First Ev-only Kia model due 2019

Autocar - - NEWS -

KIA IS PLOT­TING a new stand­alone elec­tric model that will be shown next year and fol­low in the foot­steps of the Soul EV and re­cently re­vealed Niro EV.

Un­til now, the Korean car maker has only in­tro­duced elec­tric pow­er­trains as vari­ants of ex­ist­ing mod­els but the brand is set to branch out with a stand-alone model in the vein of the Volk­swa­gen ID fam­ily of elec­tric cars.

De­sign boss Gregory Guil­laume said: “There is def­i­nitely room for a stand­alone EV.” He also said we will “see it next year, per­haps”.

Guil­laume said that it has been very dif­fi­cult to jus­tify the de­vel­op­ment costs of a sep­a­rate elec­tric model in the for­ma­tive years of elec­tric mo­tor­ing, but he con­sid­ers that the turn­ing point has ar­rived for bat­tery-pow­ered ve­hi­cles.

The new Kia EV is most likely to be an SUV be­cause of that bodystyle’s mas­sive pop­u­lar­ity with the buy­ing pub­lic. “An SUV makes sense if that’s what peo­ple want,” said Guil­laume.

The car will be recog­nis­able as a Kia, he said, but also usher in a “new era of Kia ve­hi­cles”.

How­ever, the car maker won’t cre­ate a sep­a­rate brand for its zero-emis­sions mod­els, such as Volk­swa­gen has done with ID and Mercedes-benz with EQ. “A brand like Kia is still quite young, so I’d ques­tion whether it makes sense to do a spin-off brand,” he said.

Guil­laume said he sees EVS as a “clean sheet of pa­per and an op­por­tu­nity to do some­thing you haven’t done be­fore”.

Based on the Niro EV, which goes on sale in 2019, the planned stand-alone model will be ca­pa­ble of 298 miles of range on a sin­gle charge, the same range claimed by the Jaguar I-pace. This range also marginally out­strips the Kia’s smaller si­b­ling, the Hyundai Kona EV, which prom­ises 292 miles.

Kia plans to launch 31 elec­tri­fied ve­hi­cles by 2020. Some will use a mild-hy­brid diesel pow­er­train, which makes its de­but on the new facelifted Sportage and will later be in­tro­duced on the Ceed.

New Kia will use tech of Niro EV (pic­tured) for a 298-mile range

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