A Hyundai test driver gave us the finger (with a big smile on his face) about a year ago for no apparent reason whatsoever and now sister brand Kia has decided to “greet” us in the exact same way. Probably not thrilled to see the camera in front of him, the Niro EV’s test driver flipped us the bird upon seeing the photographer was taking shots of the camouflaged prototype while it was being tested in Germany on public roads along with the closely related Kona EV.
Impolite gesture aside, it’s actually the first time we’re seeing the zero-emissions Niro out in the open. Already partially electrified by featuring a plug-in hybrid powertrain, the small crossover will lose the combustion engine altogether to become a full EV in 2018 when it will adapt hardware borrowed from the Ioniq Electric. Kia’s Chief Operating Officer in Europe, Michael Cole, made the reveal at the beginning of the year, so we’re past the rumor phase.
Visible in some of the adjacent images, the Kona EV was spotted nearly a month ago recharging its battery pack. Speaking of which, rumor has it Hyundai will sell the pure electric crossover with a choice of two battery packs: 40 kWh and 64 kWh. With the latter, range between charges should stand at approximately 210 miles (334 kilometers) based on the EPA’s test cycle.
That being said, Hyundai said during the regular Kona’s international launch event the EV variant will have enough juice for more than 242 miles (390 km), but chances are the company was referring to the range in the less realistic New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).
The Kona equipped with the bigger battery is expected to cost just under $40,000 when it will go on sale in the United States sometime next year as a 2019MY. No details about how much the Niro EV will cost, but we’re not expecting any major differences between the two electric crossovers.