Kia’s ‘spicy’ electric concept car makes an over-the-top debut at NY Auto Show


Kia’s new electric car is called the Niro EV. Now its electric concept car is the HabaNiro. Get it?

If the name is already too much, you won’t be able to handle the ridiculous details about the crossover compact SUV shown at the New York International Auto Show Wednesday.

First, the not-so-hot-and-spicy specs: it’s an all-electric, all-wheel drive, four-seater with 300-mile range and full autonomy capability with butterfly-wing doors. 

While the HabaNiro is just an idea, it could pave the way for future electric vehicles beyond the Niro, which recently went all electric after debuting as a hybrid vehicle a few years ago.

The outside of the HabaNiro naturally includes “lava red” panels on its sides and a “shark’s snout” grille up front with what Kia calls a slit-like gap with glossy black aluminum “teeth.” The wheels are widely set, so the car looks pretty stocky. 

Inside the car, it’s very techy, with a retractable steering wheel for when the car is at maximum Level-5 autonomy and the occupants need more space. Instead of a rearview mirror, a 180-degree rear view display pops up whenever you glance in the area where a mirror usually is. 

An eye tracking and emotion reader, shown at CES, follow the driver and judge their emotional state. The car can then change based on whether the driver seems angry, happy, or annoyed. 

Kia says it won’t use this technology to manipulate drivers (like the car deciding to take you to a taco shop when you seem hungry), but it shows the potential to combine AI with cars.

It’s all very futuristic compared to what’s actually available in electric cars today, but it’s good to dream. Maybe those butterfly-wing doors will actually happen…eventually. 

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