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.
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 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.