This week, another electric vehicle went on sale in Australia. The very popular SUV market welcomes the Kia Niro EV, a 5-seater crossover SUV that offers a compelling set of features, storage and range.
Kia’s first all-electric vehicle offers up to 455km (WLTP) with fast charging up to 150kW for it 64kWh battery. While most charging is likely to be done at home, when you are on a road trip, you can leverage the CCS2 DC fast charging of 3rd party networks like Chargefox, Evie and others to go from 0-80% in 53 minutes.
The reality is, owners will almost never be close to 0% state of charge, more commonly you’d keep the car between 10% and 90%, so these charging times are usually covered by human pitstops. In terms of the range, many highways, like that between Wodonga and Melbourne, now feature fast-charging infrastructure every 150km or so, so if you did need to charge, you could in most instances, travel where you need. You can check plugshare.com to see charging options in your area.
The car’s exterior design is fine, it’s not bold or futuristic, but it’s also not controversial, something plenty of buyers appreciate. The charge port is in the front of the vehicle and Kia avoids the mistake of the MG ZS EV and uses a side hinge on the charge cover, rather than a top-mounted one that meant seeing the charge port was difficult.
Inside the vehicle there isn’t much that shouts EV, it’s a very familiar setup, which will be appreciated for some, however, I would have like to have seen Kia be bolder here, taking the transition to EVs as an opportunity to reduce the complexity of the dash and center console, starting with a reduction of buttons which seem to be everywhere. Traditional vents are fine, as is the regular steering wheel, with just a hint of the EV branding, using blue stitching.
When it comes to infotainment, there’s a 10.25″ touchscreen on the Sport model, or 8″ on the S version. This supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If you pay up for the top model, you’ll also get JBL premium sound and LED headlights, but it’s the technology that’s possibly the biggest seller here.
Technology in the Nira EV offers a range of safety and technology features. These include Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist and the most interesting one, Lane Follow Assist.
Lane Following Assist works with the Smart Cruise Control system to help the vehicle remain in the centre of the lane by continuously correcting the course of the vehicle when Smart Cruise Control is activated.
When it comes to price, as you’d expect, the Kia Niro EV comes with a premium price, as most electric vehicles in 2021. In Victoria, you can get into Niro EV for:
- Grade S for A$67,490
- Grade Sport for A$70,990
If you want to upgrade the paint, that’ll cost you A$520 extra. The car is available in the standard white paint, or is also available in a snow white pearl, black, grey, red or blue. Regardless of the colour chosen, there are blue accents surrounding the front grill and splitting the running lights. This blue actually clashes on the Yacht Blue option, so I think Kia should consider an alternate accent colour with that paint.
If you want a Kia charger for home (up to 7.2kW), you’ll pay as much as A$2,829.59 for the charger including installation. This reduces charging times significantly over the included 240v charger, but that price is really steep compared to other home charging options.
Overall the Kia Niro EV is another very welcome addition to the electric vehicle marketing in Australia, one that is severely lacking in choice.
It is a shame the car isn’t more affordable with other entrants like the Hyundai Kona Electric also starting at A$67k with similar specs. By comparison, the MG ZS EV that really stands out in terms of price, at just A$43,990, however the smaller battery offers substantially less range. With the battery cost of an EV still being the single largest cost, it’s clear we’re seeing automakers experiment with price points and range to see what Australian consumers are comfortable with.
The Niro EV is not a ground up vehicle built on an electric platform, which we know is the best formula for success, but rather one that shares a lot with it’s hybrid alternative. The Niro hybrid can be your for A$41,990 – A$45,990 drive away in Victoria, so again we see a significant premium (as much as A$25,000) for those wanting to do the right thing and go electric.
For those in Victoria, make sure you check out the Solar Victoria website that administer the Zero Emission Vehicle subsidy of A$3,000 with the entry level Niro EV, you should qualify for the discount.
More information at Kia.com/au