Kia has published an update on its electrification strategy that builds on the ‘Plan S’ presented in January. The Korean company presented the first sketch of the electric sedan scheduled for launch in 2021.
After Hyundai presented its ‘Strategy 2025’ in December 2019, its sister brand Kia followed suit in January with its ‘Plan S’. This plan envisaged that by 2025, “environmentally friendly vehicles” would account for 25 per cent of sales and eleven BEVs were promised by 2025. The first of these electric models should be launched next year and will probably be the production version of the study ‘Imagine by Kia’.
Although Kia titled the current press release with “Accelerating the transformation of the business into a leading brand for electric vehicles,” the goals formulated in Plan S were in fact watered down again somewhat eight months later: Now there is still talk of seven new dedicated BEVs by 2027. In other words, the eleven electric models mentioned in January obviously include the current model series such as the e-Niro and e-Soul, but also the K3 EV sold in China.
Kia has also made sales targets have been made more concrete: For 2025 Kia is targeting a BEV share of 20 per cent of total Kia sales; the original target of 25 per cent is to be reached in 2029.
The first new BEV model is being developed under the code name ‘CV’; Kia has now published a sketch of the vehicle. The study does bear some semblance to the originally-shown study but the sketch is still very vague. One might therefore deduce that Kia is planning a large electric SUV, as is visible to the left of the CV model.
Kia also intends to expand its sales practices for electric vehicles. The brand is considering the creation of subscription services, leasing and rental programs for batteries and other businesses related to the use of batteries.
The after-sales infrastructure for electric vehicles is also to be expanded around these EV business models. By 2023, 2,000 employees in this area are expected to be working exclusively on electric mobility. Kia aims to increase its number of dedicated EV work bays in Korea to 1,200 by 2030. The Korean carmaker said that it will increase the number of EV work bays “in other markets worldwide” to 600 by the end of this year, and more than 2,000 by 2023. Addressing the issue of qualified maintenance staff, Kia has said that it plans to develop its own training programs.
Last but not least, Kia plans to expand its charging infrastructure worldwide. In its home market of South Korea, 1,500 charging stations are predominantly planned at branches and dealerships. For its part, the Hyundai Motor Group plans to install 120 HPC in city centres and along highways. Kia mentions 2,400 charging stations in Europe and 500 in North America but did not say whether these will be AC or DC charging points. For the USA and China, Kia says it is still looking for partners for charging infrastructure.
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany