It was bound to happen to EVs eventually. No matter how mind-blowingly, world-changingly incredible an idea starts out, it will invariably reach the realm of the mundane before too long. Just look at smartphones, maglev trains and avocado toast.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s that vanillaness, that no-nonsense lack of flair, that makes the Kia Niro EV so great. I’ll tell you right now: it’s not going to turn heads (even when I honked), nor is it going to smoke sports cars off the starting line (unless you have a head start).
What it is going to to do is get you, your friends and all of your gear where you’re going in relative comfort and safety without stomping all over your budget.
The Niro EV that we drove through the streets of Santa Cruz and Monterey, California was the same model that we first saw — and were rather smitten with — last November at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It’s got the same 64 kWh battery driving a motor putting out 200 hp and 291 lb/ft of torque. The Niro also sports an estimated 240 mile range thanks to its novel liquid-cooled battery design that keeps the vehicle’s 1,000-plus pounds of power packs at their most efficient operating temperature.