The Niro Plug-in Hybrid electric car will go on sale across Europe in late 2017 joining the Optima as Kia looks to a more sustainable future. This latest plug-in has a targeted pure-electric driving range of over 55km or 34miles. Final electric range and CO2 emissions figures will be published closer to the car’s on-sale date.
Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer, Kia Motors Europe, commented:
“Annual sales of plug-in hybrid models in Europe are expected to grow to more than 600,000 units by the end of 2023, while the crossover market is also forecast to expand in the coming years. There is a clear demand from customers for a vehicle which combines the practicality and ‘cool’ image of a compact crossover with the ultra-low emissions of an advanced plug-in powertrain. The Niro Plug-in Hybrid will be the only car on the market to offer this combination.”
At the heart of the Niro’s new plug-in powertrain is a high-capacity 8.9 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack, growing in size from the 1.56 kWh battery pack found in Kia Niro Hybrid. The new battery pack is paired with a more powerful 44.5 kW electric motor (offering almost 40% more power, up from 32 kW) compared to the Hybrid model.
The battery and electric motor are mated to an efficient 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which independently produces 105 ps and 147 Nm torque. The total power and torque output for the Niro Plug-in Hybrid’s powertrain will be 141 ps and 265 Nm, enabling the new model to accelerate from zero to 60mph in 10.8 seconds all delivered via a six-speed double-clutch transmission.
Regenerative braking technology allows the Niro to harvest kinetic energy and recharge the battery pack while coasting or braking, while a new Eco Driving Assistant System (Eco DAS) provides drivers with intelligent guidance on how to drive more efficiently under current conditions. Eco DAS includes Coasting Guide Control (CGC) and Predictive Energy Control (PEC), enabling drivers to maximise fuel mileage by suggesting when to coast or brake.
CGC alerts drivers as to the best time to lift off the gas accelerator and coast towards a junction, allowing the battery to regenerate under engine deceleration. Operating at certain speeds when a navigation destination is set, it alerts drivers when to coast via a small icon in the instrument cluster as well as an audible warning.
PEC uses the navigation and cruise control systems to anticipate topographical changes on the planned route. It uses this information to determine when best to recharge the battery pack, or to direct stored energy to the wheels and actively manage energy flow accordingly.
Designed to be electric
The Kia Niro was engineered from the very start to accommodate a specific range of hybrid powertrains with a rumoured electric variant coming soon.
The introduction of a plug-in hybrid powertrain therefore has minimal effect on the vehicle’s packaging. With the battery pack located beneath the floor of the 324 litre boot and beneath the rear seat bench – a volume claimed to be larger than rivals with a dedicated space beneath the boot floor to store your charging cables.
The Niro Plug-in Hybrid will follow its Hybrid sibling in offering an optional Towing Pack – rare amongst cars in the hybrid class – allowing owners to tow braked loads of up to 1,300 kg.
Externally you find a new satin chrome grille surround, as well as special chrome brightwork with a clean metallic-blue finish all designed to differentiate the model from the standard Niro. Other unique features include 16-inch alloy wheels, engineered to reduce wind resistance, new full-LED headlamps and dedicated ‘Eco Plug-in’ badging.
The interior of the Niro Plug-in Hybrid is upholstered in single-tone black leather, or two-tone light grey and black leather, finished with blue stitching, as well as a new blue surround for the dashboard air vents.
The new derivative features a new 7.0-inch full-TFT driver instrument cluster, displaying key information about the powertrain – such as the battery’s state of charge – with a complimentary 8.0-inch touchscreen providing the infotainment and navigation system, highlighting electric-only range and the location of nearby charging stations.