Kia has promised a foray into the Australian EV market for some time now. In 2021, it looks to finally have an answer to compete with the cheap electric cars of Australia: the e-Niro, a compact crossover-SUV that will do battle with the likes of the MG ZS EV and Hyundai Kona Electric.
The Kia e-Niro is loosely based on the same underpinnings as the Hyundai Ioniq but swaps the latter’s lacklustre battery and motor combination for the more appealing configuration found in the Hyundai Kona Electric.
While the exact specification for the Australian e-Niro hasn’t yet been revealed, the fact that the e-Niro shares its powertrain with the Kona Electric — an EV loved by many at EV Mojo — is a positive sign.
With decent storage in its subcompact crossover body, it’s sure to appeal to those not quite ready to graduate to a tank-sized SUV, but appreciate the practicality and space on offer in a more city-friendly package.
By combining the underpinnings of the well-handling Ioniq with the extended range of the Kona Electric, the Kia e-Niro could just be the perfect combination of bits for an affordably-priced EV. The e-Niro will likely bring with it a 400km range, with sub-8-second to 100km/h performance. We’re also expecting charge times of under an hour if using a DC rapid charger.
The e-Niro’s success will likely hinge on Kia’s pricing strategy. While we know that Kia and Hyundai have operated independently, it’ll be interesting to see how competitively it’s priced compared to the sister car. Or, could the e-Niro mount any kind of challenge to the MG ZS EV — currently the cheapest BEV on offer? Watch this space.
Although we expect the first units of the e-Niro to land on our shores towards the middle to end of 2021, the reality could change depending on the volatile pandemic situation. But with the consequential waning of demand for EV demand in Europe opening up allocation opportunities for right-hand-drive markets, we’re keeping everything crossed that the e-Niro appears sooner rather than later.