2019 Kia Niro EV vs 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

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The Kia Niro EV officially debuted in Europe as the Kia e-Niro at the recent Paris Motor Show in France. Even though it evidently shares many powertrain components with the Hyundai Kona EV, the Niro is a distinctly different vehicle.

Bjorn Nyland recently compared the interior and exterior design of the two cars side by side during a trip to South Korea where both are already on sale. Sales of the Niro EV and Kona Electric aren’t expected in the US until late 2018 or early 2019. Neither vehicle has US pricing details available yet.

The powertrain components share the same specifications. Documented illustrations and photos of those components make clear that they are, in fact, the same. The motors are rated for 201 horsepower (150 kilowatts) of output with a peak torque of 291 pound feet (395 Nm). Both have a battery pack energy capacity of 64 kWh using the same mostly flat shape (except for an extra stack of cells under the rear seat area). One difference — the Kona uses battery cells from South Korea’s LG whereas the Niro uses cells from LG’s Korean competitor SK Innovation.

The Niro has slightly larger dimensions and thus gets slightly lower driving range and efficiency scores although there aren’t any official US EPA number available yet. It is rated as 236 miles using South Korea’s test cycle was is closely based on the EPA cycle but can be slightly more pessimistic. The Kia US website says the range may be “up to 240 miles”. The Kona Electric is rated at 258 miles EPA.

Electric Revs recently drove the new Kona Electric and favorably reviewed it. Click on the link below to read that in-depth review.

See also: Hyundai’s Kona EV one-ups the Chevy Bolt EV, except…

 

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2 replies

  1. Jeff and others, can you please educate me on something. As you know, only Tesla uses NCA chemistry, all others use NMC. Does current state-of-the art NCA cells have more energy density than NMC (622 or 811)? If so, how much more? And does that mean Tesla cars have not only more range but they also have faster acceleration? (Please be specific, use certain electrical units with your explanation). Thank you.

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    • Yes, Tesla and Panasonic’s NCA chemistry cells have better energy density than any other mainstream commercial cell used in an EV today.

      The 18650 cylindrical cells used in the latest Model S and X are generally reported to be near 250 Wh per kg and just over 600 Wh per liter. They also use some added Silicon in the graphite anode. I’m not aware of consensus numbers for the new 2170 cells used in the Model 3 are not available yet. Unfortunately, the battery makers and car companies tend to be secretive about their exact cell specifications.

      The LG cells used in the Bolt EV, Kona Electric, and Jaguar I-PACE are likely the 622 variant of NMC although I’m only certain about that on the Kona. It is widely reported that NMC 811 is nearing commercial production for use in mainstream EVs but perhaps not until next year. NMC 811 may come closer to Tesla’s NCA but, again, I’m not aware of any definitive specifications yet. The downside is that NCA is a bit more prone to fire hazards but 811 may move NMC to be a bit more volatile as well. LG says their future cells may introduce some aluminum as they further reduce cobalt so the chemistries may in some sense be converging.

      You can find more details on this general topic in an article I wrote earlier this year:

      https://electricrevs.com/2018/03/09/jaguar-and-chevy-have-lg-in-common/

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