Fast Lane: Kia's Niro in 3 electrified variants, Brompton unveils lightest model

Kia's new Niro is available with three electrified powertrains - a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a full-electric variant. PHOTO: KIA NIRO

Kia's new, bigger Niro available in three electrified variants

Kia's new Niro has grown in size, measuring 4,420mm (an additional 65mm) by 1,825mm (plus 20mm) by 1,545mm tall (an extra 10mm), with a wheelbase of 2,720mm (an additional 20mm).

The model is available with three electrified powertrains - a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a full-electric variant. The hybrids will have a 1.6-litre direct injection engine featuring improved cooling, friction and combustion technologies to improve efficiency.

The cars, which promise an average consumption of 4.8 litres/100km, should arrive by the later half of 2022.

VW, Bosch to form new battery venture

Volkswagen Group and components-maker Bosch have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the establishment of a European battery-equipment solution provider.

The two companies plan to supply integrated battery production systems as well as on-site maintenance support for battery cell and system manufacturers. They are aiming for high-volume production of sustainable, cutting-edge batteries.

In Europe alone, the Volkswagen Group plans to build six cell factories by 2030.

Lightest Brompton yet


Leading foldable bicycle-maker Brompton has unveiled its lightest model - the titanium T Line, which weighs as little as 7.45kg.

It is available in four variants - single-speed T Line One Low Bar, single-speed T Line One Mid Bar, four-speed T Line Urban Low Bar and four-speed T Line Urban Mid Bar. Priced from $7,465, the bikes are available via a ballot system at

Zero-Covid-19 policy affecting Chinese car production

China's zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19 has idled Toyota Motor and Volkswagen (VW) factories in the past week - a troubling sign for global carmakers as the Omicron variant spreads in the world's biggest vehicle hub.

The two top-selling carmakers' factories in Tianjin - 108km south-east of Beijing - have been halted since Jan 10 as the local government carries out multiple rounds of mass testing for the city's 14 million residents, reported Bloomberg.

The disruptions caused by China's strict zero-Covid-19 policy are sparking broader concerns about what the months ahead will look like for manufacturers operating in China.

Domestic and foreign-owned car plants in China churn out about 25 million cars a year - about a third of all vehicles globally, according to the International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers.

Toyota's venture with China FAW Group in Tianjin is based in the western Xiqing district, which has sealed off some neighbourhoods due to the detection of Covid-19 infections. It has an annual production capacity of more than 500,000 vehicles.

VW said its plant on the other side of the city, which produces about 300,000 cars a year, including the Audi Q3, is temporarily shut due to parts shortages and pending Covid-19 test results of workers.

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