Kia Niro EV pre-orders start in South Korea

Kia Niro EV pre-orders event in South Korea

If you like the Hyundai Kona Electric, but think that it’s too small, the Kia Niro EV might be the electric car for you.

The Kia Niro EV is a bigger electric car aimed for the North American market. I think of it as a BEV alternative to the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – that finally arrived to North America after so many delays. Mitsubishi really screwed things up…


Anyway, let’s see the Kia Niro EV that is now on pre-sale in South Korea.



ME (Mid & Efficient)

LE (Long & Excellent)

Electric motor

150 kW (204 HP)

150 kW (204 HP)


240 km (149 miles)

380 km (236 miles)

Battery capacity

39,2 kWh

64 kWh


2.700 mm

2.700 mm


4.375 mm

4.375 mm


1.805 mm

1.805 mm


1.560 mm

1.560 mm

Starting price (before incentives)

43,5 million KRW (32.923 €)

46,5 million KRW (35.194 €)

The 3 million KRW difference between the two versions is just 2.272 €, which doesn’t make much sense. However, it gives Kia a margin to drop the price of the entry-level version to around 30.000 €.

If you’re wondering about range, both South Korean and the EPA test cycles are very similar.


It’s interesting that since the Kia Niro EV is a bigger and heavier car, it gets the same 150 kW motor in both versions. While the smaller and lighter Hyundai Kona Electric, besides the 150 kW motor can also be ordered with a 99 kW variant.


Now the important question is: how many will Kia produce?

And the answer isn’t what we want…

Production targets for 2018 (Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group):

  • Hyundai Kona Electric (18.600 units)
  • Hyundai IONIQ Electric (48.000 units)
  • Kia Niro EV (21.000 units)
  • Kia Soul EV (???)


Furthermore, roughly half of the production will stay in the domestic market, leaving few units available to be exported to Europe and North America. Hyundai and Kia really need to decentralize the production of their electric cars, like Nissan did with the Leaf.


Anyway, Kia expects to deliver the first units to South Korean customers in July. Europeans and North Americans will have to wait a bit longer. Norwegians might be lucky enough to get it in the last quarter of this year.


What do you think? And what’s your favorite? Hyundai Kona Electric or the Kia Niro EV?



More info:

This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. We want them now!!! Jejeje.

    Sure kia is building new ev-factories… Out of korea.
    But it is silent about that.

  2. Great article.. I think the prices may be the wrong way round but they are good prices.. Considering how much people will save on fuel. It’s great to see the two range options too.

    1. Yes, it’s fixed now. Thanks!

  3. Definitely the Niro for me. If the battery has a TMS I’d probably be fine with the ME because it would have fast enough DC charging stops on a trip, but if the prices are really that close, the LE would be an option.

    1. I have a family of 4, so it needs room for full groceries, or ikea furniture, or my paintings. Or all our camping gear, and we currently rent for our trips, so if the Niro can fit enough gear and handle a roof carrier, then it’s a winner.

  4. I think that now the Ioniq should get the new 811 batteries also in two variants, and thanks to better aerodynamics it will get better range.

  5. I just wrote in the KONA article that I think the smaller and larger battery pack versions both share the same motor, and power is constrained in the smaller-battery version by the battery pack. But here, the Niro is stated to have the same 150 kW power in both versions, and that makes me doubt my own thesis.

    It seems very unlikely that the motor and battery packs on offer in the Niro and KONA aren’t the same. And then either the specs for (at least!) one of the two cars must be incorrect, or else Hyundai is artifically limiting the power in the 40-ish kW version of the KONA (for segmenting purposes I would presume). If the Niro is aimed at the US market and the KONA more at “the rest of the west” maybe the segmenting could make sense..?? IDK, but I can imagine that 110 kW in a big car like the Niro might be perceived as a little underpowered in the US, where buyers are used to huge (and hugely inefficient) ICE engines.

    Really not sure what to make of this. I guess in a week’s time or so the KONA specs will be clearer, once it’s been to Geneva. Not to mention prices will be set, and I’ll have to think seriously about whether I want to use my reservation and buy one. (IIRC I’m about number 5500 on the list in Norway. Assuming 75% convert into purchases, a little over 4000 cars must be delivered to Norway before I’ll have the chance to get it, but I think that means I can possibly get it late this summer.)

    1. you right it’s the same motor. only electronics pieces are changing in the kona between the both version. The same for the zoe, it s exactly the same motor between 75 90 and 110 ch version, only the electronics change.

    2. It seems that making money on optional equipment with electric cars will actually be very easy.

      Use the same motor and tune-up the inverter for more power. Easy money!

      As a side note, Nissan did the same with the new-generation Leaf, it uses the same motor as the outgoing model, but had its inverter tune-up to increase the motor power from 80 to 110 kW.

    3. I do not agree that motor and power electronics are the same in the optional powertrain configurations. The more powerful motor in most cases maintains the same diameter but is slight longer (for example this the difference of VX54 drive used in VW e-UP! and e-Golf, or upcoming BMW drives). Also the power electronics have more powerful power modules, or more transistors in parallel.

  6. They have started this a couple of days ago and already received more than 5000 orders (in two days only)!

  7. Anyone have information on the climate / battery tech they are using? I have a Niro PHEV and it relies on ICE for cabin heating.

  8. I always find it funny how the media harps on Tesla with their production numbers and then we see the numbers from Kia and Hyundai….. Sounds like a great car, but if no one can buy it whats the point.

  9. Pedro, do You know who produces those batteries? In the past Hiunday used LG’s and Kia SKI’s now it looks like both Niro and Kona uses the same battery options. What is more 39.2 and 64 actually don’t seem to be in any particular ratio suggesting that cells are of different capacity. Perhaps one is from SKI and other from LG. Or even those are 622 and 811 chemistries but difference(over 60%) seems to big to be explained by better capacity. Perhaps those are even Aesc batteries from current leaf? And same 64 kWh battery is going on to Leaf as well.

    1. “Hyundai/Kia Project:

      2016 – Ionic Micro HEV, PHEV, EV and Niro HEV, PHEV”

      It only mentions the Kia Niro and Kia Niro PHEV, since the BEV version isn’t available yet.

      It seems that SK innovation is losing its clients to LG Chem. The only big customer that SK innovation gets is Mercedes-Benz with the EQ.

      This is what I speculate about the 39,2 and 64 kWh LG Chem batteries:

      They use the same NCM 811 cells, but in different configurations: 96s2p for the 39,2 kWh and 96s3p for the 64 kWh battery. Or even different parallel and series configurations like 96s2p and 100s3p.

      The 2018 Kia Soul EV with SK innovation battery cells uses 100s2p configuration.

    2. Good analysis Pedro.

      I add my analysis to the discussion 🙂 Based on my calculations in conjunction with my skepticism about the rapid deployment of new battery technologies into mass production of vehicles I suggest that Kia Niro 39.2 kWh battery uses”aged” 56 Ah NMC cells from LG Chem. I think they are the same cells as used in Chevy Bolt and even in the new Jaguar I-Pace (it uses 432 cells in 90 kWh battery). But for 64 kWh battery they used “newer” cells with ca 65 Ah capacity from LG Chem, the same as it is used in Renault Zoe 41.

  10. Pedro: When do you expect that we will see the first mainstream cars that can use 150KW or even 350KW DC chargers? When I write mainstream I mean cars like the Zoe, Leaf, Ioniq, e-Golf and the like not cars like the Tesla Model S and X or some expensive Audi or Mercedes.

    1. Hard to say, but I guess that by 2020/2021 with the arrival of the second generation NCM 811 battery cells, some of those mainstream electric cars will charge at 150 kW.

      For the next years, 350 kW fast charging will probably be available only to luxury halo electric cars like the Porsche Mission E and the second-generation Tesla Roadster.

    2. In my opinion real 150 kW charge rate in 2020/2021 for mainstream cars is way too optimistic outlook. LG Chem makes a huge progress in energy density of its pouch NMC cells, but this new technology have problem with high charging currents. For example Chevy Bolt as a first BEV in mass production with this new cells (NMC 622?) is limited to about 50kW charging rate. New Jaguar I-Pace with 90kWh battery is also limited only to 100 kW charge rate. But it must be also said, that this cells can withstand continuous 1C charge rate and so the 100 kW in Jaguar could be equivalent to Tesla +120 kW. It is because Tesla NCA batteries uses AVC charging algorithm which means that they start at 1.5C but after few minutes the charging current falls down so it is equivalent to 1C average in 0-100% charging.

      But with 350 kW I completely agree with Pedro. At CCS or CHAdeMO system, the 350 kW charging power is dependent on using 800 V battery and the best available cells on the market, so it is too expensive that it will be used in luxury cars like Porsche or new Rimac.

  11. Pity they’re not offering a mid-range THIRD battery option on both the Niro and Kona – so circa 52 kWh(as well as the 64kWh and 39kWh versions).
    And why do we always get this reluctant, foot-dragging attitude towards EVs from carmakers – give with one hand…short-change with the other ?
    In this case VERY limited production volumes and limited export destinations.
    Yet at the same time all carmakers are cynically flooding the world’s showrooms and streets with an ever-expanding climate-killing tsunami of petrol and diesel-powered SUVs and crossovers – pulling out all the stops, no holds barred, like there’s no tomorrow.
    And why are so few commentators/journalists drawing attention to this gross hypocrisy and duplicity ?
    Paul G

    1. The journalists/commentators write about what people want to read, I assume that you are not from Norway and therefore the amount of EVs sold in your home country is probably as limited as in most other places. If 99% of car sales is ICE then 99% of car related news would be about ICE cars.
      Car companies make EVs, but people don’t want them and to ensure that they either don’t make them very good (small battery) or they overprice them and if they do neither of that they limit the production volume. So you can clearly see that people don’t buy them.

  12. If charging speeds do not increase before 2020/2021 the switch to EVs will be further delayed. No one wants to wait for an hour or more for the car to recharge. The first Renault Zoe charged at 43KW the newest only charges at 22KW, so the first could charge its battery in about half an hour, the newest takes more than two hours. If the charging speed does not increase you really don’t benefit of larger batteries, you simply wait twice the time for twice the charge. Yes, you can drive further without charging, but when you need to charge you have to wait twice as long.

    1. Yes this is definitely true however, the question is how big impact it has on EV market. There are at least two more important paramters such as price and range. In my eyes the major problem is still price of new electric vehicles. I can imagine to live with with car with parameters like actual e-UP! as my second car but I definitely do not accept current price.

    2. Renault Zoe is a specific example. The 43kW Chameleon charger was interesting idea but in real life there very few 63A Mennekes sockets in public chargers and it has poor efficiency when charging at home with low power 3.6 kW. So the new 22kW charger with significantly higher overall efficiency is in my eyes much better approach. But I still cannot understand why they did not integrate 50 kW DC charging socket with it. I hope that CCS support will finally arrive together with new motor. If not so, the French will definitely deserve some derogatory insult. 🙂

  13. Most public quick chargers in Denmark are 43kW AC and 50kW DC (mostly both CCS and CHAdeMO). I can charge with 11kW at home (3-phase with 16A). But with the new Zoe I have to charge with 22kW at the quick chargers where other people charge with 50kW. For most cars the charging speed did not increase with a larger battery, but for the Zoe it actually decreased. If Renault wants to compete with the competition they have to introduce DC fast charging.
    But I do agree, the price is one of the biggest problems and at the same time one of the easiest things to fix, the manufacturers can drop their prices easier than increase range or charging speed.

  14. This car is great in spec and will check all the boxes. I can tell you straight away that people will buy it as soon as they can get hold of it. The big question is – Does Kia intend to sell it in big numbers? That would mean gearing up in a different way and my suspicion is they are making too much money on Combustion engined cars and are slow to disrupt things. At some point, one of the main established manufacturers will get confidence and go all out to become makers of Electric Vehicles only.. Who will that be?

  15. @Pajda

    Chevrolet Bolt uses same NCM622 Cells from LG Chem than ZOE ZE40 😉
    So i rather think that both 39,2 kWh and 64 kWh KONA EV / Niro EV Battery comes with new NCM811 cell chemistry.

Leave a Reply