Today Kia Motors America (KMA) unveiled its vision of the future of electric vehicles at the new York International Auto Show. The HabaNiro concept is a fully-electric, all-wheel drive, four-seat car with an All Electric Range (AER) of more than 300 miles, level-five autonomous mode, butterfly wing doors and more advanced tech than what helped land men on the moon.
However, it’s still a concept. Kia claims this is no fanciful supercar that will likely never be built, but a look into the future of mobility where automobiles allegedly will seamlessly integrate design, capability, usefulness and creativity.
“We wanted this concept to be comfortable navigating city streets, carving turns on a coastal road and off-roading with confidence to remote wilderness adventures,” said Tom Kearns, vice president of design for Kia Design Center America (KDCA). “We imagined a car for everyone and nearly everything. Then, when we saw the finished product, we were blown away by the imagination of the HabaNiro’s creators and its laboratory of technology and we want it in our driveways. Today.”
With 20-inch wheels, short overhangs and big haunches, the HabaNiro in design babble shows “coiled muscularity and capability, whether you’re on a grocery run, en route to a meeting or in search of a remote fishing hole.”
A New Category of Vehicle?
The HabaNiro is a compact crossover utility vehicle (what else) in terms of existing industry category language. It’s essentially an all-electric commuter, crossover, sport utility, technology workroom and adventure vehicle.
The HabaNiro design is an (alert – more styling babble) “energetic interplay between the protective metallic grey cladding that encompasses the front wheels and extends onto the body sides and the bright Lava Red aero panel that defines the C-pillar and extends up and over the roof. These two elements create a vibrant energy and a forward-leaning posture that suggests the HabaNiro is ready to launch. This latent forward energy is reinforced by the single elegant character line that wraps around the front end, extends through the shoulder, and ends dynamically pointed at the rear wheels.”
The scissor-like opening of the HabaNiro’s four butterfly-wing doors claims to hint at its future – don’t hold your breath – interior design. The Lava Red interior is airy, accented by the bouclé fabric-trimmed front seats. Contributing to the interior’s clean and appearance is the absence of rectangular screens and traditional control knobs and buttons. Instead, the HabaNiro features a full-width front windshield Heads-Up Display (HUD) system controlled by a concave acrylic instrument panel that is a large interactive touchpad display with Sensory Light Feedback (SLF). Technical Option Sharing System (TOSS) allows users to swipe and move vehicle options across the HUD screen as though moving chess pieces.
HabaNiro’s occupants are kept comfortable by a slim Perimeter Ventilation System (PVS) that quietly and evenly blows a curtain of air throughout the cabin. A soft ambient glow shines through the geometrically-patterned floor, creating movement that reflects onto surfaces within the cabin. The Lighting Color Effect (LCE) can be dimmed or brightened, and the hue can be modified to impact the mood of the interior environment.
When HabaNiro’s part-time level-five autonomous driving system is engaged the steering wheel and instrument panel retract forward to provide more room for the front occupants. (Again, this could be a long time off) Media or other entertainment, such as a movie for a long highway haul, can be displayed on the full-width HUD video system.
HabaNiro features Kia’s new Real-time Emotion Adaptive Driving (R.E.A.D.) System introduced earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show. R.E.A.D. can optimize and personalize a vehicle cabin space by analyzing a driver’s emotional state in real-time through artificial intelligence-based bio-signal recognition technology. The technology tailors the interior environment according to its assessment – potentially altering conditions relating to the human senses within the cabin and in turn creating a more pleasurable and safer driving experience.
R.E.A.D. also enables the HabaNiro’s Eye Tracking System (ETS) with 180° rearview video display. The system uses AI-based emotional intelligence to monitor when the driver looks up to the top of the windshield where conventional rear-view mirrors are located. The AI immediately senses the driver’s need to see behind the vehicle and instantly activates the 180° rearview video display.
Into the Future?
Some will assume the HabaNiro concept will never be built. During the past 18 months, Kia has launched two vehicles, the Stinger and the Telluride, from concepts that captured the public’s imagination..
o Length: 4430 mm/ 171 inches
o Height: 1600 mm/ 63 inches
o Width: 1955 mm/ 77 inches
o Wheelbase: 2830 mm/ 111.5 inches
Powertrain and battery
o e-AWD supplied by two electric motors, fore and aft
o 300+ mile All Electric Range (AER)
o Advanced state of the art battery technology
o Snowdrift Pearl White tri-coat exterior paint
o Satin Metallic Granite Grey cladding
o Anodized “Lava Red” aero panel
o 265/50R20 tires
- Navigation system with augmented reality graphic directions
- 180° rearview video display in place of physical mirrors
- Full windshield entertainment video system with surround sound
3D speed readout display
- Full width acrylic touch panel with Sensory Light Feedback (SLF) with Technical Option Sharing System (TOSS) feature provides interaction with HUD
- AI-based R.E.A.D. technology
- Eye Tracking System (ETS) enables 180° rearview video display