Kia teases quadricycle-like electric car for personal mobility [Update]

Update: At the 2021 CEO Investor Day this week, Kia hinted that it plans to launch an electric quadricycle or an electric microcar. The company would partner with Arrival, a UK-based startup focusing on commercial EVs, for micro/large EVs, President Ho-sung Song said at the event. The platform will be an indigenously developed one, though. It will be scalable so that it can be utilized for PBVs of various sizes. Check out Song’s quote to know what exactly he said and the presentation slide he showed then below:

Kia quadricycle Kia microcar
Kia expects the demand for PVBs to shoot up in 2023. It believes that its PBV business will expand exponentially when combined with autonomous driving. Image Source: Kia.

Micro/large platforms that can respond to unmanned delivery and e-commerce market demands will be secured by partnering with Arrival, etc. A scalable platform will be developed internally. In the mid/long-term, Kia will offer optimal models that can meet the needs of all customer segments by adding a wide spectrum of upper bodies on a dedicated skateboard platform.

Ho-sung Song, President, Kia at the 2021 CEO Investor Day.

Last month, Kia announced that it will foray into transportation segments beyond the traditional passenger and commercial vehicles. The company teased a number of Purpose Built Vehicles (PBVs) that would be seen serving the futuristic mobility needs in countries with advanced transport infrastructure. One of these teased PBVs could be an electric quadricycle which we had heard about last year.

We are building Purpose Built Vehicles (PBVs), otherwise known as PBVs. From a micro autonomous pod to a small individual urban transporter, a mid-size commuter, or a large logistic companion, we are rising to the challenge.

Karim Habib Senior Vice President, Head of Kia Global Design Center at New Kia Brand Showcase
Kia quadricycle teaser enhanced
The Kia quadricycle/Kia microcar is still a few years away from arriving in the market, assuming that it does get the green signal. Image Source: Kia

In tune with today’s scenario where people prefer private transport over public mobility fearing for their health and safety, Kia is planning to launch a mini electric model along the lines of the Citroen Ami.

In an interaction with AutoExpress in May 2020, Emilio Herrera, Kia Motors Europe COO had said that in a survey that Kia conducted in China, 65% people want to use their private cars, up from 35 per cent before the coronavirus crisis, as they feel unsafe in public transportation. He said that Kia finds a great potential in small micro vehicles for urban mobility and is studying a proposal to build a small electric vehicle.

China has more micro vehicles than any other part of the world. These models have evolved into more than a point-to-point mode of transport to that of a safe, connected and autonomous form of transport. One example is Baojun E300 while another (slightly bigger one) is the Leap Motor’s L4 Autonomous mini car.

Kia is looking to make a vehicle in the L6 and L7 categories that are fully-electric with a small range intended only for urban mobility. This vehicle will offer a private alternative to public transportation with driving costs similar to the latter. To be cost effective, Kia will take the route that Citroen recently ventured in with its Ami.

Citroen Ami is available in several ownership options – it can be bought completely for 6,000 euros or can be leased at a monthly rent of 19.99 euros after a down payment of 2,644 euros or at 0.26 euro per minute through car-sharing plan through Free2Move. The user of the vehicle does not need a driving license and even a 14-year old can use it in a place like France.

Herrera further said that Kia needs a flexible subscription model at very low prices for the small car and Ami is one of the cars that Kia has looked at. He also stated that Kia could be sharing this platform with Hyundai for its own model but first the platform will be a dedicated one from Kia.

Featured Image Source: Kia

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