If the Kia Niro EV looks anything like this in the future, we'll be very happy.
Kia has unveiled its vision of the future of electric vehicles at the 2019 New York Auto Show, and it's certainly caught our attention. It's called the HabaNiro Concept, a fully-electric, all-wheel drive electric crossover with a bold design and advanced autonomous technology that previews the "future of mobility where automobiles will seamlessly integrate design, capability, usefulness and creativity." If the Kia Niro EV looks anything like this in the future, we'll be very happy.
Kia claims the HabaNiro creates a new category of mobility it calls the "Everything Car" (ECEV). To translate the marketing jargon, this means it can be used as a commuter, crossover, sport utility, workroom, and adventure vehicle.
The striking design features protective metallic grey cladding encompassing the front wheels and extends onto the body sides contrasted by a bright "Lava Red" aero panel that defines the C-pillar and extends up and over the roof. The grille resembles a shark's snout, and the EV chassis architecture allowed the wheels to be pushed to the corners, giving the HabaNiro a wide and aggressive stance. Short overhangs, wide hips, and rugged 20-inch wheels also give the EV a muscular appearance. Satin aluminum skid plates, milled billet aluminum tow hooks, anodized Lava Red aluminum accents, and the embossed HabaNiro name complement the concept's premium look.
The Kia HabaNiro features "advanced state of the art battery technology" providing a range of over 300 miles. Power is sent to all four wheels via two electric motors, but Kia hasn't revealed the power output.
Open the butterfly doors, and you'll be greeted with a spacious, futuristic interior with a vibrant Lava Red trim and fabric-trimmed front seats that appear to float. You'll also immediately notice the lack of rectangular screens and traditional control knobs and buttons. Instead, the HabaNiro features a full-width front windshield Heads-Up Display system controlled by a concave acrylic instrument panel featuring a large touchpad display with Sensory Light Feedback.
When the level-five autonomous driving system is activated, the steering wheel and instrument panel retract forward to provide more room for the front occupants. Media or other entertainment can then be displayed on the full-width HUD video system.
The HabaNiro also features Kia's new Real-time Emotion Adaptive Driving System introduced at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, which can optimize and personalize a vehicle cabin space by analyzing a driver's emotional state in real-time through artificial intelligence-based bio-signal recognition technology. It can monitor the driver's emotions and tailor the interior environment accordingly. A 180-degree rearview video display also uses AI-based emotional intelligence to monitor when the driver looks up to the top of the windshield where conventional rear view mirrors are traditionally located.
While the Kia HabaNiro may seem like an outlandish concept will never be built, it could enter production in the future, albeit without butterfly doors. The Korean automaker points out that the Stinger and Telluride were inspired by concept cars, so don't rule out the HabaNiro going into production just yet.