Soul Gets a Mate? Kia All But Confirms a Niro EV

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Kia’s new hybrid crossover, the Niro, should expect a sister model that dispenses with fossil fuel altogether.

A Kia official has implied that an all-electric version of the model is coming, joining a vehicle that arrives this spring in hybrid form, with a plug-in version on the way. By offering a Niro EV, Kia would have two electric crossover-style vehicles on the market — and plenty of green clout.

The launch for the model, which arrives on dealer lots later this quarter, is already underway in San Antonio, Texas. There, Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning at Kia Motors America said, “Stay tuned” when asked about a full-electric Niro.

Michael Sprague, Kia Motors America’s chief operating officer, claims the automaker has 20 new models planned between the Niro launch and 2020. In addition to the confirmed Stinger sports sedan and new Rio, the Niro EV is a likely candidate.

Last year, the automaker said it would hold a feasibility study to determine whether to build an electric Niro. The green light probably hinges on initial demand for both the hybrid and plug-in variants.

Riding atop the same dedicated hybrid platform as the Hyundai Ioniq, the front-drive-only Niro was designed with a range of electrified powertrains in mind. Should it go the EV route, expect the same battery pack as the 124-mile Ioniq EV and perhaps a slightly reduced range, given the vehicle’s poorer aerodynamics. The Soul EV, which bowed several years ago, boasts just 93 miles of range.

Chances are, however, that a Niro EV won’t boast a sub-Chevrolet Bolt range for long — if ever. Hyundai hopes to field a 200-mile Ioniq for 2018.

[Image: Kia Motors America]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • OldManPants OldManPants on Jan 31, 2017

    Why would a Kia Bolt be any more abundantly produced and energetically distributed than the Chevy Bolt isn't?

  • VoGo VoGo on Jan 31, 2017

    If I were Kia, I'd hold off a year and wait for the 200 mile battery. Reputations get made fast, and you don't want to be lumped in with all the other mainstream EVs that can't hold a candle to the Bolt.

    • Chocolatedeath Chocolatedeath on Jan 31, 2017

      Not only that but who wants to go and buy and use one three years from now and try to guess if the mileage is 125 or 225!! The guy that sells you the used car aint going to know and you wont either.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jan 31, 2017

    I'd strongly consider an EV Niro, but it really needs the longer range, *and* long-range charging capability (Supercharger).

    • See 1 previous
    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Feb 01, 2017

      @indi500fan No doubt. But I'd have to also weigh the addictive driveability of an EV vs the terrible resale a Niro EV is sure to have.

  • Felix Hoenikker Felix Hoenikker on Jan 31, 2017

    If the Euro version of this car was parked in Rome when a big fire broke out, would it play the fiddle?