Kia’s Niro EV concept is a battery-powered 201bhp SUV | Top Gear
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Kia’s Niro EV concept is a battery-powered 201bhp SUV

Concept promises 238 miles of range, is part of Kia’s plan to have 16 EVs by 2025

Published: 09 Jan 2018

Kia reckons that today’s drivers view cars as merely ‘vehicles’; a big box to transport humans and dogs and empty crisp wrappers and old boxes and so forth.

Kia therefore wants to change the way you view what a ‘car’ actually is. By unveiling, um, a car. This is the Kia Niro EV concept: a battery-electric small SUV that forms part of the company’s Big Plan to have 16 new ‘advanced powertrain’ cars on the roads by 2025.

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This Niro packs a 150kW (201bhp) electric motor powered by a 64 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack. It is, we’re assured, built using new production technology earmarked for “near-future EVs” from the South Korean giant.

While it’s pretty much similar to a regular Niro on the outside, small differences mark it out as an EV. Like the absence of a front cooling grille, here replaced by an interactive display panel and “ultra-slim lamp technology”.

It’s all The Future inside, though: a digital display in front of the driver, and one in the central dash, itself punctuated solely by a single knob. The dash sort of wraps around the driver and passenger, and it’s all very mellow: silver, grey and bronze are used throughout.

There’s also some technology on board to assist you in The Future. Things like pedestrian warning system which doesn’t alert you to rogue humans crossing into the car’s path, but warns them.

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A combo of front view cameras, “object recognition tech” and front speakers basically sound an alert specifically at the pedestrian in question, warning them of the car’s presence. Reprogramme it to sound like Darth Vader and you’ve basically won at life.

In fact, with so many carmakers pledging a raft of new EV cars in the years to follow, surely we now have to think about the various noises each will have to make? Cue the film references, Internet...

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