The South Korean manufacturer outlined its future “Boundless For All” Strategy, including its Niro EV
CES in Las Vegas this week presents companies with the perfect opportunity to display their latest innovations and technology, and Kia did not disappointment.
The automaker used its platform to unveil its “Boundless For All” strategy for 2018 – which includes the announcement of 16 new “advanced powertrain” vehicles to be launched by 2025, new technologies to improve on its commitments in autonomous driving and a new battery-powered EV concept car, dubbed the Niro.
Following in the footsteps of automakers like Hyundai, who has also chosen to opt for a varied powertrain strategy in future models, Kia briefly outlined plans for its range of new advanced powertrain vehicles.
Kia spoke of a total of 16 new models in the works: five new ICE hybrids and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) as well as five new battery-only EVs – all to be launched by 2025. As yet however, the only model which currently has a proposed release date, of 2020, is its Fuel Cell EV.
Vice Chairman and head of R&D at Kia, Dr. Woong-chul Yang, spoke of how the range of vehicles – and in particular the FCEV due to be launched in 2020 and made available to the mass market – demonstrates Kia’s aim for “a zero-emission future for mobility.”
Eager to press on to the future of communications, Kia promised to be the first automaker to produce models with 5G technology (although it shares the achievement with Samsung which also announced its intention to be the first to have 5G-ready tech for vehicles.
Show me a Niro
With a range of 238 miles, the Niro is Kia’s pitch at the sizable and competitive electric crossover space. Specs include a 64 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack powering a 150 kW electric motor.
As well as an impressive range – it edges out competition like the I-Pace by a few miles – it may have an edge in fast-charging too, with Jalopnik reporting that drivers should be able to get 115 miles of range out of a 30 minute hook-up.
The Niro also introduces a range of new technologies which would enhance safety for pedestrians in future models – specifically the “Active Pedestrian Warning System” which uses front view cameras and object recognition technology to detect pedestrians or cyclists, which are then warned of the cars presence with an alert targeted towards them.
Looking at Kia’s wider strategy, details on the individual 16 models’ capabilities are scarce at this point. However, it does plan to push Level 4 driving technology within the next five years (with ‘Smart City’ testing to commence in 2021) and it’s clear that its is focusing on technologies that will support the move to autonomous driving as a commercial concept.
Whether or not the Niro Concept will see the light day of day in its current form is debatable, but certainly the technology shown in this model forms a blueprint for the development of its other 16 models heading into 2025, and demonstrates the company’s commitment to becoming the autonomous, connected and eco/electric it aspires to be.