Despite not yet being on sale in Australia, Kia has decided to use some of its prime sponsorship real estate at the 2021 Australian Open to showcase its upcoming electric vehicle.
A RHD Kia Niro EV was spotted by Dan Miatt and shared on the Electric vehicles for Australia Facebook group. With Australia still having a very limited selection of electric vehicles, compared to other markets, any new EV in the country is big news.
The Niro is expected to go on sale in Australia in the first half of this year, is a small SUV, one of the more popular market segments, and is expected to feature performance figures of 150kW and 395Nm from a battery that’s 64kWh in size. We should expect to see a range of around 450km which is definitely more than enough for most owner’s needs.
The last remaining figure and arguably, the most important, is of course the price. Kia is all about making affordable vehicles, but with a decent battery and great range, I think we’re likely to see it slot in somewhere between the MG ZS EV ($43,990 driveaway) and the Hyundai Kona Electric ($65,769.00 driveaway).
The car definitely needs a wash, being out in the open, it’s clear it was subject to recent storms that swept through Victoria, but come January 10th, which the Australian Open commences, you can expect this will have a showroom-level clean.
I think it’s really telling that a company like Kia, who has 10 different ICE models on sale in Australia today, would chose to put an unreleased electric vehicle front and center at the Open. While Covid-19 will certainly impact attendance numbers in 2021, the reality is, that car will be seen by an international audience.
By placing a RHD Niro EV on display, it shows Kia are really positioning for this massive transition to electric vehicles and are getting serious about it. Ultimately the rest of the lineup will need to go electric over the next decade, so its a good start, but the job certainly isn’t done yet.
It’s not cheap to bring a new vehicle to Australia, with cost estimates by the Electric Vehicle Council placing that number around $1 Million. To recoup the cost of this investment, automakers would need to see strong sales numbers to make that return on investment stack up.
With EVs accounting for such a small percentage of new vehicle sales in 2021, it’s important they get encouraging sales early to ensure they continue to supply new EVs to the Australian market.
Naturally the Government could offer incentives to assist this, but at least at the federal level, they seem unwilling to do this. This means the states may have to move on their own to stimulate growth to cleanup our transportation sector.