As part of its now presented ‘Plan S’ strategy, Kia has announced eleven all-electric models up to the year 2025. By then, 25 per cent of sales will be accounted for by “environmentally friendly vehicles”. The first fully electric model is to be launched in 2021.
As part of this “medium to long-term strategy”, Kia intends to shift the focus from vehicles with combustion engines to electric cars. This “preventive and entrepreneurial shift” is not only to increase the number of electric models but also to create “tailor-made mobility solutions”. Kia is already formulating concrete goals: With these new models, Kia is aiming for a 6.6 per cent share of the global market for electric vehicles (excluding China). By 2026, Kia is aiming for global annual sales of 500,000 purely electric cars and one million “environmentally friendly” vehicles, i.e. including hybrid drives (also excluding China).
The South Korean manufacturer has also confirmed the launch of a dedicated BEV model next year. Although Han-Woo Park, President and CEO of Kia Motors, did not provide further details about the vehicle at the strategy presentation, the model is likely to be the first Kia model on the new electric platform e-GMP of the Hyundai Kia Group, i.e. an electric car with 800-volt technology. Visually, the model should be based on the “Imagine by Kia” concept shown in March 2019.
The launch of Kia’s first dedicated electric car is unlikely to mark the end of the multi-energy models such as the Niro and Soul, which are offered on a single platform both as BEVs and in various hybrid versions (and the Soul is also offered with a combustion engine). The e-GMP is not to be used for all of the announced e-vehicles; in addition to the “dedicated” electric vehicles, there will continue to be “derivative” models “with differentiated prices and specifications”.
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In other words, the electric versions of existing models will probably be marketed differently than the pure electric models on the new platform. With 400-volt technology, they could be offered at a lower price than the high-end electric cars with more power and a longer range. Kia itself repeatedly confirmed through European COO Emilio Herrera that the company is also offering BEV offshoots of the Ceed and Picanto models.
According to its own statements, Kia intends to invest a total of 29 trillion won (approximately 22.5 billion euros) in its “Plan S” strategy by the end of 2025. “With the turbulent changes in the automotive industry, today is also an opportunity for Kia Motors to radically transform itself into a global company that specialises in innovations that focus on customer value,” says Han-Woo Park.
In the second half of the year, Kia also plans to unveil a new “brand system” currently under development. The corresponding press release is still very vague about exactly what this means, stating that this includes becoming a “pioneer in the age of electric vehicles”. With its new brand image, Kia also wants to appeal to younger generations and become a “symbol of challenge and innovation”.
More concrete information on the planned eleven models was not provided during the presentation. It remains to be seen just how many of the new electric vehicles will come to Europe at all, or whether the Korean company also wants to manufacture electric cars in Europe, as previously considered. In December, for example, there were reports that Kia is planning an electric version of the Seltos. However, this model will not make it to Europe, as its dimensions are virtually the same as those of the e-Niro and it will also be kitted out with the e-Niro’s electric drive.
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