Kia's plans to electrify more of its fleet and sell 500,000 EVs annually by 2025 is beginning to be born out in reality with the confirmation that two of the key aspects are on their way soon. Kia's five year strategy (aka Plan S) was laid out earlier this year and it was dominated by the brand's desire to push electric (and electrified) vehicles across global markets.
Alongside partner brand Hyundai, Kia is planning a total of 11 pure EVs by 2025 as well as increasing its range of 'eco-friendly' vehicles, which essentially means hybrid and PHEV powertrains. We knew at the original announcement that the brand was planning to bring in an all-new 800 volt EV powertrain which would sit alongside 'standard' 400 volt EVs in the range, and now we have confirmation of how it might look.
The announcement wasn't conventional; it came in the form of a video released in time for Earth Day, showing a scripted conversation between Technology PR Manager, Neil Dunlop, and Strategy Manager, Steve Kosowski (you can find a copy here). In it, the duo discuss the brand's forthcoming models, in the specific context of the US market, but evidently – given the brand's five-year plan – with global reach in mind.
Kosowski calls the brand's plans to concentrate on EVs a “pre-emptive shift from being a traditional car company, or manufacturer of cars that are primarily internal combustion into one that's focussed on electric and electrified vehicles, and new mobility solutions.”
The duo doesn't go into specifics about the 11 vehicles that are in the pipeline, but they do talk about the first EV which is due late next year in the US, but “might be earlier in other markets”. We can infer with some confidence that Europe will get first dibs on it after the domestic Korean market given the rate of growth in EV sales here.
The car itself is said to be a “design that really blurs the boundaries between passenger cars, CUVs, crossovers – it's a little bit car, it's a little bit crossover. It'll have about a 300 mile range for the United States (using the EPA test) and sub-20 minute high-speed recharge times. In the end, it'll be a very stunning, very dramatic new EV.”
Given those figures, especially with regards speed of charging, the car will be running 800 volts. This also falls into line with the brand's continuing partnerships with IONITY in Europe, and Electrify America, both of which are bringing 800v, 350kW charging to their respective regions.
Kosowski also confirms that the new Kia EV will be built on a dedicated platform – the E-GMP platform – which is designed purely for future electric vehicles. This brings with it numerous advantages over a shared EV/ICE platform from a packaging, design and layout point of view. Speaking of design, Kosowski mentions the Kia HabaNiro and Imagine concepts (pictured), both of which fit the bill for that 'little bit car, little bit crossover' look.
Unfortunately, we're not going to know more for a little while yet. The video was as much a confirmation of what we were already expecting to happen as it was a teaser of more to come. But regardless, we look forward to hearing more.
The pair confirms that in advance of the first EV which is on the way, a 'dedicated' PHEV will be launched before the end of the year. Again, we may well see it first here in Europe, but that notion of 'dedicated' does seem to suggest that there will be no straight-ICE version of the car. This would certainly fall into line with Kia's goal of selling a million 'eco-friendly' vehicles alongside the half-a-million EVs by that 2025 Plan S deadline.
As we say, this teaser is much more about keeping Kia's plans bubbling away in the news cycle than a groundbreaking announcement. However, getting confirmation of rough timescales and the new car's vital statistics is a step very much in the right direction. That in its US-focussed video we learn that Europe will likely see the fruits of Kia's labour first is very exciting.