With Kia’s Plan S, revealed in January, the South Korean brand became much more committed about going electric and committing to a significant volume of electric vehicles in the future.
Under the plan, Kia will invest $25 billion by the end of 2025, with global aims to introduce 11 new Kia EVs by 2025 and sell 500,000 electric vehicles annually by that year. With that, Kia would have a projected 6.6% of the world’s electric vehicle sales. And in the years between now and then it plans to add plug-in hybrid models and mobility ventures.
What was sorely missing at that time of Plan S rollout was guidance on what specifically it meant for the U.S.
Now Kia Motors America has released some of that info from quarantine—in the form of a brief scripted conversation for the press (and, perhaps, the most curious fans of the brand) between product and technology PR manager Neil Dunlop and long range product strategy manager Steve Kosowski.
While there’s plenty the two can’t yet detail, they highlight what it means for the next couple years. Especially of note, it’s bringing two new models that hadn’t before been confirmed for the U.S.
Kia HabaNiro concept
The first is a dedicated PHEV—which we take to mean that it’s not offered in any non-plug-in form—coming to the U.S. at the end of this year.
The second is Kia’s first dedicated EV, set to arrive at the end of 2021 for the U.S., although it might show up before then for other markets, such as Europe.
Kosowski said that the EV will have “a crossover design that really blurs the boundaries between passenger cars, CUVs, crossovers...it’s a little bit car, it’s a little bit crossover.” It also will have about a 300 mile range, with sub-20-minute recharge times.
That EV due late next year will be designed and engineered on a much-anticipated E-GMP dedicated EV platform shared with Hyundai. Under development since 2017 or earlier, it should allow a big improvement to design and proportions, and potentially interior space, by nixing the need to plan for an internal combustion engine, and is likely to have an 800-volt basis.
Imagine by Kia concept
This all corresponds with reports of a “halo” model positioned above the current Niro EV and Soul EV (still delayed for its U.S. arrival), based on the 2019 Imagine by Kia concept car. It’s the same platform that’s expected to underpin the intriguing Hyundai 45 concept.
The Kia U.S. representatives noted that Kia will have a whole portfolio of electric vehicles by 2025—including passenger cars, SUVs, MPVs, sedans, and crossovers. So if you’re a little frustrated by the limited Niro EV availability, wait just a little longer and keep the brand in your sights.