Think electric vehicle, one might typically imagine a futuristic-looking car with sleek and rakish lines. Just take a look at Teslas or other EVs by other manufacturers and you'll understand what we mean.
However, Kia's latest EV is nothing like those. It's not even a car in the first place.
In a bid to make their commercial vehicles run much cleaner, the South Korean automaker put in electric motors in their Bongo truck. Does it look familiar? That's because the Bongo is known as the K2500 or K2700 here in the Philippines. Not only did they fit batteries to the workhorse, but they also added a lot more features in it as well.
From the outside, it looks like any other Bongo/K2700 out there but there are a few identifying marks differentiating the EV from the standard diesel models. The grill is different and its front bumper has been rounded off as well. There are the decals, of course, and there a large battery pack where the fuel tank used to be. The charging port is found on the driver's side of the vehicle.
While one would think utility vehicles like these are bare and basic on the inside, it's not the case for the Bongo EV. For starters, it has a navigation screen, something you wouldn't normally see in the local K2700. The instrument cluster is different too and there's even cruise control and steering wheel mounted audio controls. Automatic climate control is also standard in the Bongo EV, as well as a push to start button on the center stack. They even added forward collision warning for good measure.
Now for the most important part, the powertrain. The Bongo EV uses a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 58.8 kWh. The output is rated at 135 kW, which translates to approximately 184 PS. Thanks to its electric motor, torque is an impressive 394 Nm. It shifts with a direct-drive transmission and it even has a paddle shifter to assist in charging through regenerative braking.
As for range, Kia says it can go up to 211 kilometers on a single charge or 177 kilometers when traveling within the city. With a fast charger, it can reach up to 80 percent battery capacity in less than one hour.
For now, the Kia Bongo EV is only available in South Korea.