The automotive industry has seen significant changes in recent years and the future is looking increasingly electric and autonomous. Kia has certainly noticed this trend as they have introduced the HabaNiro concept in New York.
Billed as a “prescient look into the future of mobility,” the HabaNiro is an electric crossover which features a Level 5 autonomous driving system and “more advanced tech than what helped land men on the moon.”
That’s a shark-inspired snout
Created by Kia’s California design studio, the concept has a streamlined white exterior with chunky metallic grey cladding. The latter extends into the grille which Kia says resembles a shark’s snout complete with gloss black aluminum ‘teeth.’
Other unique features include contrasting red aero panels and butterfly wing doors which open to reveal a four-seat interior. The HabaNiro also has satin aluminum skid plates, billet aluminum tow hooks and 20-inch wheels with red accents. Last but not least, the model has been outfitted with daytime running lights that have a unique “heartbeat pulse.”
The distinctive styling continues in the Lava Red interior as there are Bouclé trimmed front seats that appear to float above the geometrically-patterned floor.
No screens, but head-up display
More notably, the concept is devoid of traditional screens and switchgear. They have been replaced by a futuristic head-up display that spans the entire width of the windshield. It is controlled by a concave acrylic instrument panel which features an interactive touchpad display with sensory light feedback. The concept also has a Technical Option Sharing System (TOSS) system which allows users to “swipe and move vehicle options across the HUD screen as though moving chess pieces.”
That’s pretty neat and so is the fact that the HabaNiro’s steering wheel and instrument panel retract when the car is in autonomous driving mode. This creates more room for front seat occupants and they can use this extra space to sit back, relax and watch a movie while they travel to their destination.
The concept has also been equipped with Kia’s real-time emotion adaptive driving system which optimizes and personalizes the cabin based on the driver’s emotional state. Artificial Intelligence and eye-tracking cameras are also used to project a rearview video onto the windshield when the driver’s look at where a traditional rearview mirror would be located.
All-electric, all-wheel drive
Kia didn’t say much about performance specifications, but the automaker confirmed the concept has an electric all-wheel drive system with front and rear motors. This, combined with state-of-the-art battery technology, allows the HabaNiro to travel more than 300 miles (483 km) on a single charge.
While the HabaNiro is a concept, Kia suggested people shouldn’t be “betting the farm” against a production variant. However, they did say a road-going model would likely eschew the butterfly doors.