Kia plans for more EVs and launches latest plug-in hybrids
Kia is advancing plans for new fully electric cars – including a 311-mile electric crossover due next year – and mobility services as it launches two new plug-in hybrids in the UK.
The new strategy – dubbed ‘Plan S’ to mark the brand’s shift away from focusing on internal combustion engine vehicles – will see Kia offer a line-up of 11 fully electric vehicles by 2025.
The aim is to reach a 25% share of its sales from cleaner vehicles – including full electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids – by the end of 2025, targeting annual sales of 500,000 full electric vehicles as part of global sales (excluding China) of one million cleaner vehicles by 2026. This includes selectively introducing EV models in emerging markets.
Kia – which already offers the e-Niro and Soul EVs – said the plan is to simultaneously offer dedicated high-performance electric vehicles as well as electric derivatives of ICE models with “reasonable” pricing.
This will be led by the 2021 arrival of a dedicated EV crossover, built on a bespoke platform and providing a range of more than 310 miles (500km) and offering a 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 electric variants.
“As the auto industry undergoes turbulent changes, today is also an opportune time for Kia Motors to radically transform itself into a global enterprise dedicated to spearheading customer value-led innovations,” said Kia Motors president and CEO Han-woo Park. “Kia Motors will actively innovate to take on the challenges ahead, identifying and capitalising on new opportunities to propel the company forward.”
Plan S – which will bring a total investment of 29 trillion won (£19bn) by the end of 2025 – will also see the brand offer EV-based mobility services as part of its new business model.
Kia will also pursue mobility services based on electric and autonomous vehicles, entering the ‘purpose-built vehicle’ (PBV) market for car sharing and ride-hailing businesses; it’s targeting “leading-edge competitiveness” here.
The plan is to establish Mobility Hubs in cities with stricter environmental regulations and greater use of EVs and provide eco-friendly mobility services. The carmaker will also explore new business models such as logistics and car maintenance via these Mobility Hubs.
CEO Han-woo Park added: “Plan S is a bold and enterprising roadmap for Kia’s future business transition, buttressed by the two pillars of electric vehicles and mobility solutions. Our approach is to put customers first, and Kia will reinvigorate its brand innovation by developing products and services that offer new experiences for customers.”
The plans have been revealed as plug-in hybrid versions of the all-new Kia XCeed and Ceed Sportswagon go on sale in the UK.
Announced last autumn, the new models are powered by a 1.6-litre GDi engine combined with an electric motor and 8.9kWh battery pack to produce 139bhp and 265Nm of torque, bringing a total system output of 141hp and paired with a six-speed dual-clutch auto transmission to bring an alternative to traditional e-CVT hybrids. Official electric-only ranges stand at up to 36 miles for the XCeed and 37 miles for the Ceed Sportswagon PHEV.
Prices start at £30,695 for the Kia XCeed PHEV, available with a choice of ‘3’ or ‘First Edition’ trim levels while the Ceed Sportswagon PHEV is available exclusively in ‘3’ specification, priced at £29,995.