Kia Niro EV concept to be revealed at CES

A company backed by Nest co-founder Tony Fadell is taking Andy Rubin's startup to court.

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Kia has handed down a series of shadowy teasers for its expected Niro EV, first reported in February last year. Based on the petrol-electric Niro hybrid SUV revealed a full year before reports of an all-electric model surfaced, next week’s unveiling is described as a concept – although the preview pictures suggest we can expect a design very similar to the existing Niro. But, as with the recent Lexus LS+ concept, it appears Kia could also use the Niro EV concept to preview an EV-specific or general styling makeover, with the teaser images hinting at a more futuristic look at the front and rear. Recent spy photos, however, suggest we won’t see any such changes immediately. Kia hasn’t gone out of its way to reveal much about the Niro EV’s heart, either, although we can likely expect the electric drive system to be shared with the Hyundai Ioniq EV and upcoming Hyundai Kona EV. In the case of the Kona EV, reports online suggest Hyundai is preparation to offer to battery options: a runabout 39.2kWh pack and a longer-range 64.2kWh option – the former offering around 390 kilometres of driving range off a single charge, and the latter bumping that to over 500km.

In the still-new Hyundai Ioniq, the company’s electric drive system offers 88kW of power and 295Nm of torque. Fuelled by a 28kWh battery pack, the Ioniq claims a driving range of 280 kilometres. What we can expect from Kia’s take on the group’s electrification program, leftovers to be seen. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Consumer Electronics Show without some of the event’s more traditional fare, so Kia has confirmed showgoers will also get a first look at its new infotainment strategy. Again strangely, Kia promises we can expect to see “a range of new in-car features and inventions”, developed to support its upcoming autonomous driving technologies. A trio of interactive “cockpit-style” exhibits will be on display, showcasing new ‘human-machine interface’ (HMI) systems and a 5G internet connection – crucial for allowing the coming generation of connected autonomous vehicles to do their thing. “Virtual reality, self-driving cars, and full vehicle connectivity were all once measured technologies of the distant future. As they rapidly become a reality, Kia is exploring how to adapt these new technologies for its customers,” said Dr. Woong-cheol Yang, Vice-Chairman and Head of Hyundai-Kia R&D Center.

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