Automotive

Motoring Review: Kia Niro EV – Plenty of buzz about Kia’s electric vehicle offering

Here’s our review on a Kia Niro Electric Vehicle (EV) after slipping behind the wheel of this classy little number for a week of free motoring.

We’ve all heard from a self-purported wise one, “no flies on me”. It is a typically Australian boast.

Well, I’m putting a twist on it after my week long drive in a Kia Niro Electric Vehicle (EV).

After slipping behind the wheel of this classy little number for a week of FREE motoring between Adelaide, Victor Harbor and Murray Bridge, I can truly claim there’s “no flies on me”.

But there were some ants… not on me but on the car. More on that in a tick.

Did I mention my week of motoring, which consisted of at least 200km of travel a day, yes in an Electric Vehicle, was FREE? With petrol prices nudging the $2/L mark, I consider I have your interest.

No need to roll out a Myth Busters episode to test that claim.

I can explain. I live off grid… harnessing the power of the sun and with a substantial battery storage on my farm property.

So I don’t pay a power bill (“no flies on me”).

And my home town of Victor Harbor has a free charging station in the town centre. Combined, those two free power sources allowed me to keep the Kia Niro EV, the model driven the longer range model with a claimed 455km range, charged to easily match my mainly country driving needs.

For someone with off-grid power, I have to confess that I, somewhat embarrassingly, know little about storage capacity and usage figures by comparison to fuel efficiency… my brain just doesn’t work that way. I do though know that the higher the number, the lower the efficiency… in general terms.

I also admit to not putting a great deal of energy into understanding those numbers because I’m not paying for the energy being used.

But for those who are actively interested, the Kia Niro EV has a 64kWh battery and the official energy consumption number for the Kia Niro is 15.9kWh/100km, but is helped by little tricks such as the climate control isolation for the driver only, and not using the seat heaters (unless you really have to!)

What I do know though is that these little buzz boxes (sorry Kia, it just rolls off the tongue when I’ve already mentioned flies and ants) actually have the ability for the range to increase the further you drive.

That is put down to the Kia Niro EV’s brake energy recover which harnesses energy derived from the resistance in braking and, well, shoves it back into the battery. Driving back to th city after a week of country motoring and cursing the 22km of range left on the dial as I came down the South Eastern Freeway, I was pleasantly surprised the range had gone out to 44km after driving the final 20km of suburban driving on my journey.

That’s impressive. Just about as impressive as the Kia Niro is stylish and comfortable and a great driveý, no matter what its power source. It comes in petrol and hybrid versions also.

There has to be a catch, right? Well, some will say it is the initial outlay for the small SUV in its EV version

Local pricing for the 2021Kia Niro EV starts at $62,490 plus on-road costs for the Niro EV S, rising to $65,990 plus on roads for the Niro EV Sport. It’s not the cheapest but neither is petrol at the moment and for comparison, I outlayed a bit more on my house build to be off grid but am almost already in front after just three years when it comes to power bills.

There’s at least value in the consideration.

Now, about those ants. And this is something that not even Kia’s best minds had an answer for as they’ve never heard of it happening in the past.

On one of the free charges I did in my week of motoring, and from a parklands side charging station, the charging process attracted hundreds of ants up the charging cord, onto the plug and subsequently onto the Kia Niro EV… even a few into the car.

It may be one for the Myth Buster type scientists. Are ants attracted to power sources or have these critters just joined the buzz about electric vehicles?

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