Kia’s 2017 Niro Hybrid small crossover SUV has just reached dealer showrooms, and the Korean automaker is already talking about a battery electric version.
This information was revealed to the UK’s Car Dealer Magazine by Kia Motors’ chief operating officer, Tae-Hyun Oh, at the opening of a new flagship dealership in London.
“We have just launched Niro in Europe and the United States, but also we always need to meet [increased] local emission regulations,” Oh told the magazine.
“So in this sense we are looking at a feasibility study to develop a Niro which is electric,” Oh said referring to the electric version.
SEE ALSO: Kia Niro Hybrid SUV To Launch In 2016
The Niro shares the same platform as its sister company Hyundai’s Ioniq, which will be available as either an EV, gas-electric hybrid or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
That means the Niro is already prepped to receive an electric drivetrain.
If it’s identical to the Ioniq Electric, a 28-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion polymer battery would deliver a range of 155 miles (250 km), based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), or, on the more-realistic EPA test cycle, Hyundai says will the Ioniq is good for 110 miles.
Real world driving range would be around 100 miles or so, about the same as the Kia Soul EV, but half of the just revealed 200-mile Renault Zoe.
There is a business case for a Niro EV with this size battery, however.
First, a smaller battery keeps the cost down and second, a smaller-is-better scenario has been expressed by early adopters who are fine with 100 miles or even less EV range.
The fact that a high-ranking Kia executive would talk about an electrified Niro is almost, but not quite a validation that the company is doing more than just considering it.
It’s possible that next year’s Paris or Los Angeles auto show would see a Kia Niro EV debut.