As new electric vehicles hit the streets and several others are on their way, many automakers promise less expensive EVs that still offer decent range and capability.
Even so, few have delivered on that promise, as pricier, upscale models are in high demand. Kia seems to understand that driving EV adoption means making a vehicle the everyday buyer can afford, and the automaker has done just that for the last few years with the Niro EV.
The useful compact electric crossover will be all-new for the 2023 model year, and though Kia hasn't announced specs for the US version yet, the new EV recently popped up on the Kia Sweden website with pricing.
The new Niro EV is larger than its predecessor, with a longer wheelbase. Kia says the increase brings extra interior space and a larger cargo hold than the previous model.
With a 150kW motor and a 64.8 kWh battery on board, the Niro EV returns a total range of 463km (~287 miles) using the European WLTP standard - which is up slightly on the 282 miles WLTP range quoted with the current E-Niro.
Those in North America will likely to see a lower range when the EPA gets its hands on the new EV, but not to an absurd degree. The current Niro EV is rated at 239 miles using EPA standards.
The affordable EV
The entry-level Niro EV costs 495,500 Swedish Krona, or around $53,000 / £38,800, but as Inside EVs notes, the Swedes have a different tax structure and vehicle costs are not directly translatable to pricing in other regions.
In the US, the current Niro EV starts at just shy of $40,000 before eligible federal tax credits, which can push the total cost below $33,000, while in the UK it starts at £32,895 for the low-range model (~180 miles) and £34,995 for the 64kWh battery model (~282 miles).
Kia hit a sweet spot with the previous Niro EV, with a decent range and reasonable price tag. It's going to take several Niro EV-equivalent vehicles to make a shift to complete electrification possible, as the number of buyers who can afford ultra-pricey premium vehicles is small.
Lower prices also help reduce some of the social stigma around owning an EV. The perception that people buying electric cars are somehow elitists or rich needs to change before full adoption is possible.
The new 2023 Niro will also be available in hybrid and plug-in hybrid models when it is officially launched later this year, with the latter offering up to 60km (~37 miles) of fully electric driving on a single charge.
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After working in the technology and software industry for several years, Chris began writing as a way to help people outside of that world understand the sometimes very technical work that goes on behind the scenes. With a lifelong love of all things automotive, Chris turned his attention to writing new vehicle reviews, detailing industry trends, and breaking news. Along the way, he earned an MBA with a focus on data analysis that has helped him gain a strong understanding of why the auto industry’s biggest companies make the decisions they do.