• Kia Showcases New Safety and Tech Features In the Niro EV

That sound the Niro EV emits is there for a reason

Kia used the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show as an opportunity to finally introduce the Kia Niro EV. As the almost identical sibling of Europe’s Kia e-Niro, the Niro EV showcases a handful of new technologies that could serve as precursors for Kia’s plans for its own electric future. It’s easy to get lost in the crossover’s aesthetics and appreciate, for example, the “Arrowhead” LED daytime running lights, the closed-off grille, the multifunctional center console, or even the blue mood lighting. But just as those things define the Niro EV, so, too, do the list of safety and tech features that could one day end up in other Kia models - one of the most important being Kia’s updated UVO system that can now send notifications of battery and charging status, as well charging station updates in real-time.

The 2020 Kia Niro EV

Kia’s charge into the electrification space isn’t slowing down one bit. The Korean automaker already offers an EV version of the Soul — the new model also made its debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show — and now, the Niro EV is finally within reach.

The Niro EV sets the tone for Kia’s electrification plans.

Push its aesthetics aside for a second and focus on what makes the Niro EV such an important model for Kia. It’s not because the crossover is fresh off the factory. It’s certainly not because the Niro EV is packing power above its weight class. It’s important because of all the technological features that it carries with it. These features could set the tone for more advanced and sophisticated EV models in the future.

Kia Showcases New Safety and Tech Features In the Niro EV Exterior
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One of the most noteworthy tech pieces included in the Niro EV is a revamped version of Kia’s UVO telematics system, the subscription-free infotainment and telematics service that Kia offers on some of its vehicles here in the U.S. Ok, so the system itself isn’t new. But it is described as “revamped” for a reason.

Specific to the Niro EV, Kia’s UVO system can now send notifications of battery and charging status and real-time charging station updates.

It now comes with panic notifications, too, which should come in handy when the driver or the passengers are in distress. Imagine the stress of having to worry about calling emergency services when you end up in an accident. With the panic notifications, you don’t need to that anymore. Kia’s UVO system will take that ball, dial 911, provide the Niro EV’s GPS location, and open a live microphone so that emergency responders can communicate with you. It’s not just a cool new wrinkle to Kia’s UVO system, it’s an important, and potentially life-saving one.

Kia Showcases New Safety and Tech Features In the Niro EV Exterior
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As you might expect, the Niro EV isn’t lacking in driver-assistance systems, either. It’s equipped with a suite of features housed under “Kia Drive Wise.” We’re familiar with some of these features — Forward Collision Warning , Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, and Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go — because a host of other Kia models are equipped with them. They’re important because they’re part of the Niro EV’s technological canvas, which you can take full advantage of when you make a spurge on this bad boy.

You know what else is cool about the Kia Niro EV? It’s not completely quiet the way some other electric cars are.

Instead, it’s equipped with what Kia calls a Pedestrian Warning System that’s made up of a speaker and a controller assembly, tucked behind the front bumper.

You’ll never see it, but you’ll know it’s there because it emits a whirring noise that’s there in the first place specifically for safety reasons. I get the novelty of an electric car that’s completely silent, but the whirring noise is an important addition, too, largely because it’s part of guidelines enacted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that says that by 2020, all electric cars are required to create a minimum amount of sound at low speeds for the specific purpose of alerting pedestrians and cyclists of their presence. Kia’s getting ahead of that game with its Pedestrian Warning System.

Kia Showcases New Safety and Tech Features In the Niro EV Exterior
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What do you see when you look at the Kia Niro EV? The crossover has a good design, doesn’t it? I especially like the closed-off grille. It’s a nice touch and a good break away from traditional grille design. I like those new Arrowhead LEDs, too. They’re functional, sure, but they also inject a bit of personality into the crossover. But as much as we alike how the Niro EV looks, the really important features the crossover has are those that we don’t see.

Further reading

2017 Kia Niro High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2017 Kia Niro.

Kia unveils electric Niro EV
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Read our full review on the 2019 Kia Niro EV.

2018 Kia Niro EV Concept Exterior
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2018 Kia Niro EV Concept

Read our full review on the 2018 Kia Niro EV Concept.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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LOS ANGELES, November 28, 2018 – The new Niro EV opens a world of new possibilities for consumers who love crossover characteristics but also want all the benefits electric vehicles have to offer. Not only can they have all the functionality of a traditional crossover, but they can have it while happily driving past filling stations.

Powertrain and Battery
Energy and power for Niro EV comes from a state-of-the-art, liquid-cooled 64kWh lithium ion polymer battery that is packaged under the floor of the vehicle to allow for minimal passenger space intrusion. Fast charging2 rates are brief, so even extended road trips can continue after only short charging intervals. Some specifications and features of the Niro EV battery and powertrain include:

201-horsepower electric motor with 291 lb.-ft. of torque
Charging protocol changed to CCS and battery can now charge at 100kW
Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast-charge is standard equipment – approximately 100-mile recharge in 30 minutes or 80 percent total battery capacity in 75 minutes
Level 2 (240v) at 7.2 kWh charger needs approximately 9.5 hours for a full charge

The Driving Experience — A Blast on the Road and Flexible, Too
With 291 lb.-ft. of torque, the Niro EV’s powerful electric motor offers plenty of pull and, well, electrifying get-up-and-go. Add to that a low center of gravity due to the floor-mounted battery pack and a 106.3 inch-long wheelbase, the Niro EV delivers a vehicle that’s entertaining to drive, stable and feels planted and substantial on the road. Of course, driving style affects the amount of energy expended, and the Niro EV is equipped with a variety of tools that put lots of useful energy management control in the driver’s hands, including:

Four drive modes – Eco, Normal, Sport and Eco+ – that automatically adjust regenerative braking level, air conditioning and heating settings, and even set speed limits to help manage operating efficiency3
Smart regenerative braking operated via paddle shifters provides drivers the ability to slow the car and capture kinetic energy, returning energy to the battery and adding extra range. Drivers can choose from four regen braking levels (0 to 3) depending on how aggressive drivers want the regen effort and energy efficiency (range) needs
Brake and Hold System feature allows regen paddle shifter to bring the car to a full stop, adding energy to the battery that would be lost using normal braking4
Smart Regen System adjusts the regenerative braking level based on a vehicle being detected in front of the Niro EV and can create smoother coast-down driving, especially when descending a steep road5
Smart Eco Pedal Guide display on the instrument cluster that helps to keep the driver aware of real-time power distribution based on accelerator pedal input


Part of the great fun of EV ownership is the futuristic aspect of the vehicle you’re driving. The Niro EV is not only a blast because of its powerful and torquey motor, but it also makes a fantastic techy whirring noise when moving that evokes speedy sci-fi craft. One early tester confessed to driving the car in parking garages with the windows down just for the pleasure of hearing the motor. The sound, though, is actually produced by the Pedestrian Warning System, a speaker and controller assembly mounted behind the front bumper. Without it, the Niro EV would be silent, possibly very cool, but which some consider a potential hazard to pedestrians. So, the car makes its fantastic futuristic whir so everyone knows it’s coming. While we apologize to those who wanted to believe they really were piloting an earth-bound spaceship, they can take comfort in the knowledge that the Niro EV is still a very sophisticated machine.

Design – A Unique Expression of a Successful Style
When Kia designed and created the Niro, it was engineered to accommodate many different advanced electrified powertrains. First to arrive in 2016 was the hybrid, then in 2017 the Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), and now a fully-electric powertrain. This battery-electric Niro EV is right on trend as consumers shift more and more to electric vehicles while looking for the attributes of crossovers, such as the higher seating position for easy ingress/egress and better visibility, and the utility and function for varied lifestyles (18.5 cu.-ft. of cargo space and 53 cu.-ft. with the backseat folded). In order to provide the Niro EV its own character, it has several unique exterior and interior design cues, including:


Unique front fascia with closed off grille – no need for an open grille, since there’s no internal combustion engine to cool
“Arrowhead” LED Daytime Running Lights
New lower air intake with EcoDynamics blue surround accent
Specially-designed 17-inch alloy wheels engineered to help reduce drag and improve efficiency
Reshaped rocker panels
Revised front and rear bumper fascias with blue trim accents – unique to the Niro EV


High-tech rotary shifter dial (shift-by-wire) with available customizable “mood” lighting
Large, multi-functional center console with many storage options, cup holders, storage compartments and 3 USB ports – 2 charging and one connectivity
Niro EV-only seat upholstery with blue highlights
Available special blue and black high-tech “holographic” graphic door trim

Technology — Equipment-Rich, Advanced Connectivity, Safety Features, and Driver Assistance Systems
The Niro EV is loaded with high-tech, advanced automotive technology to complement its status as a state-of-the-art, all-electric vehicle. Equipment includes the “Kia Drive Wise” suite of Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems, and a long list of standard and optional equipment, highlights of which are listed below.

7-inch color touchscreen6 with rear view monitor7 and parking guidance
6-speaker audio system (AM/FM/SiriusXM8) with USB input
Apple CarPlay9 and Android Auto10
Standard wireless smart phone charging11
Bluetooth wireless connectivity12 with voice recognition
7 airbags13 (dual front advanced air bags, dual front seat-mounted side air bags, side curtain air bags with rollover sensor, driver’s side knee air bag)
Vehicle Safety Systems14
Antilock braking
Traction control
Electronic stability control
Hill-start assist control
Tire pressure monitoring system
“Kia Drive Wise” Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS)15
Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA)
Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
Blind Spot Collision Warning (BSW)
Driver Attention Warning (DAW)16
Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go
Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning
Parking Distance Warning - Forward and Reverse (available)
New for Niro EV is a revamped UVO17 telematics system that allows owners to monitor and control a long list of vehicle operations, including:

Notifications of battery and charging status
Real-time charging station update
Scheduled charging
Panic notifications – the vehicle will send a notification to the server if the panic alarm is triggered and the system dials 911 emergency services, provides the car position via GPS, and opens a live microphone so that emergency workers can communicate with the vehicle occupants
“Send-to-Car” points of interest (POI) and waypoints — owners will be able to plan a road trip with waypoints and send it to the vehicle’s navigation system
Pre-condition the vehicle cabin temperature prior to use18

Kia Motors Corporation sources EV, HEV, and PHEV batteries from multiple global suppliers. The battery specifications and exact cell chemistry varies for each application, which can impact materials and sourcing. Globally, battery manufacturers, including Kia suppliers LG Chem and SK innovation, source battery elements, including cobalt, from a variety of regions. These battery manufacturers regularly review mineral sourcing, and re-source to new areas to manage stability, cost, logistics, and other factors, ultimately looking at other ways to source cobalt and to reduce usage. Battery engineers are striving to progressively reduce the cobalt required, and are succeeding.

Made in Korea, Coming to America
The new Niro EV will be built in South Korea at Kia’s Hwaseong manufacturing facility, right alongside the Niro hybrid and plug-in hybrid. When it goes on sale early next year (pricing will be announced near the on-sale date), the Niro EV will be available in two trims, EX and EX Premium, which adds a host of upscale features to the already well-equipped EX. Premium EX features include:

8-inch color navigation19 touchscreen
Power tilt/slide sunroof
LED headlamps
8-speaker Harman/Kardon20 premium audio system with external amplifier and subwoofer
Auto-dimming mirror with Homelink21
Heated steering wheel
LED interior lighting
Mood lighting
Parking distance warning – forward and reverse22
Deluxe scuff plate

About Kia Motors America

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Kia Motors America continues to top quality surveys and is recognized as one of the 100 Best Global Brands and 50 Best Global Green Brands by Interbrand. Kia serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA and offers a complete range of vehicles sold through a network of nearly 800 dealers in the U.S., including cars and SUVs proudly built in West Point, Georgia.*

For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com. To receive custom email notifications for press releases the moment they are published, subscribe at www.kiamedia.com/us/en/newsalert.

* The Sorento and Optima GDI (S, EX, SX and certain LX Trims only) are assembled in the United States from U.S. and globally sourced parts.

1 Charge time and range based on 50 kW charger performed at 200 amps, 77 degrees Fahrenheit battery temperature, and under 10% battery State of Charge. Actual range will vary with options, driving conditions, driving habits, vehicle maintenance, charging practice, battery age, weather, temperature and your vehicle’s condition. Battery capacity will decrease with time and use. Frequent use of DC fast charging can negatively impact battery performance and durability, and Kia recommends minimizing use of DC fast charging.

2 Frequent use of DC fast charging can negatively impact battery performance and durability, and Kia recommends minimizing use of DC fast charging.

3 Actual range will vary with options, driving conditions, driving habits, vehicle maintenance, charging practice, battery age, weather, temperature and your vehicle’s condition. Battery capacity will decrease with time and use. For more information on range, please see www.fueleconomy.gov

4 The Brake and Hold system is not a substitute for safe driving. Do not solely rely on the system to stop the vehicle or avoid collisions. Always drive safely and use caution.

5 The Smart Regeneration system is not a substitute for safe driving, and may not detect all objects in front of the vehicle. Do not solely rely on this system to stop the vehicle or avoid collisions. Always drive safely and use caution.

6 Distracted driving can result in a loss of vehicle control. When operating a vehicle, never use a vehicle system that takes your focus away from safe vehicle operation.

7 Rear View Monitor is not a substitute for safe driving, and may not display all objects behind the vehicle. Always drive safely and use caution.

8 SiriusXM audio and data services each require a subscription sold separately, or as a package, by Sirius XM Radio Inc., after 3-month trial included with vehicle purchase. If you decide to continue service after your trial, the subscription plan you choose will automatically renew thereafter and you will be charged according to your chosen payment method at then-current rates. Fees and taxes apply. Please see the SiriusXM Customer Agreement at www.siriusxm.com for complete terms and how to cancel, which includes calling SiriusXM at 1-866-635-2349. All fees and programming are subject to change. Traffic information not available in all markets. SiriusXM and all related marks and logos are trademarks of Sirius XM Radio Inc.

9 Apple CarPlay™ is a trademark of Apple Inc. Requires a compatible Apple device sold separately. Apple CarPlay™ runs on your smartphone cellular data service. Data plan rates apply.

10 Vehicle user interface is a product of Google and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires the Android Auto app on Google Play and an Android compatible smartphone running Android™ 5.0 Lollipop or higher. Data plan rates apply. Android Auto is a trademark of Google LLC.

11 Charging system only works with select devices. Refer to the vehicle’s Owner’s Manual for warnings and instructions.

12 The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG Inc., and any use of such marks by Kia is pursuant to license. A Bluetooth® enabled device is required to use Bluetooth® wireless technology.

13 For maximum protection, always wear your seat belt.

14 No system, no matter how advanced, can compensate for all driver error and/or driving conditions. Always drive safely.

15 These features are not substitutes for safe driving, and may not detect all objects surrounding vehicle. Always drive safely and use caution.

16 Driver Attention Warning is not a substitute for safe driving and may not detect all instances of driver fatigue or inattentive driving practices. Failure to pay attention to travel conditions and vehicle operation could result in loss of vehicle control. Always drive safely and use caution.

17 Purchase/lease of a new 2019 Kia Niro EV vehicle with UVO includes a complimentary one year subscription starting from new vehicle retail sale/lease date as recorded by the dealer. After your complimentary one year UVO subscription expires, continued access to UVO will require a paid subscription at the then current subscription rate or your use of UVO will immediately terminate. Use of UVO is subject to agreement to the UVO Privacy Policy available at https://owners.kia.com/us/en/privacy-policy.html and Terms of Service available at https://owners.kia.com/us/en/terms-of-service.html. UVO is transferrable to subsequent owner during the original UVO service term. Only use UVO when safe to do so. UVO app is available from the App Store® or Google Play™ Store. Kia Motors America, Inc. reserves the right to change or discontinue UVO at any time without prior notification or incurring any future obligation. Message and data rates may apply. Cellular and GPS coverage is required to use most features. UVO features may vary by model, model year, and trim level. Features, specifications, and fees are subject to change. For more on details and limitations, visit https://owners.kia.com or your authorized Kia dealer. Google and logos are trademarks of Google, Inc. App Store is a service mark of Apple, Inc.

18 Remote features require a UVO subscription, a compatible smartphone, and a wireless signal with good coverage to function. Normal cellular service rates may apply.

19 Distracted driving can result in a loss of vehicle control. When operating a vehicle, never use a vehicle system that takes your focus away from safe vehicle operation. Navigation is for information purposes only, and Kia does not make any warranties about the accuracy of the information.

20 Harman/Kardon is a registered trademark of Harman International Industries, Inc.

21 HomeLink® is a registered trademark of Gentex Corporation.

22 These features are not substitutes for safe driving, and may not detect all objects surrounding vehicle. Always drive safely and use caution.

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