Friday, 20 Apr 2018
Tech

Kia: the Eco Dynamics range in tests on the French Riviera

Since 2015, Kia has been the official partner of EVER Monaco, bringing together experts, manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and institutional players in the Principality who work for the preservation of the environment and the development of electromobility. After a 1000 km road-trip between Paris and Monaco aboard a hybrid Niro and a Rechargeable Hybrid Optima, the Korean manufacturer invited this year some journalists to test on the roads of the Côte d? Azur the 5 models of its range Eco Dynamics. A range available in 3 alternative energies: Electric, Hybrid Rechargeable and Hybrid. Unfortunately, unlike the usual, the sun was not at the rendezvous near Monaco and the sometimes violent rain which invited on the azure roads slightly spoiled the pleasure of these tests, even if these were very informative. First rounds of Kia Niro rechargeable hybrid wheels For our part, these tests began aboard the Kia Niro Rechargeable Hybrid, the latest addition to the Eco Dynamics range, marketed in France since September 2017. From the Nice airport we took the direction of Antibes. motorway before entering the backcountry to cross Valbonne and Opio, then reach the beautiful high-rise villages of Bar-sur-Loup and Gourdon. Direction then towards the Colle-sur-Loup and the restaurant d ?? Alain Llorca , the former double-starred Chef of Negresco and Moulin de Mougins. We were able to cover the 55 km of this stage almost entirely in electric mode. The displayed autonomy of the Niro Hybrid Rechargeable is indeed 58 km and we were also able to enjoy the descent into the Gorges du Loup to play the regenerative braking system and recharge the lithium-ion battery of 8.9 kWh that equips the Niro Plug-in Hybrid. A battery associated with an electric motor of 44.5 kW (60.5 hp), nearly 40% more powerful than that of the classic hybrid model. Throughout the course, the behavior of this crossover has proved excellent and provides an undeniable pleasure to drive. Presentation of the range at the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel After lunch, departure for Monaco by the Seaside road via the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, then Villefranche and Beaulieu. Arrival at the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel, the splendid charming hotel of the Principality in which officiates Paolo Sari , a Michelin-starred chef specializing in organic products that magnifies local products. But before enjoying his cuisine, place at the press conference of the CEO of Kia France, Marc Hedrich , who introduced us to the entire Eco Dynamics range which is now the third pillar of the brand after the quality symbolized by the famous guarantee of 7 years and the design to which the German Peter Schreyer has brought a touch very appreciated. In 2017, the Eco Dynamics range represented 12% of total Kia sales volume in France. It is composed of 5 models. An electric: the Kia Soul EV, three Rechargeable Hybrids (PHEV): Niro, Optima SW and Optima sedan, as well as a hybrid (HEV): Niro. A last model that we could test the next morning, first on the Moyenne Corniche to Nice, then back by forking to Eze to take the Haute Corniche through Turbie from where l ?? we dominate the whole Principality and beyond. A course on which this Niro, which occupies the 5th place of sales in France in the hybrid segment, has demonstrated excellent stability and good road performance. Back in Kia Soul EV After a visit by the Grimaldi Forum to visit the various stands of the EVER Monaco exhibition, the end of the trials was profiled. The return to the airport took place at the wheel of the 100% electric vehicle in the range: Soul EV. Launched in 2014, the Kia Soul EV is the first electric crossover on the market. Last year, it benefited from an optimization of its lithium-ion battery which went from 27 to 30 kWh of energy capacity. It still slices on the market with its original design with its front characterized by a large grille incorporating the charging sockets. A line on which the opinions are shared but which has a lot of supporters since the Soul EV ranks in 4th position of sales of electric vehicles in France for the 1st quarter of 2018. It must be said that in addition to its new style, the Soul EV also has strong arguments with its engine of 81.4 kW (110 hp) developing a torque of 285 Nm and its battery of 30 kWh giving him a range of 250 km (NEC cycle). Performance certainly exceeded by the Renault Zoe or the new Nissan Leaf but are still very honorable. The Soul EV is also very pleasant to drive, including in dantesque conditions, in the heavy rain that fell on the highway towards Nice Airport. An unexpected way to discover another aspect of the qualities of this electric vehicle. The expected Kia Niro Electric at the Mondial de l’Auto If the Soul EV will undergo an evolution in the next years, for the moment Kia concentrates in the matter of 100% electric vehicle on the next exit of the Electric Kia Niro. Marc Hedrich confirmed during these tests that the global launch of this model would take place at the beginning of October at the Mondial Paris Motor Show. A launch that will not be a simple effect of announcement since it will also mark the beginning of the marketing of this Niro Electric whose first copies are expected from dealers in late October. The leaders of Kia France have not yet wanted to reveal the technical characteristics of the Niro EV, simply suggesting that its autonomy would be truly 500 km with a battery supporting ultra-fast loads. Its characteristics, however, should not be very far from those of the concept car presented in January at the CES in Las Vegas. A model that had a 64 kWh battery powering an electric motor with a power of 150kW. With such performances, the Niro EV would have a nice card to play on the French market.

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