The new Niro Plug-in Hybrid, revealed for the first time in Geneva, combines crossover versatility and design appeal with maximum fuel efficiency from its advanced new plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Niro will be the first car on the market to capitalize on two significant trends: rising sales of plug-in hybrid models (forecast to expand in Europe to more than 600,000 units per annum by the end of 2023) and continued growth in the compact crossover market.
The Niro Plug-in Hybrid will go on sale across Europe during Q3 2017, pairing an economical 1.6-liter GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine with an 8.9 kWh high-capacity lithium-polymer battery pack. The latest addition to Kia’s hybrid crossover range substantially reduces emissions over the more conventional Niro hybrid – engineers are targeting combined CO2 emissions below 30 g/km (New European Driving Cycle) and a zero-emissions pure-electric driving range of over 55 kilometres.
The introduction of a plug-in hybrid powertrain has minimal effect on the Niro’s packaging and versatility – the car’s high-capacity battery pack is located beneath the floor of the 324 -liter (VDA) trunk and beneath the rear seat bench, while cabin space is unaffected. An optional Towing Pack – rare amongst cars in the hybrid class – allows owners to tow braked loads of up to 1,300 kg.
The Niro Plug-in Hybrid features regenerative braking technology to harvest kinetic energy and recharge the battery pack while coasting or braking, while a new Eco Driving Assistant System (Eco DAS) provides drivers with intelligent guidance on how to drive more efficiently under current conditions. Eco DAS includes Coasting Guide Control (CGC) and Predictive Energy Control (PEC), enabling drivers to maximize fuel mileage by suggesting when to coast or brake, and using or harvesting electrical energy depending on the topography of the road ahead. The car’s touchscreen infotainment system displays the battery charge levels and the locations of nearby charging stations.