Currently reading: Kia unveils Niro EV Concept as future tech showcase
Full electric concept previews forthcoming production EV while also highlighting more advanced systems

Kia has unveiled a Kia Niro EV Concept with a 238-mile range at CES in Las Vegas that previews the styling of the forthcoming production version – while also showcasing future technology.

The compact crossover displayed at the annual tech showcase is designed to showcase the firm’s new ACE – Autonomous, Connected and Eco/Electric – strategy. That strategy includes a plan to offer 16 electrified vehicles by 2025. A production Niro EV, likely featuring the same powertrain as sister firm Hyundai’s Ioniq EV, will go on sale later this year.

CES 2018: automotive highlights from the tech showcase

The Niro EV Concept unveiled at CES features reworked bodywork from current production versions of the Niro. The radiator grille – which isn’t needed for cooling on an EV – has been replaced with an interactive display panel, while the bodywork has been refined to boost aerodynamic efficiency. Seungbin Yim, Kia's head of emotional design, said: "The Concept shows the language of the Niro EV. The production version will look a little different, because with this car we wanted to explore ideas you can't do on a production model."

Kia plans electric Niro and more SUV models

Kia has fitted the machine with a 201bhp electric powertrain, which the firm says has been earmarked for use on ‘near-future’ EVs. Power comes from a 64kWh lithium-polymer battery park, giving a claimed driving range of 238 miles. Woong Chul Yang, Kia's vice-chairman in charge of research and development, said the production machine would likely be offered with a choice of two battery sizes: the 64kWh and a smaller, likely 32kWh, unit. "It's good to have options, like you can choose from different car engine sizes for different uses," he said.

While the styling of the Niro EV Concept will be closely related to the production version, other features have been included to showcase more general advanced technology Kia is developing for the future.

Kia aiming to have autonomous cars running in cities by 2021

The Concept is fitted with an Active Pedestrian Warning System, which detects pedestrians or cyclists crossing in front of the car and sends them a warning alert.

Inside, the Niro EV Concept features a new Human Machine Interface (HMI), with the infotainment and heating systems controlled by swiping on perforated leather area on the botton of the steering wheel. Drivers can ‘log in’ with the  HMI using facial and voice recognition systems, enabling personalised settings – with the car able to disable key functions if it does not identify the driver.

The car also features a sound separation control system, which uses eight headrest-mounted speaker and noise cancelling tech to allow front and rear passengers to listen to different music at the same time.


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Kia has also fitted the machine with what it says is a world-first ultra-fast 5G mobile connection. This is being demonstrated with a cockpit display on Kia’s stand at CES with a 5G data link to the firm’s base in Seoul, Korea. 

Read more

Kia plans electric Niro and more SUV model

CES 2018: automotive highlights from the tech showcase

Kia aiming to have autonomous cars running in cities by 2021

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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4WheelDrift 9 January 2018

Nice one Kia

You have to hand it to Kia. Really pushing credible alternatives to ICE cars on the one hand but still having really cool ICE performance cars such as the Stinger on the other. 

If a bit of the Stinger could somehow be injected into this new Niro EV that would be great as the current Hybrid and PHEV are a bit dull to drive-allegedly. (Not driven one myself). 

Maybe with the Jag I-Pace fun/driver involvement (ie fun) will creep into non ICE cars; although isn’t that the polar opposite of the way we are heading with driverless cars and more driver aids?!

Interesting times! 

xxxx 9 January 2018

Fine looking car

Sell it a highly spec'd version for £35,000 with a 250 mile range in 2018 and they Kia will become a real threat to the likes of Ford etc in Europe.

The Apprentice 9 January 2018

Kia and Hyundai working hard

Kia and Hyundai working hard on the future, the Hyundai Hydrogen cell vehicle - whilst Hydrogen may not be viable the car is on an entirely new platform and powertrain designed for all kimds of other development work. All we get from some manufacturers is "waaa! haaa! sobbing what about our old diesels, they are not that bad..."