Hybrid, PHEV or all-electric? 2022 Kia Niro running cost comparison – Car News


Life wasn’t meant to be easy and fuel prices are doing their best to ensure the adage lasts long and hard.

The fuel hike comes as another kick in the teeth for motorists who have had two years of dwindling new car supply, soaring used car prices, poor parts supply, dealerships closed and all the other COVID-related heists that made staying a home a necessity, not a desire.

Compared to December 2021, owning a gas-powered car in March 2022 will now cost you about $30 more per month for a light car, and $60 more per month for a large 4×4. That is, according to RACV data, accessing the fuel bills of an MG3 Hatch and a Nissan Patrol.

Learn more about the Kia Niro

So why not just go electric?

For buyers with “range anxiety” – the term for worrying about how far you can travel on an electric charge between connection points – going the Full Monty with an EV can be daunting.

But there are alternatives. How about a hybrid – a gas-powered car that offers nationwide range between gas barrels and yet quiet close-range operation for cities and parking lots?

Or, there’s the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) which has an extended electric range where no gasoline is consumed, and yet has a gasoline engine perfectly adequate for long journeys.

You can plug it in (at home or from a charging station) to boost the battery – that’s the goal – even if it’s not vital.

One of the few car brands to have a choice of all three is Kia (another is Hyundai) which offers the Niro SUV model available in EV, PHEV and hybrid versions.

All three Kias are based on the same platform and body, have roughly the same level of comfort, convenience, features and safety equipment, and are pleasantly spacious, well-finished, beautiful and with a cavernous trunk space.

In choosing what best suits your needs, the rough rule of thumb is that full electric vehicles are suitable for the city and suburbs; PHEVs can handle longer urban journeys; and hybrids are the best of both worlds with a smooth transition from city to country.

But which will be the most economical to own and which will consume the least fuel/electricity?

Niro hybrid – from $39,990 before road charges

It’s a 1.6-litre petrol engine mated to an electric motor that drive the front wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The electric motor works for some low-speed, short-distance driving such as parking lots, when backing up, taking off at traffic lights (which actually kicks in) and quietly engages when the car is coasting, braking or when little or no accelerator pressure is detected.

These tips alone will save you money. Meanwhile, when coasting or braking, there is a regenerative system that helps recharge the battery so it can be used later.

Because it doesn’t rely much on the battery, it’s just a small 1.56kWh unit. That’s barely enough for Kia to claim an average fuel consumption of 3.8 liters per 100 kilometres.

With a 45 liter tank, this gives it a theoretical range of 1184 km.

The smaller battery also maximizes cargo space. Unlike the other two Niros, the Hybrid has a space-saving spare wheel (the others don’t) and a boot volume of 410 liters (rear seats up) and 1408L (rear seats folded down). Compared to many hatchbacks, that’s a big area.

At 3.8L/100km, the Hybrid will cost 8.17c/km (based on a 91RON petrol price of $2.15/litre). At 12,000 km per year, the cost of fuel is $980.

Niro PHEV – from $46,590 before road charges

The PHEV has all the best features of the Hybrid mixed in with a longer electric range and the ability to drive on a quiet battery – potentially enough to get you to work and home before recharging and without using a battery. essence.

The transmission is the same as the hybrid with an identical output of 104kW/265Nm and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The battery is larger with a capacity of 8.9kWh which offers a claimed range of 58km in electric-only mode, and although the weight of the car increases a bit, fuel economy drops to 1.3L/ 100km. In other words, if you ever need to refuel it.

That bigger battery bites into the load space, so there’s no room for a spare wheel (there’s a tire repair kit) and the fuel tank is smaller at 43 litres.

Cargo space is 324L (rear seats up) and 1322L (rear seats down), which is still plenty of space and more than comparable to some gas-powered rivals.

PHEV charging can be done at home or on a public charger, and for the purposes of this comparison, let’s call the cost the first 20 cents per kWh and the last 45c/kWh.

This means it will cost you $1.78 to top up at home and around $4 to top up at a public station.

Analyzing the exact cost of running the Niro PHEV is difficult, however, as the fuel economy figure quoted also takes into account the load on the car. But what if you forget? Or what if your commute means you never have to refuel the car?

We’ll leave the numbers to you then, as the cost of running the Niro PHEV will very much depend on the individuals use case.

Niro Electric – from $62,590 before road charges

The Electric has a single 150 kW/395 Nm electric motor driving the front wheels directly via a reduction gear. By comparison, the hybrid and PHEV have 104kW/265Nm, which should be indicative of the liveliness of the electric.

The battery is a 64 kWh lithium-ion-polymer unit which Kia says gives it a range of 455 km. On test, it would hold a charge of around 450km and, with regeneration, easily last a week of intense riding. In terms of autonomy, it is one of the best in terms of price per charge on the market today.

The charging time is 5.5 hours with the home wall charger, up to one hour and 15 minutes with a 50 kW public charger and of course even faster with a 100 kW charger.

Using a public charger at 45c per kWh it would cost around $28.8 to fully charge, while at home that figure drops to $12.8 (based on 20c/kWh).

Over a year of driving, the Niro Electric will set you back $760 using public chargers exclusively, while at home the figure drops to $338.

The possession

The purely electric Niro has advantages for avoiding the gas station. But the elephant in the room is the high purchase price of the Niro Electric.

The price difference between hybrid and electric is $22,600 and between PHEV and electric it is $16,000. The difference can buy a lot of gasoline.

Kia has a seven-year/unlimited distance warranty. It also has a seven-year capped price service program (up to 105,000 km) and if you stick with your Kia dealer for annual service, Kia will renew the free roadside assistance program for the entire seven years.

Service schedules for all three Niros are every 12 months or 15,000 km, whichever comes first.

Capped Service applies to all three Niro models at:

Variant Cost for three years
Hybrid $1128
PHEV $1128
Electric $1164

Three-year ownership costs including gas/electricity*

Variant Cost
Hybrid $4068
PHEV Varied
Electric $2,178 (home charging)/$3,444 (public charging)

* gasoline (at $2.15/litre), home EV charging (at 0.20 c/kWh), public charging at (0.45 c/kWh) and maintenance at 12,000 km/year


So, it is clear that the Electric is less expensive to maintain over three years than the Hybrid, but there is still a big enough difference between the two asking prices to make you think twice.

After all, $22,600 can buy you a lot of gas, so keep that price difference in mind.

It’s hard to draw a solid conclusion without hard numbers on PHEV, but depending on your use case, it might just be the cheaper option.

Say, for example, you get the PHEV back, you can get to work and back on electric only, and you only use the gas engine occasionally for the weekend.

Your electric/gas costs could be kept well under $500 per year, and the upgrade from hybrid to PHEV is only $6,600, making plug-in potential the best of both worlds.

Whichever is the cheapest solution for your use case, at least Kia offers a powertrain in its Niro that should suit most buyers.


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