Niro hybrid revealed as Kia plans to go green

Niro hybrid revealed as Kia plans to go green

Kia has revealed plans to add an all-new low emissions SUV to its model line-up. The Niro – labelled a ‘hybrid utility vehicle’ (HUV) – marks the development of Kia’s first dedicated eco-car platform.

Niro will maintain all the practicality of a compact SUV, while offering fuel economy, and has been engineered in isolation from existing Kia models. It will be designed for a specific set of environmentally-conscious technologies and next-generation powertrains.

Hyoung-Keun Lee, vice-chairman and chief at Kia Motors says: “By encouraging our engineers to take a ‘blank canvas’ approach, we have tried to develop a car that will appeal to a broader range of consumers.”

While the Niro is an all-new model, with no direct predecessors, it still carries forward the company’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille and a series of other design cues from the latest Kia products.

KIA-NIRO-HUV-(2)

The Kia Niro will feature a target CO2 emissions rating of under 90 g/km (combined, based on the new European driving cycle). It has been conceived as a dedicated hybrid model.

The car will feature a downsized hybrid powertrain, pairing Kia’s 1.6-litre ‘Kappa’ gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine (77kW power output and 147 Nm of torque) with a 1.56 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack and 32 kW electric motor.

The powertrain’s combined power output and torque will be applied to the road through a six-speed double-clutch transmission. A plug-in hybrid powertrain is due to be added to the car’s line-up later in its life-cycle.

Based upon a bespoke new platform, the Niro’s body is made of more than 50% ultra-high strength steel. Part of a wider effort by Kia, the extended use of ultra-high strength steel will help Kia reach its target of a 5% reduction in the average weight of new car bodies by 2020 compared to 2014 levels.

The Niro HUV is due to be unveiled next year, with production for overseas markets scheduled to start in late 2016. The car will be built at Kia’s Hwasung manufacturing facility in Korea.

In the next five years, Kia will expand its current green car line-up from the four current models to 11, and is targeting a 25% improvement to average corporate fuel efficiency over 2014 levels.

By 2020 Kia will also replace seven out of its 10 current engine ranges with next-generation gasoline and diesel units, while increasing the number of turbocharged engines.

Higher-efficiency, multi-speed transmissions are also planned, while Kia engineers are targeting a 5% reduction in the average weight of new car bodies through greater application of ultra-high strength steel.

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