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.
A version of this story originally appeared on The Truth About Cars
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