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2021 Kia e-Niro due in Australia in next six months: Hyundai Kona and MG ZS EV rival still on the way

Kia's much-discussed-but-not-yet-materialised e-Niro is still on the way for Australia.

Kia Australia has been talking about two new smaller SUVs quite a bit over the last two years, and while we have confirmation of the conventionally-powered Stonic light SUV joining the fray early in 2021, we have heard little on the e-Niro front in some time.

The e-Niro is planned to be the brand’s first all-electric car in Australia and was originally slated for an early 2020 launch, however, demand out of Europe put a premature stop on the brand’s ability to actually import examples.

Speaking to media at a briefing in Sydney, though, the brand’s local chief operating officer, Damien Meredith, said the e-Niro was well and truly in the works, with an arrival in the first half of 2021 very much on the cards.

“[The e-Niro] should be joining us in the next six months, the first half of next year – It’s coming we’re just not sure when,” said Mr Meredith, with the brand’s manager of product planning, Roland Rivero, adding: “We’re working on it.”

The issue thus far has been green incentives in markets like Western Europe driving demand up, and also putting the pressure on brands to lower their fleet CO2 emissions.

Kia's Korean parent company has been focusing its EV efforts primarily on Europe. Kia's Korean parent company has been focusing its EV efforts primarily on Europe.

Much like VW, Kia’s original plan was to potentially skip hybrids and plug-ins altogether and go straight to all-electric vehicles, but that strategy changed, with Mr Rivero telling CarsGuide in September Kia's strategy had shifted to a “green car” strategy rather than an EV-only one.

The e-Niro has been available in left-hand-drive markets (primarily its home market of Korea and the US) for some time with a 64kWh battery pack good for an estimated driving range of 385km. Using a 100kW fast-charger (few of which are available in Australia), the e-Niro can charge from 10 to 80 per cent in 54 minutes.

The e-Niro shares its 150kW/395Nm outputs with its Hyundai sister product, the Kona Electric. The brand says this is good for a 0-100km/h time of 7.8 seconds.

While specification is yet to be locked in for the right-hand-drive version which will eventually arrive in Australia, overseas variants have a high level of standard active safety including auto emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, as well as lane-keep assist. Cargo space on overseas variants comes in at 451 litres.

Like the Kona Electric, the e-Niro has a decent range proposition for Australian consumers. Like the Kona Electric, the e-Niro has a decent range proposition for Australian consumers.

Kia’s representatives said supply would be limited across its range, at least for early 2021, but that a dip in demand out of Europe due to pandemic conditions had allowed it to secure supply of vehicles like the Stonic.

Mr Rivero explained that in the past, the Australian division had to choose between a product like Stonic and Seltos, but things had since changed, particularly with the relative success of Seltos.

Meanwhile, the brand internationally announced a follow-up not-yet-revealed all-electric SUV would be the second car to arrive on Hyundai Motor Group's new e-GMP platform, and its key VW rival reiterated that its range of ID electric vehicles were still as far out as 2023 for an Australian arrival.

Stay tuned as we find out more about Kia's 2021 range early next year.