Kia Motors has outlined further details of its shift towards electrification, following record six per cent of the brand’s overall sales in Europe in the first quarter of 2020 were electric vehicles (EVs).
At the start of the year, Kia Motors announced ‘Plan S’, a new mid- to long-term strategy aimed at progressively establishing a leadership position in the future automotive industry, encompassing electrification and mobility services, as well as connectivity and autonomy.
The Plan S strategy outlines Kia’s pre-emptive and enterprising ‘shift’ from a business system focused on internal combustion engine vehicles toward one centred on popularising EVs.
To achieve these goals, Kia plans to offer 11 EVs in 2025 globally, across a range of vehicle segments – including passenger vehicles, SUVs and MPVs.
The first of Kia’s next-generation EVs will be introduced to Europe in 2021, constructed on a unique platform specifically engineered to accommodate the car’s world-leading EV powertrain and technologies. Not only will it offer a crossover design which blurs the boundaries between passenger and sport utility vehicles, as well as a future-oriented user experience. It will also offer a single-charge driving range of over 500 kilometres, as well as sub-20-minute high-speed charging time.
Emilio Herrera, Chief Operating Officer for Kia Motors Europe, comments: “Many of Kia’s new EVs will be offered in Europe, which is currently the focal point for EV sales growth worldwide. We are encouraged by the early sales success of our current generation of EVs, the new e-Niro and e-Soul, which have been well-received by buyers across the continent. In every one of the last five years, we have reported growing sales of Kia EVs, and our next-generation models will accelerate this trend further.”
Kia Motors Europe will launch many of the brand’s future global EVs following the introduction of the brand’s maiden dedicated zero-emissions model in 2021. Indeed, every new model line due to launch in Europe from now on will offer at least one variety of electrified (mild-hybrid, full-hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric) powertrain, as advanced powertrain technology forms an ever greater proportion of the brand’s European sales.
Kia tells us it will introduce several additional zero-emission vehicles from 2022 onwards, with their own EV-specific designs and a new user experience designed to make them even easier to live with day-to-day.
Furthermore, Kia says that it will offer many of its new vehicles with charging capabilities tailored to the needs and budgets of customers across a range of vehicle segments. Kia’s EVs will offer either 400V or 800V charging capacity, enabling fast or rapid charging depending on the different types of buyer for individual model lines.
Pablo Martinez Masip, Director Product Planning and Pricing for Kia Motors Europe, explained to us: “We want to provide European customers with the best possible value for their money, something that we are committed to with every new car. This means that certain models, particularly those aimed at more cost-conscious buyers, will offer 400V charging capability. 800V charging won’t simply be reserved for Kia’s flagship models, however, but where it most closely matches the usage profile of a particular model line.
“Both systems can be charged at home or in public, with 800V rapid charging enhancing usability in models driven by customers who may rely on high-voltage rapid charging more often or drive higher mileages. 400V charging, as already found in the award-winning e-Niro and e-Soul, also enables rapid charging and will remain relevant for many customers who have greater flexibility about where and when they recharge. We will cater for all needs.”
The brand’s early move to popularise EVs ahead of many other manufacturers has laid the groundwork for the future under Plan S. Kia is targeting global annual sales of 500,000 EVs by 2026, and is aiming for more than 20 per cent of its European sales to be fully-electric by this time.
Kia’s current line-up of EVs will be joined by a wide range of EVs to help the brand to achieve this aim, bolstered by its anticipated accelerating momentum from European drivers keen to make the switch to electric power.