Kia is set to become the next major car company to join the electric vehicle market with the launch of hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of a small SUV called Niro.
Kia Motors New Zealand has announced that the model will go on sale during the opening quarter of next year, however no prices have been released for the new vehicle
After a ten-month evaluation of the Niro, where the model was reviewed by selected consumers and motoring journalists, a business case was created in order for the vehicle to be sold here in New Zealand.
The Korean built Niro was intended only for the European market, but after a ten-month evaluation of the Niro, where the model was reviewed by selected consumers and motoring journalists, a business case was created in order for the vehicle to be sold here in New Zealand.
Kia claims the Niro is the first dedicated hybrid SUV produced anywhere in the world, built to run on both the power of a petrol engine and an electric motor.
The fuel economy of the hybrid is 3.8L/100km, which was put to the test when driven across the USA where the Niro achieved 3.69L/100km, a world record low for fuel consumption.
The plug-in version is even better, thanks to its larger battery pack and electric motor. Factory figures for the Niro PHEV suggest 1.3L/100km.
The Niro hybrid is powered by a 1.6 litre petrol engine in combination with an electric drive unit.
The new plug-in version of the Niro, which has been released just recently to the international market, has a larger battery pack and can travel up to 40km on batter power alone, with no assistance of its petrol engine.