Kia Australia is preparing to launch its first all-electric model in Australia, with the recently revealed 2019 Kia e-Niro firming to be launched in the second half of 2019. Although not yet confirmed for our shores, the company is reportedly keen to add a fully electric car to its lineup and follow in the footsteps of parent company Hyundai.
Based on the regular Niro, which is the brand’s hybrid crossover vehicle, the e-Niro takes the electric drivetrain from the Hyundai Kona Electric and offers a driving range of up to 453km on a charge. If greenlit for Australia, expect the e-Niro locally towards the end of 2019.
Emilio Herrera, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors Europe, commented: “A combination of cool crossover design and advanced powertrains led to more than 33,000 Niro sales across Europe in 2017, and more than 30,000 year-to-date in 2018, making it one of our best-selling models. Annual sales of electric vehicles across Europe are expected to reach 200,000 this year, rising to nearly one million units by the end of 2022, while the crossover market is also forecast to continue expanding in the coming years.”
“The e-Niro is a clear demonstration of the progress Kia has made in delivering comfortable, practical and fun-to-drive vehicles that lead the way in zero-emissions driving.”
Available in two battery sizes – 64kWh and 39.2kWh – the 2019 Kia e-Niro is also offered in two power output forms. The larger battery is paired to a more powerful 150kW electric motor, while the less powerful version produces 100kW. Both versions produce 395Nm of torque, and the 0-100km/h sprint time is listed as 7.8 second for the 64kWh version, and 9.8 seconds for the 39.2kWh.
The 64kWh e-Niro is capable of driving 453km on a single charge, while the 39.2kWh version is capable of driving a still-impressive 288km, though both figures can change depending on where the car is driven and in what conditions as well. If sold in Australia, we expect the higher-powered model to be sold locally.
Based on the same platform as the Hyundai Kona, the 2019 Kia e-Niro is like many other small SUVs – it’s funkily styled with an eye catching design, and certainly captures attention. The interior of the e-Niro is more conservative, though like other new Kia products, appears to be high quality and futuristic – the circular gear selector is attractive, and the use of piano black trim makes the e-Niro’s cabin look more special than other Kia cabins. Centrepiece of the e-Niro’s interior is a 7.0-inch touchscreen that resembles many the same system used in many other Hyundai Kia products, though the e-Niro features a unique mode displaying the car’s charging times, energy consumption and other driving information.
Being the most technologically advanced Kia on sale, the e-Niro is well equipped with active safety equipment, which includes autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, blind-spot monitoring with rear traffic alert, lane keep assist and lane departure warning, driver attention alert and traffic sign recognition.
The 2019 Kia e-Niro is as yet unconfirmed for Australian sales, though thanks to the confirmation of its sister car, the Hyundai Kona Electric, in early 2019, is likely to land down under in the second half of 2019. The current hybrid and plug-in hybrid Niro models aren’t sold locally due to a lack of demand in Australia.
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