Kia unveils new all-electric compact SUV concept ahead of Niro EV launch

After the Kia Soul EV, the Korean automaker is expected to launch a second all-electric vehicle this year, an all-electric version of the Niro.

Ahead of this launch, Kia unveiled a ‘Niro EV concept’ at CES in Las Vegas this week.

It’s not entirely clear at this point if this new ‘Niro EV concept’ is a preview of what to expect from the all-electric version of Kia’s new compact SUV, but the Korean automaker describes it as “the next step in the brand’s ongoing journey to electrification” and they say it’s powered by “a next-generation electric vehicle powertrain, using new production technologies earmarked for near-future EVs from Kia.”

The Niro EV Concept is certainly a big step up over the Soul EV. It is powered by “a high-capacity 64 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack, paired with a powerful 150 kW electric motor.” Kia expects a range of 238 miles (383 kilometers) on a single charge.

Here are a few images of the new electric vehicle concept unveiled yesterday:

Kia describes the design of the vehicle in a press release:

“Created by Kia’s design studio in Korea, the Niro EV Concept is a fully-electric compact SUV. Its aerodynamically-efficient body allows air to slip over, around and beneath the vehicle with ease. The traditional grille – no longer required for engine cooling – is replaced by a smooth interactive display panel, combined with ultra-slim lamp technology in the overall front. In profile, the concept draws inspiration from the current Kia Niro, with a modish compact crossover silhouette, elevated body and wide C-pillar. The Niro EV Concept’s seamless rear aspect has clean and sharp trailing edges allowing air to flow more easily off the back of the car.”

Electrek’s Take

It’s a strange move to release this concept ahead of an expected launch of a production all-electric version of the Niro, which has been expected for the end of 2018.

The vehicle feels like a preview of that upcoming production EV considering the design is fairly close to the gas-powered Niro with a few added EV design accents.

The battery pack in the concept has a significantly higher capacity than what has been previously reported for the upcoming Niro EV, which is interesting.

Maybe the most interesting aspect of the upcoming EV has been its price, which is expected to be about 35,000 euros (~$39,000) – making it one of the rare options for a long-range electric vehicle at this price point and the only one for a compact SUV.

Either way, it could end up an interesting addition to the segment. Our main concern is that Kia is reportedly only planning low volume similar to Hyundai’s current Ioniq Electric production, but that could change.

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