Mileage: 932 miles
Effectivity: three.6 miles/kWh
Spring has sprung, and that looks like an appropriately inexperienced time of 12 months to get our palms on the new Kia e-Niro.
It is a mannequin that might symbolize a brand new starting for mainstream electrical automobiles – much more so than its sister, the Hyundai Kona Electrical, and the ever-popular Nissan Leaf. In spite of everything, the Kia’s glorious 282-mile WLTP mixed driving vary is on par with the 64kWh Kona’s, however the e-Niro is a bit cheaper and usefully extra spacious.
My way of life must be an excellent problem for it. I are inclined to do a jaunt into central London each week, involving a 60-mile spherical journey of round 70 per cent motorway and 30 per cent very sluggish city stuff. On high of that I’m typically off on longer journeys for enterprise or to see family and friends, which is able to put a highlight on the general public charging infrastructure, regardless of the Kia’s vary.
I’m additionally eager to search out out what impact battery upkeep may have on how far we are able to go. In my function as affiliate editor for DrivingElectric.com – Auto Specific’s sister title – I get a great deal of queries about one of the best ways to take care of batteries, and we all know from varied knowledgeable engineers that protecting the automotive between 20 per cent and 80 per cent charged is finest apply. Apparently, doing so may even enhance the driving vary, so we’ll strive that and learn how it goes.
On high of that, temperature can be a priority, given its big impression on battery efficiency. So we’ll be paying shut consideration to how the bungeeing climate circumstances of a British spring have an effect on the Kia.
Presently we’re seeing what I think is a worst-case state of affairs, with a variety of roughly 230 miles in chilly climate and driving an unusually great amount on the motorway within the first few weeks. We’ll see how time, higher climate, extra measured charging and a bit extra city use change that.
Our e-Niro is a First Version. That is the one trim at the moment out there and comes with all the pieces you might need, together with leather-based, heated seats, and the wonderful nav and media touchscreen, full with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Wi-fi telephone charging, local weather management, and even adaptive cruise with lane-keep help (which give a semi-autonomous mode) are additionally fitted.
The one choice we’ve got is premium Graphite metallic paint, at £565, and the one options I think I would miss are LED headlights and a head-up show. Nonetheless, that’s hardly an enormous drawback on a automotive that guarantees such nice worth for a long-range EV.
And sure, I do know you most likely can’t pay money for one for a 12 months; the Kia is all bought out for 2019, due to battery-supply points. Nonetheless, firm sources inform us that the issue will start to ease subsequent 12 months and provide must be again to regular by the tip of 2020. With different companies – notably Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall – launching electrical automobiles within the subsequent 12 months utilizing batteries from the identical supply, let’s hope that’s proper.
Apart from the key cloud of a 12-month wait on present e-Niro orders, the keenness and enthusiasm for the automotive are outstanding. There’s such goodwill for it from each quarter, and we’ve already been stopped a number of occasions by random events who need to know extra. It feels just like the Kia actually is making a dent within the wider shopping for public’s conscience, moderately than merely intriguing the electric-car fanatics.
On a non-electric, however equally vital, notice, I even have an enormous canine and a two-year-old daughter, so I want an enormous boot and a sturdy inside if the Kia is to face the take a look at of many months of muddy boots and paws.
So there’s the crux of it: how a lot will the vary fluctuate, and may we enhance it simply by taking care of the battery rigorously? How does the general public charging infrastructure stand as much as common lengthy motorway journeys? And is that this an excellent household automotive?
In spite of everything, regardless of how far it goes, if it makes your child sick and the canine depressing (or vice versa), no quantity of saving the planet or our cash might be price it.
Lastly, whereas the Kia e-Niro already looks like a flat-out game-changer, it nonetheless must justify its price. And you will get spectacular diesel or petrol household automobiles for a similar value, not least of which is the Skoda Kodiaq.
*Insurance coverage quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three factors.