Future looks small and clean
Kia’s concept car will not cost the earth, writes Karla Pincott
THE Kia Pop is not the next Kia Rio. But the tiny electric concept car that starred at the Paris Motor Show is a glimpse into a future where our roads are populated by cute, animal-like vehicles.
For the moment, that vision is mainly in the mind of Kia chief designer Peter Schreyer.
The man responsible for the original Audi TT is giving Kia design a major makeover, with the Pop one of the early pointers to the future.
‘‘We wanted this car to act as a loose nucleus, a wild atom,’’ Schreyer says.
The Pop doesn’t point at the style of the next generation of cars, but looks further into the future.
What you see that far over the horizon is aimed at the smallest nucleus of a nuclear family. The ultra-compact concept car seats three — two in the front and one angled in the rear.
It’s been given an almostcartoonish version of the Schreyer tiger-face split grille, now being bolted on every new Kia, and dressed in the kind of livery that can’t help but attract attention, with purple accents on the body echoed in the cabin, oblong side windows and a full glass roof.
That futurism carries through to the instruments, with information appearing on a transparent display in front of the steering wheel. Rear vision is done using cameras in each door.
The most interesting part of the Pop can be found underneath its colourful skin. The Pop has a zeroemission, 190Nm electric motor powered by compact, efficient, lithium polymer batteries.
The battery bank can recharge fully in six hours, an easy overnight or work-shift task, and give a maximum range of 160km and top speed of 140km/h.
Schreyer says he can see something like the Pop hitting the road for real, using its cute and friendly factor to endear its clean technology to buyers.
‘‘We did it, not to prove that we can do an electric car, but to show how charming an electric car can be,’’ he says.
‘‘At the moment it’s a study (but) I think it would be nice to think, what the roads would be like in a city if you had many of them, like little animals, running around.’’
‘‘It will change the environment and to see the traffic would change the perception (of cars). It would be quite nice.’’
Bright: the colourful and futuristic Kia Pop has a zeroemission, 190Nm electric motor.