Kia Motors has already announced investment of around United States dollars 1.1 billion to set up a manufacturing unit in Andhra Pradesh. It'll go hand in hand with the automaker's plans for connected and autonomous cars, too.
On its global driverless vehicles programme, the company said, "Kia aims to commercialise Level 4 autonomous vehicles in smart cities from 2021 with a new Smart City pilot project". But Kia says this Niro EV Concept showcases significant tech advances and a range of 238 miles - which would put it right up against the Chevrolet Bolt EV and better than a standard Tesla Model 3's range. A compact SUV that's fully electric, it's been designed with aerodynamic slipperiness in mind, though also serves as a test bed for some of Kia's other technologies in progress.
At CES, Kia also showed off the Niro EV Concept, said to be next-step in the brand's journey towards electrification. Since there's no need for engine cooling, the grille is replaced by an interactive display panel. An Active Pedestrian Warning System on the show auto uses a variety of sensors to spot potential "obstacles" and can sound an alert if a pedestrian walks in front of the vehicle.
The Niro EV is expected on sale later this year and is one of 16 electrified vehicles Kia will launch by 2025.
Kia will display three different cockpit designs that show how their technologies can be adapted by future vehicles.
The cabin features a wrap-around design and mixes silver, grey, and bronze colors. A 150 kW (201 hp) receives energy from a 64 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack, which has a claimed driving range of 383 km. While Kia envisions owners using face recognition and voice control to "log-in" to their cars in the future.
Interestingly, Kia says the concept "draws inspiration from" the existing Niro, though it looks pretty close indeed to us. There are cameras and speakers mounted on the front of the vehicle.
Kia also announced that it will expand its WiBLE auto sharing service - which launched in Korea a year ago - to select European cities in 2018. If the concept has any bearing on a future production Niro EV, it won't simply be a rebodied version of the Hyundai Ioniq EV, which has a 110-mile range.