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Europe central to Kia plans for EV sales growth

Kia has outlined further details of its electric vehicle strategy, which will see many of its forthcoming EVs launch in Europe.

Kia is aiming for more than 20% of its European sales to be fully electric by 2026

The brand set out its EV strategy at the start of the year, dubbed Plan S to represent a ‘shift’ in strategy from focusing on internal combustion engine vehicles. This will bring 11 EVs by 2025 globally, across a range of vehicle segments and including the 2021 arrival of a dedicated EV crossover.

The carmaker has now outlined that every new Kia model launched in Europe will offer an electrified powertrain and is targeting global annual sales of 500,000 EVs by 2026, while aiming for more than 20% of its European sales to be fully electric by this time.

The targets are being led by strong EV take-up so far this year; Kia said it’s already seen record sales of its EVs in Europe in the first quarter of 2020.

Battery EVs accounted for 6% of the brand’s total European sales in Q1 2020, up from 2.9% in the same period in 2019. The increase in share comes after sales of new EVs grew by 75% in the first quarter of 2020 compared with the first quarter of 2019, to 6,811 units.

Emilio Herrera, chief operating officer for Kia Motors Europe, commented: “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 Soul EV, 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.”

The first of Kia’s next-generation EVs will be the fully electric crossover due next year, built on a dedicated EV platform and offering a single-charge driving range of over 500km (310 miles), as well as sub-20-minute high-speed charging time; the brand is working on 800-volt charging capabilities for its dedicated EVs compared to 400-volts for spin-off electrified variants.

Pablo Martinez Masip, director product planning and pricing for Kia Motors Europe, explained: “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 Soul EV, 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.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.