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Monday, May 2, 2022

Could The 2023 Niro Plus Be Kia Philippines' First EV?


Along with a new logo and tagline, Kia Philippines also announced their intention of bringing in all-electric vehicles through “purpose-built vehicles.” At the time, the announcement didn’t carry much in terms of technical detail. However, that’s all changed as Kia officially unveils their “purpose-built vehicle” strategy, and get this, it’s a global initiative after all.

At first, it seemed like Kia Philippines was pointing to something like the K-Series EV. However, it is becoming clear that PBVs do not necessarily point to light-duty trucks. Instead, they are referring to vehicles riding on a dedicated platform which will be similar in size to a mid-sized vehicle. Due out by 2025, it will have the flexibility to accommodate different shapes and sizes to meet the evolving needs of customers and market trends.


An example of Kia’s PBV strategy is the repurposing of its first-generation Niro EV into the Niro Plus (see lead photo). It will be deployed as a zero emissions taxi and ride hailing vehicle in its home market of Korea.

After that, the Niro Plus will also be made available for private owners, specifically those engaged in small businesses.

The best news is that the general, non-taxi version of the Niro Plus will be made available in select overseas markets starting the second half of 2022. It will be made available not just in pure electric (EV), but in plug-in hybrid, and hybrid variants as well. This ties in nicely with what Kia Philippines said that these PBVs will be sourced from South Korea.


For its role as a taxi model in Korea, however, Kia has made enhancements to meet the robust demands of operators there. The length and height of the Niro Plus taxi model have increased by 10 mm and 80 mm respectively (compared to the first-generation Niro without roof rack), to give occupants more space inside the cabin. Slimmed-down structures have also contributed to the greater cabin space, with the Niro Plus taxi model featuring thinner seats and door trims compared to the original Niro EV. Additional passenger safety and convenience features including door reflectors and assist handles are also available in both the taxi and general versions.

An integrated All-in-One Display greatly improves convenience and safety for the driver, by removing the need for multiple devices and screens. The display will include all information relevant for taxi drivers to seamlessly go about their work, including navigation, app taximeter, digital tachograph, and voice recognition. The system will also include data on relevant points of interest and locations of nearby EV charging stations.

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