In the world of automotive reporting, there is one answer that is the most common we hear when we ask about the future of any vehicle. It begins, "We cannot comment on future ..." Yet, automakers do comment on the future of their models on a daily basis through new product announcements and other promotions. Just not when asked. That is why Kia's reply to our inquiry this week about the Niro EV's future was so refreshing.
We reached out to Kia's James Bell. Mr. Bell is Director of Corporate Communications and Social Media at Kia Motors America. With Kia's sales of the Niro hovering around just 100 per month, and with Kia confirming that it is shifting much of its available EV inventory to Europe, we wondered if the model would end up pulled from the market. It has happened before.
Chevy pulled the plug on its Volt while it was a top seller. Honda has moved the wildly popular Clarity PHEV to California only (unless you want to special order one without a test drive).
When we looked at the Kia public site this week for information on the 2020 Niro EV we found that the 2019 info was still up. At the Kia media site, again, the Niro Hybrid info has been updated 2020, but the Niro EV was not updated.
We asked Mr. Bell if the Niro EV would return for 2020 and his answer was clear. He said, "The Niro EV will continue in the Kia line up and is an important part of our future plans." Rarely do we get such a firm answer when asking about the future of any model.
The Niro EV is important to us for a number of reasons. First, it is one of the best EVs we have ever driven. When we drove it back to back with the Tesla Model 3 SR Plus it had many advantages over the more costly Tesla. Also, it is a very practical EV given its outstanding storage capacity. Last, we just found it a blast to drive and want to buy one of our own when the time is right.
We look forward to seeing the Niro EV on the road and in driveways near us in the year to come and beyond.
John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career and dedicated himself to chasing his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and connect with him at Linkedin.