The Niro EV Concept is Kia’s first step under the new ACE Strategy (Autonomous, Connected and Eco/Electric – see below) and the ‘Boundless for all’ vision, a philosophy that sees future cars not just as means of transport but broader mobility solutions with advanced connectivity.
Created by Kia’s design studio in Korea, the concept is a compact SUV powered by an advanced battery-electric powertrain.
The exterior is characterized by an aerodynamically-efficient body. Following a common current trend, the traditional grille – no longer required for engine cooling – is replaced by an interactive display panel, and along with the ultra-slim lamps contributes to a sleek modern front end design.
In profile, the concept draws inspiration from the current Kia Niro, with a compact crossover silhouette, elevated body and wide C-pillar.
The rear end has clean and sharp trailing edges allowing air to flow more easily off the back of the car.
Designed to be driven mostly on urban and suburban roads, the Niro EV Concept is equipped with new technologies to enhance safety for pedestrians.
The concept’s new Active Pedestrian Warning System (APWS) features a combination of front view cameras, object recognition technology and front speakers. If the system detects a pedestrian or cyclist crossing in front of the car, the speakers sound an alert targeted specifically at that person, warning them of the car’s presence. APWS is matched by the Niro EV Concept’s new interactive lighting system, which offers users and pedestrians a highly-intuitive visual communication with vehicle.
Inside, the cabin has been designed with a pure, minimalist and digital appearance, creating greater user interaction with new technologies and features. With a wrap-around design to cocoon the driver and passengers, the dashboard’s horizontal layout has broad and smooth surfaces.
The effect is a sense of space and calm in the cabin, enhanced by the soft shades of silver, grey and bronze covering every surface.
The electric vehicle powertrain makes use of new production technologies and combines a high-capacity 64 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack with a 150 kW electric motor. The driving range is 238 miles (383 kilometers).
Kia’s ACE Strategy
Kia’s ‘ACE’ strategy is based around three core elements, presenting Kia’s vision for future personal transportation:
- Autonomous – Kia plans to commercialize Level 4 autonomous driving technology, with ‘Smart City’ autonomous vehicle testing due to commence in 2021
- Connected – By 2025, Kia will adopt connected car technologies across every vehicle segment, and aim to make every single model a connected car by 2030
- Eco/Electric – Kia will introduce 16 new advanced powertrain vehicles by 2025, including a range of new hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, as well as an all-new fuel-cell electric vehicle in 2020
Alongside these technologies, Kia announced its plans to roll-out its ‘WiBLE’ car-sharing service – launched in Korea in 2017 – to new regions from 2018, starting with Europe.
The company is also going to expand its range of environmentally-friendly cars in the coming years, and plans to offer a total of 16 electrified vehicles by 2025, including a fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) in 2020.