Statistics indicate there are now 900 more individual electric vehicle charging points around the country than there are filling station forecourts.

The claim which could well be said to be misleading nevertheless highlights the growing popularity of electric cars, despite their commanding just 1.4 per cent of the motor market. The increasing acceptance and growing confidence towards EVs is not only owing to the number of charging points coming on power, but also because of advancing battery technology. Less than a decade ago you’d be lucky to get 40 miles from a fully charged battery; today that figure has grown to more than 250 miles and continues to rise. So, should you buy an electric car? My experience testing Kia’s all- new e-Niro compact SUV for a week and covering 500 miles dispels worries– but raises some concerns.

used to, such as sat-nav, heated seats, reversing camera and a familiar dashboard instrument layout. It has even got sport mode to pep-up performance. Topping it all, Kia boasts a range of 282 miles, which some drivers are bettering.

The e-Niro is a beautifully balanced car and has admirable handling, roadholding and ride quality thanks to its battery pack being located along the length of the wheelbase platform. It’s also spacious, generously equipped and finely appointed for comfortable long-distance travel. It’s a driver’s car too; the excellent driving position complementing good all-round visibility, light yet precise steering and the benefit of head-up display. Above all, the e-Niro is the easiest car to drive with its seamless transmission giving 0-60mph in 7.5 seconds. A feature is the steering column paddles which adjust the level of regenerative braking to harvest kinetic energy and assist recharging the battery when coasting or braking. Amazingly quiet, the only noise is the motor whine and from the tyres.

KIA e-Niro interior

The e-Niro looks just like a conventional front-wheel drive crossover, except that it’s without a radiator grille and an exhaust pipe. Inside, everything is pretty regular, even down to what appears like a gear dial, which in effect is a forward-reverse control incorporating neutral and park modes. If you’re familiar with automatic transmission, you’ll already feel at home. The e-Niro has all the functions and accessories you’d be

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with any EV a dedicated rapid home charging unit is desirable. The Kia’s range is totally adequate for normal requirements and the battery will need recharging every few days, the cost being around £14. For longer runs some factoring of recharging is necessary, but the 54 minutes replenishment time is acceptable, especially when combined with a comfort break or supermarket visit.

The e-Niro is everything you’ll want in a car – and it’s easy to live with.

Malcolm Bobbitt Photographs by MB

First Edition e-Niro test car supplied by Kia Price £32,995OTR

ISSUE 435 | 19 SEPTEMBER 2019 | 45 KIA e-Niro in Lorton countryside

There’s a down-side, and it’s not the car’s fault. There’s little regularity or compatibility regarding public charging points, which means that connections are not standardised and not all accept standard debit / credit / smartphone payment arrangements. Despite advancing battery technology, there’s still an element of range anxiety which will only be eradicated by improved and standardised charging infrastructure.

Walkingshaw KIA fast charging

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