While electric cars are receiving a lot of attention, today’s realities are such that it’s the hybrid cars, which use a combination of electric motors and a small gasoline engine (that recharges the batteries and propels the car in some situations) that are popular.
Kia just showed the first images of its next hybrid vehicle. However, compared to the brand’s current gas-electric car, the Optima Hybrid, this newcomer gets its own platform and will have a unique appearance.
The vehicle you see in the above pictures is the Kia Niro. According to the manufacturer, it is classified as a Hybrid Utility Vehicle; an HUV, if you will. It is therefore an interesting compromise between a midsize SUV and a typical hybrid vehicle.
The Niro is powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder pumping out 105 horsepower; it is helped by a 32-kW electric motor and a twin-clutch six-speed automatic transmission.
Eventually, the manufacturer wants to offer a plug-in hybrid version, but for now the gasoline engine and the brake’s regenerative system are what recharge the batteries.
Kia is planning on unveiling the production version of the Niro early next year; they are confident they can launch the vehicle before the end of 2016. Kia is also planning to expand their green car lineup by up to 11 models before the end of the decade.
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- Benjamin Hunting travelled to Korea to drive a pre-production version of the Kia Niro