Kia unveiled two new plug-in hybrid models at the Geneva Motor Show in the shape of the Niro and Optima Sportswagon, further strengthening a green car line-up that has grown dramatically over the past couple of years.
The Niro Plug-in Hybrid uses the same foundations as the hybrid crossover, though has a much larger battery and improved economy figures. Now with an 8.8 kWh battery pack, compared to the Niro hybrid’s 1.56 kWh, the Niro Plug-in Hybrid also uses a more powerful 44.5 kW electric motor to support the 1.6 litre Kappa petrol engine.
This will result in official efficiency figures of less than 30 g/km CO2, though the car has yet to be formally tested, and Kia expects an all-electric range in excess of 34 miles.
As an extra incentive to potential buyers, Kia will also offer an optional towing pack. This will allow braked loads of up to 1,300kg to be towed, a very rare option for hybrid cars.
Also announced was Kia’s Optima Sportswagon Plug-in Hybrid. Using a similar electric powertrain to the saloon version of the Optima Plug-in Hybrid, but with a larger battery – now 11.26 kWh – and a 50kW electric motor. Kia again hasn’t got official efficiency figures available, but expects 34 g/km CO2 and 188.3 MPG to be achieved, along with an electric range of more than 37 miles.
The two new announcements mean Kia will have five electrified models in its fleet, adding to the Niro, Optima Plug-in Hybrid, and Soul EV. Considering that the Hyundai-Kia group also has the likes of the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell and three car Ioniq range to offer too means that the company quickly become one of the market leaders in electrified fleets.
A brief video of the Kia Soul EV, walking around the exterior and also showing the front and rear interiors. It was taken when we had the car on loan for a test drive – see our blog post: http://fuelincluded.com/2016/01/kia-s…
When buying an electric car it is nearly always worthwhile to get a dedicated charge point installed at home.
It’s more convenient than an ‘occasional use’ or ‘granny’ (13 Amp) charge cable because you don’t need to reel it up and put it away each time.
It will also be significantly faster because a dedicated charge point can provide more power without the risk of overheating. Also some electric cars, such as the Renault ZOE, don’t come with such a cable and buying one yourself can be very expensive (£500+).
The good news is that the installation of domestic charge points is subsidised by the UK government.
There are 3 decisions to be made when selecting the type of charge point for your car:
Tethered or Untethered
Tethered or Untethered
There is usually the choice of a ‘tethered’ cable (it is fixed to the charge point) or an ‘untethered’ cable (it plugs into and can be removed from the charge point).
Untethered has the advantage of allowing different cables to be connected (for example you can use the same charge point for a Nissan Leaf and a Renault ZOE). However, most people choose tethered because it avoids the inconvenience of connecting a cable whenever you need to charge (usually daily). It also reduces the risk of the cable being stolen.
A charge point with a tethered cable will usually cost more than an untethered one (typically about £50 more) because of the cost of its cable.
If you choose untethered you will need to use your own cable to connect to the car; it is the same cable that would be used to connect to a public charging point. It may come free with the car, for example the Renault ZOE or the Nissan Leaf with the 6.6kW charge option come with one. Otherwise you will need to buy one (we can advise you on suppliers).
All untethered domestic charge points supplied in the UK come with a Type 2 socket on the charge point, just as all public charge points now have (or at least officially should have) Type 2 sockets. Similarly all charge cables have a Type 2 plug at the charge point end.
If the cable is tethered then you need to tell the installer the type of plug you want at the car end. This will depend on the car:
Type 1 socket: Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Kia Soul EV
Type 2 socket: Renault ZOE, BMW i3, VW e-Golf and Hyundai IONIQ
The Type 2 or ‘Mennekes’ connector is the official standard in Europe and should eventually replace the Type 1.
A dedicated charge point can provide higher powers than a typical occasional use charging cable which will run at 10 Amps, equivalent at 230 Volts to 2.3 kilowatts. The charge will take place at the highest power that both the charge point can provide and the car can use.
There are two common power levels:
16A = 3.5kW: This is the maximum charge level of the Nissan Leaf 3.3kW, the Mitsubishi Outlander and the VW e-Golf.
30A/32A = 7kW: This is the maximum charge level of the Nissan Leaf 6.6kW, BMW i3, Kia Soul EV and Hyundai IONIQ. The standard Renault ZOE can use this level, in fact anything up to 22kW.
The higher power reduces the charge time so a typical EV battery will charge in about 8 hours at 16A but in about 4 hours at 32A.
It may be best to install the highest power charge point you can afford; even if your current car can’t use all the power, the next one almost certainly will be able to.
Niro Plug-in Hybrid model on sale across Europe during Q3 2017
8.9 kWh High-capacity lithium-polymer battery pack and 1.6-litre GDI engine
Development engineers target pure-electric range over 55 kilometres
CO2 emissions targeted to fall below 30 g/km
Plug-in Hybrid crossover offers 324-litre cargo space and spacious cabin
Advanced energy-saving measures and unique styling features
Optional Towing Pack with 1,300 kg capacity
Kia Motors has today unveiled the Niro Plug-in Hybrid at the Geneva International Motor Show. The new derivative combines high versatility and crossover design appeal with maximum fuel efficiency from its advanced new plug-in hybrid powertrain.
The Niro Plug-in Hybrid will go on sale across Europe during Q3 2017, pairing an economical 1.6-litre GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine with a 8.9kWh high-capacity lithium-polymer battery pack. The latest addition to Kia’s hybrid crossover range substantially reduces emissions over the more conventional Niro hybrid – engineers are targeting CO2 emissions below 30 g/km (combined, New European Driving Cycle) and a zero-emissions pure-electric driving range of over 55 kilometres. Final electric range and CO2 emissions figures will be published closer to the car’s on-sale date.
Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer, Kia Motors Europe, commented:
“Annual sales of plug-in hybrid models in Europe are expected to grow to more than 600,000 units by the end of 2023, while the crossover market is also forecast to expand in the coming years. There is a clear demand from customers for a vehicle which combines the practicality and ‘cool’ image of a compact crossover with the ultra-low emissions of an advanced plug-in powertrain. The Niro Plug-in Hybrid will be the only car on the market to offer this combination.”
“The Niro Plug-in Hybrid is one of the latest low-emissions cars from Kia which will help the company achieve its global target for 2020 – to improve fuel efficiency by 25% compared with 2014 levels.”
The Niro Plug-in Hybrid is one of two low-emissions vehicles unveiled by Kia at the Geneva International Motor Show, alongside the new Optima Sportswagon Plug-in Hybrid.
The number of new cars registered in the UK hit a 12-year high in January, with electric vehicles taking a record share of the market, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The industry body had warned of a slowdown in the motor trade in 2017 because of the impact of the weak pound, but there was no sign of deceleration in the first monthly numbers of the year.
Drivers registered 174,564 cars in January, up 2.9% on last year, to reach the highest monthly level since 2005, the trade body said.
Alternative fuel vehicles, mainly electric cars, such as the Nissan Leaf, increased by a fifth to reach a record 4.2% share of new vehicle registrations, beating a previous high of 3.6% in November last year.
In April 2016, Jess Shanahan drove 2,500 miles across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland in an electric car – through cities, villages, national parks and more. Here, Jess shares her experiences and encounters of driving Route 57, the Great British & Irish Road Trip.
Plug-in hybrid Optima is a practical, tax-efficient PHEV that undercuts rivals and fulfils its main remit well
What is it?
Kia’s first plug-in hybrid, complete with the credibility-stretching fuel economy and emissions figures we’ve come to expect from cars of this type. The Optima PHEV combines the efforts of a normally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine and a 50kW electric motor to deliver a peak system output of 202bhp.
There will be more interest among company car drivers in the Optima’s price and CO2 figure. At £31,495 after the UK government’s £2500 plug-in incentive, it undercuts both the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Volkswagen Passat GTE, the VW by nearly £5000. The 9.8kW/h lithium ion polymer battery, which is located underneath the rear of the car, is powerful enough to deliver a claimed 33 miles of electric-only range, and because the official EUDC consumption test allows plug-ins to start with a full battery and finish with a depleted one, the Optima scores a 176.6mpg rating and 37g/km of CO2.
Getting anywhere close to those figures in the real world will mean lots of short journeys between charging stations, of course, and a little patience. Kia says the battery pack can be replenished from flat in three hours by a 240V domestic supply.
Although it is Kia’s first plug-in, the Optima PHEV is mechanically pretty much identical to the Hyundai Sonata PHEV already on sale in some markets. Like its sister, it uses a six-speed automatic gearbox rather than a CVT, with the electric motor effectively replacing the torque converter at low speeds. Thereafter it can either supplement the petrol engine or, in EV mode, power the car by itself at up to 75mph.
On 6th April 2016 Jess Shanahan set out from Plymouth on a 20 day journey across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland – finishing in Galway on 26th April.
The road trip, named Route 57 for its 57 ‘must see’ destinations along the way, included stops in cities, villages, forests, and national parks – documenting the journey with photos and video.
The route was designed by Jurys Inn Hotels, and driven in a Kia Soul EV supplied by DriveElectric, using electric car charging points (mapped out by ZapMap). The electric car saw the capital cities of four countries, was welcomed by 17 town and city mayors, stopped at motor museums, iconic landmarks, and drove through scenic landscapes including Dartmoor, the Brecon Beacons, the Lake District, The Cairngorms, Wicklow Mountains and more.
We can now supply the Kia Soul EV on PCP – further details below
We offer the Soul EV on 3 year PCP; this stands for Personal Contract Purchase and is currently the most popular way to buy a car because of its flexibility. You put down a low deposit, pay a monthly fee, and drive away a new carwith fuel included. At the end of the term you can choose to pay an optional lump sum and keep the car, or you can just give the car back and upgrade to the latest model.
It’s like a mobile phone contract, but with miles rather than minutes included.
The current price (from 26 May 2016) for 10,000 miles per year is £495 with a total of 10,000 miles of fuel (electricity) included.
Regarding range, Kia says:
Combined Driving Range: 132 miles (212 km). Please note that the homologated driving range quoted may not be fully representative of real world conditions.
We’d say this is optimistic, however the Soul does typically have a better range and more consistent range readout than most EVs. We suggest it has a range of 80-105 miles depending on ambient temperature and how you drive.
Coverage: We have bases and electric car suppliers in Milton Keynes, St Albans, London, Northampton, Bedford and Leicester allowing us to supply all around the Midlands (including London, Luton, Oxford, Rugby, Kettering, Coventry, Nottingham and Birmingham). However we can deliver all around the country – just contact us for details.
2,500 mile bucket list road trip is being driven for the first time this April.
The official ‘Route 57’ electric car will be hitting the road and heading through 57 must-see destinations across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The road trip runs from 6- 26 April, starting in Plymouth and ending in Galway, visiting villages, towns, and cities along the way.
Route 57 was designed as the UK and Ireland’s answer to US Route 66, by Jurys Inn Hotels who are supplying accommodation along the way, to the driver, motoring journalist Jess Shanahan. Jess will be doing the road trip in a KIA Soul EV supplied by electric car leasing company DriveElectric, and stopping at charging stations along the route, mapped out by ZapMap.
As well as promoting local tourism, the campaign’s use of an electric vehicle (EV) seeks to challenge common myths around electric cars. A recent survey by the AA (infographic available for use as long as credit with a link to source is given) shows that the ‘range’ of an EV is one of the top reasons why people are not buying electric cars. The Route 57 campaign will show that these perceptions do not match reality with today’s green car technology, and that an electric car can drive more than 2,580 miles across four countries.
Jess will be posting updates on the Route 57 website: www.route57.org.uk along with Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – and taking driving music suggestions through the Twitter hashtag #route57, or adding them directly to the Route 57 Spotify playlist. Audiobook suggestions are also welcome – Jess will be fittingly listening to Bill Bryson’s ‘Notes from a Small Island’ to begin with.