The next generation Kia Niro EV will face a new pricing issue as it gets released later this year.
The Kia Niro has been Kia’s budget EV offering since its inception, and with the next generation coming to the US later this year, it is expected to continue filling that role. But, with a far more competitive market and the current generation’s price tag of $39,990, Kia finds itself in a difficult situation.
The Fully Charged Show recently got the chance to get hands-on with Kia’s next generation of Niro EV. They point out that this vehicle isn’t for the customer looking for a performance car, a luxury offering, or even a super-large family hauler. The Kia Niro EV is simple, efficient, and (relatively) affordable transportation. Or at least it was before the Kia EV6 was released.
When the Kia Niro EV entered the market, it joined the likes of the Hyundai Kona and the Chevrolet Bolt in the battle of the affordable electric vehicle. But since then, the Bolt has become significantly cheaper (starting at $31,500 without incentive), and Kia’s new EV6 has been introduced for only $2,000 more.
But how does the new vehicle perform? Does it make up for this price discrepancy with the Bolt? Not really. The new Kia Niro EV has the same powertrain as the previous generation, only gaining three miles of estimated range (a number most would consider “in the noise”) and using the same 200-horsepower single motor front-wheel-drive system. Furthermore, it retains the same 80kW maximum charging rate, meaning that it will take over 40 minutes to charge the battery from 10-80%. And while the interior is certainly more exciting, as the Fully Charged Show notes in their video, is it $8,000 better than the Chevy Bolt?
Where things get particularly grim for Kia is with the news of the tax incentives. Because the vehicle is not assembled in the US, it will not qualify, hence forcing buyers to pay the full price (unless they have access to State level funding, which still may not qualify).
Kia has not officially released a starting price for the upcoming vehicle, and that is likely due to the metal gymnastics they are currently doing. If they enter the market again at around $39,000, the Chevy Bolt and any other upcoming affordable EV will have a significant leg up on them. At the same time, batteries, chips, and other materials have increased the building costs of these vehicles, making it quite hard to keep prices low. Could Kia introduce the vehicle as a loss leader in order to maintain market share? The full reveal of the vehicle later this year will likely answer that question.
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