With its "Imagine by Kia" concept car revealed today at the Geneva Motor Show, Kia aims to show that electric cars don’t have to look boring—that, actually, they can look exciting and emotional.
The concept is, as Kia puts it, “a visual embodiment of Kia’s desire to move forward in the exciting world of electrification.”
“We imagined designing an all-electric car that not only answered consumer concerns around range, performance, recharging networks and driving dynamism, but one that also gave you goose bumps when you looked at it, and made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you drove it," said Gregory Guillaume, the VP for design at Kia Motors Europe.
Imagine by Kia concept
The concept is intentionally designed so as not to fall clearly into one particular category; it’s part buff SUV, part family sedan, and part versatile crossover. It’s a C-segment car, meaning it fits right into the European mainstream, and is about the size of the Volkswagen Golf or Toyota Corolla (or Kia Sportage).
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Headlamps follow a “tiger mask” theme—something Kia says will be seen in future models from the brand—while the air dam and lower flanks have shockwave ripples. The shoulder line of the car is rather high, and the roof is one continuous sheet of glass.
While earlier teasers pegged this as a performance EV concept, there are few technical details offered up for the it, other than that its low-mounted battery pack is charged via induction (wirelessly) and it powers a compact drivetrain. Kia says that the layout “created a chassis architecture that is distinctly different to that of a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine,” but it doesn’t explicitly say that a new dedicated-EV platform exists as such.
The back doors are hinged at the rear, so that the interior can feel more open, and the doors are covered with metallic fabric and leather on the inside. Four individual seats are leather- and silk-covered, with diamond cross-cut shells. The design aim with the interior was to make it feel decluttered but not decontented. The steering wheel has tactile controls, and the pedals recess when the car isn’t in motion.
Imagine by Kia concept
The Imagine concept skips the single large touch screen and instead has 21 individual high-resolution screens that wrap their way across the top of the dash, and seem almost to serve as a taunt to upstart Byton and its 48-inch screen. According to Ralph Kluge, Kia Motors Europe’s interior design manager, they’re “a humorous and irreverent riposte to the on-going competition between some automotive manufacturers to see who can produce the car with the biggest screen.”
Even if you take the interior as far-fetched, Kia's likely onto something with the exterior, which could hint of a much more exciting-looking future beyond the Niro EV.