RAY MASSEY: Kia's new Niro EV is power blackout buster

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Should the energy crunch lead to home power blackouts this winter, owners of Kia’s new and award-winning Niro EV may be well placed to cope. 

While they won’t be able to charge their car, they could make use of any juice left in the vehicle’s battery, allowing them to use it to power up their freezer to stop the contents spoiling, microwave food, or run standard lamps to stave off a blackout. 

The car comes equipped with a so-called ‘­vehicle to device’ function. Plug one end into the slot in the grille where you’d normally charge your car, and at the other end is a conventional domestic plug socket — the EV power pack is bi-directional and so it becomes your own mobile power station. 

Makes light work: You can tap in to the Niro EV’s battery in a home emergency

Makes light work: You can tap in to the Niro EV’s battery in a home emergency

Most of the time, however, the Korean car with a seven-year warranty is there to be driven and I’ve been doing just that. 

Not quite a hot hatch, it’s still surprisingly nippy with a good bit of pace and more fun that you’d expect from a comfortable and flexible family runaround. 

The pure electric Niro EV range starts from £36,757 for the entry level Niro 2. 

I drove the well-stocked midrange Niro EV 3, priced from £39,495, though an optional £900 heat pump (to pre-warm the car on cold days) pushed the final price as driven to £40,395. Powered by an electric motor with single – speed automatic transmission and a 64.8kWh lithium ion battery, and riding on 17in alloy wheels, the Niro EV accelerates from rest to 62mph in 7.8 seconds up to a top speed of 103mph. 

Most of the time, however, the Korean car with a seven-year warranty is there to be driven

Most of the time, however, the Korean car with a seven-year warranty is there to be driven

If not ready to switch, there's a petrol hybrid from £28,245 and a plug-in from £34,025

If not ready to switch, there’s a petrol hybrid from £28,245 and a plug-in from £34,025

The pure electric Niro EV range starts from £36,757 for the entry level Niro 2

The pure electric Niro EV range starts from £36,757 for the entry level Niro 2

Owners could make use of any juice left in the vehicle's battery, allowing them to use it to power up their freezer to stop the contents spoiling

Owners could make use of any juice left in the vehicle’s battery, allowing them to use it to power up their freezer to stop the contents spoiling

Average full charge range is a decent 285 miles (375 miles around cities)

Average full charge range is a decent 285 miles (375 miles around cities)

Not quite a hot hatch, it's still surprisingly nippy with a good bit of pace and more fun that you'd expect from a comfortable and flexible family runaround

Not quite a hot hatch, it’s still surprisingly nippy with a good bit of pace and more fun that you’d expect from a comfortable and flexible family runaround

It comes with a larger 10.25in touchscreen with satnav, cloth and faux leather upholstery, rear privacy glass, blind spot collision avoidance and adjustable multi-angle rear seats

It comes with a larger 10.25in touchscreen with satnav, cloth and faux leather upholstery, rear privacy glass, blind spot collision avoidance and adjustable multi-angle rear seats

Charging times range from nine hours 25 minutes on an AC 7.2kW wall charger up to around 45 minutes on DC rapid chargers

Charging times range from nine hours 25 minutes on an AC 7.2kW wall charger up to around 45 minutes on DC rapid chargers

The car comes equipped with a so-called'­vehicle to device' function so it becomes your own mobile power station

The car comes equipped with a so-called ‘­vehicle to device’ function so it becomes your own mobile power station

Average full charge range is a decent 285 miles (375 miles around cities). 

Charging times range from nine hours 25 minutes on an AC 7.2kW wall charger up to around 45 minutes on DC rapid chargers. 

It comes with a larger 10.25in touchscreen with satnav, cloth and faux leather upholstery, rear privacy glass, blind spot collision avoidance and adjustable multi-angle rear seats. 

If not ready to switch, there’s a petrol hybrid from £28,245 and a plug-in from £34,025.

Will it fit in my garage? KIA Niro EV ‘3’

Price from: £39,495

Price as driven: £40,395 (with optional £900 heat-pump)

EV range price: from £36,757

Length: 4420mm

Width: 1825mm

Height: 1570mm

Wheelbase: 2720mm

Kerb weight: 1739kg

Gross weight: 2200kg

Propulsion: Electric motor

Power: 201bhp

Battery: 64.8kWh Lithium ion

Gears: single speed automatic transmission

0-62mph: 7.8 seconds

Top speed: 103mph

Wheels: 17 inch alloys

Towing: 750kg braked capacity

Average range: 285 miles

City range: 375 miles

Luggage space: Rear seats upright – 475 litres, Rear seats folded – 1392 litres

Charging times

AC slow charger (domestic plug): 27 hours 30 minutes

AC fast charger (7.2kW wall charger): 9 hours 25 minutes

AC fast charger (11kW 3-phase charger): 6 hours 20 minutes

DC rapid charger (50kW): 1 hr 5 mins

DC rapid charger (100kW): 45 mins

DC rapid charger (300kW): 43 mins

Other Kia Niro prices

Petrol hybrid price: from £28,245

Petrol PHEV price: from £34,025

FEATURES

Seven year warranty

Larger 10.25-inch touchscreen with sat-nav

Cloth and faux leather upholstery

Front parking sensors

Keyless smart entry and start

Heated front seats and steering wheel.

Privacy glassDriver lumbar support

Highway Driving Assist

Blind Spot Collision Avoidance

Wireless smartphone charger

Adjustable multi-angle rear seats.

Optional heat pump

Vehicle-to-Device functionality with a three-pin plug socket

Tesla launched landmark supercharger

Tesla has launched its landmark 1,000th supercharger in the British Isles. 

It is at the newly opened London ­Sidcup Supercharger site at Ruxley Manor which has 15 charging bays plus a restaurant, cafe, grocery store, garden centre, hand car wash and lavatories. 

Tesla supercharger posts can now be found at more than 100 UK locations and it has this year opened 177 new ‘stalls’ and 17 new locations across the UK and Ireland, including Dublin and stretching from ­Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands to the Eurotunnel terminal at Folkestone. 

Expanding network: Tesla supercharger posts can now be found at more than 100 UK locations

Expanding network: Tesla supercharger posts can now be found at more than 100 UK locations

Last November Tesla launched a supercharger pilot scheme to allow non-Tesla cars to use the network

Last November Tesla launched a supercharger pilot scheme to allow non-Tesla cars to use the network

Last November Tesla launched a supercharger pilot scheme to allow non-Tesla cars to use the network. 

That has been expanded to 15 stations and 158 individual superchargers. 

Tesla said: ‘It’s always been our ambition to open the network to encourage more drivers to go electric.’

Drivers skimping on vehicle maintenance  

Eight in ten (79 per cent) drivers aged 18 to 34 are skimping on key vehicle maintenance checks as the cost of living crisis bites. Nearly a third (28 per cent) have held off their annual service or put off changing their oil (30 per cent). 

Key tyre checks have also been put on hold with 30 per cent of younger drivers admitting postponing fixing a puncture, and 28 per cent delaying changing tyres with low tread. 

Credit crunch: Eight in ten drivers aged 18 to 34 are skimping on key vehicle maintenance checks as the cost of living crisis bites

Credit crunch: Eight in ten drivers aged 18 to 34 are skimping on key vehicle maintenance checks as the cost of living crisis bites

Key tyre checks have also been put on hold with 30 per cent of younger drivers admitting postponing fixing a puncture, and 28 per cent delaying changing tyres with low tread

Key tyre checks have also been put on hold with 30 per cent of younger drivers admitting postponing fixing a puncture, and 28 per cent delaying changing tyres with low tread

Overall, some 15 per cent of all drivers said their annual car service is on the backburner because of the rise in living costs, with 11 per cent avoiding paying out for necessary tyre changes. 

Neil Greig, head of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, said: ‘Young people are likely to be hit hardest by rising costs.

‘Servicing doesn’t just look good in a log book, it’s there for a reason, and can pick up a range of safety issues.’ 

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