The EV6 is the first model Kia has unleashed in its second assault on the global EV market. Kia EV5, Kia EV7, and several dedicated EVs could be in the pipeline already, as part of the seven dedicated EV confirmed for launch by 2026.
Kia plans to use alphanumerical names for its next-gen electric cars. Karim Habib, Head of Global Design, had said during the new Kia brand showcase event in January that the upcoming dedicated Kia EVs “will simply be named EV1 to EV9.”
Announcing the Plan S strategy in January 2020, Kia plans to expand its line-up of all-electric vehicles or battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to 11 models by the end of 2025. The COVID-19 pandemic and the global semiconductor chip shortage that followed were unanticipated disruptions, as at the CEO Investor Day on 9 February 2021, the company mentioned 2026 as the year when it expects to have expanded its BEV line-up to 11 models. What does not change though is 7 of them will be dedicated BEVs, meaning they are not conversions of gas-powered vehicles like the Soul or Niro.
Expectations from the Kia EV5 & other models
From the two batches of teasers Kia has released in recent months, we infer that every dedicated BEV it launches till 2026 would look completely different from a similar-sized ICE model. The six models coming after the EV6 would include smaller models like a Kia EV5 or Kia EV4 crossover that replaces the Kia Soul EV (Kia e-Soul) and larger models like a Kia EV7 or Kia EV8 SUV that sits alongside the Kia Sorento as its zero-emission alternative, comparable to the Ioniq 7 from Hyundai.
Four of the dedicated Kia BEVs due by 2026 would be crossover/SUV/MPV models (RVs), and the remaining would be low-roof models like hatchbacks, coupes, or sedans. One of the circled models could be a coupe-styled sedan similar to the Hyundai Ioniq 6 that is scheduled to break cover in 2022. Irrespective of the different top hats, common to dedicated Kia BEVs is the E-GMP platform with 800-volt operating voltage and 270 kW or higher-capacity rapid-charging support. All of them should offer a range (WLTP) of over 400 km, with the bigger models like the Kia EV7/Kia EV8 possibly capable of 550 km. The cars can be charged to 80 percent level in 18 minutes.
The Kia EV5 or other dedicated Kia EVs coming from 2023 may offer Level 3 autonomous driving right from the beginning, Ho-sung Song, CEO, Kia, hinted at the CEO Investor Day this year. He said:
Level 2 autonomous driving, HDA2 (Highway Driving Assist 2), will be applied for the first time to the CV (EV6) which will be launched this year. HDP (Highway Driving Pilot), Level 3, is planned to be first applied to the EV scheduled to unveil in 2023.Ho-sung Song, CEO, Kia
Kia aims for BEVs to account for 25% of its total worldwide sales by 2029, Song had said in September last year. In February, at the CEO Investor Day, he revealed that the company aims to increase the sale of its EVs to 579,000 units in 2026 and then to 877,000 units by 2030.
Emilio Herrera, COO, Kia (Europe), had said that the Old Continent is the focal point for electric vehicle sales (sales of EVs grew last year despite the Coronavirus lockdown) and every year between 2015 and 2019, the company has reported growing sales of EVs with the e-Niro and e-Soul models.
Kia’s new brand logo
This year Kia introduced a new corporate logo, that it would apply on all incoming cars. The company introduced its old logo some 16 years ago on the Sportage and the new emblem is refreshingly different to the current version.
The new Kia logo takes on angular lines for the strokes in each character. The top part of the K links to the top of the I and the bottom of the I links to the bottom part of the stylized A. The existing logo simply has a serif atop each letter.
Kia’s ‘Plan S’ strategy
In early-2020, Kia Motors Corporation announced details of ‘Plan S’ to establish a leadership position in the future automotive industry that includes electric vehicles. With its expanded EV line-up, Kia is targeting to achieve a 6.6% global EV market share and 25% share in the eco-friendly car segment. The company is aiming for 500,000-unit annual EV sales and 1 million eco-friendly vehicle sales (excluding China) by 2026.
According to the Plan S, Kia will invest a total of US $25 billion by the end of 2025 into its EV business. To popularise EVs, Kia is planning to include EV variants for its existing models and dedicated EV models with different pricing and specification. Kia will also look to make advanced EV markets as its base for electric cars to achieve 20% sales from EVs by 2025.
Featured Image Source: Kia