just 110 miles worth of battery-powered range, it will still compete well with most of the competitors out there. Cars like the Fiat 500e only offers up 87 miles of range and the Volkswagen e-Golf only offers up 83 miles of range. Then, you’ve got the Bolt that comes correct with 238 miles, which is likely the target that Kia will shoot for come 2018 with the Soul EV (currently getting 93 miles per charge) and hopefully a Niro EV.

Read our full review on the 2017 Kia Niro here.

Source: Car Dealer Magazine

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