Update: ‘TopElectricSUV says’ section added.
Until 2020, we heard over and over again that a Kia Carnival hybrid is coming to market. In 2021, we saw rumors of a future Kia Carnival EV. Now, as 2022 is coming to a close, reports of a hydrogen-powered Kia Carnival (Kia Carnival FCEV) are also gaining traction on S.Korean outlets. Take a look at what we know about these future electrified MPVs so far.
Kia Carnival EV
In a piece published on November 4, 2021, ETNews reported that the AutoLand plant in Gwangmyeong would be at the center of the Kia electric vehicle strategy. It suggested that the Kia EV9 will roll out of this factory. Additionally, it claimed that Kia plans to convert the fourth-gen Carnival into hybrid and electric models. AutoLand Gwangmyeong is the mother plant of the gasoline and diesel Carnival variants.
This wasn’t the first time we were hearing of a Kia Carnival electric on the company’s roadmap. A Daily Car report had claimed the existence of a zero-emissions Carnival in the Kia line-up on July 16, 2021. According to that article, Kia may launch the hybrid and pure-electric variants of the Carnival in the first markets as early as 2023. Previous reports had ruled out the possibility of the Carnival Hybrid and Carnival AWD citing structural unsuitability, the low floor, and the flat-folding seats. Perhaps Kia developers have had a breakthrough with the platform for electrified variants.
The Kia Carnival electric would find a market in the Oceanic region as well. Australia is hoping Kia makes a battery-powered Carnival, suggests a report from The Driven. Speaking to the media, Roland Rivero, the general manager of product at Kia’s Australian subsidiary, said that the company is adding “potential other EVs” to its mix. Kia Australia has requested that its parent company send over every EV that it develops. This move comes as the Australian market for EVs continues to grow. Once Kia confirms it’s going to make a Carnival electric, “Australia will have it hand for it, too,” Rivero said.
Kia Carnival FCEV
Hyundai Motor Group (HMG)’s brands are rapidly expanding their BEV line-ups, but they plan to launch a few hydrogen FCEV models, in view of the long-term future. According to a report Maekyung.com published on September 14, 2022, Kia has a hydrogen-powered Carnival in the pipeline. A person familiar with the development said that the company will introduce the hydrogen Carnival after releasing hydrogen military vehicles. At DX Korea 2022, held between September 21 and 25, 2022, the company exhibited Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck, Hydrogen Fuel Cell ATV, and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Generator defense concepts.
Previously, at the Staria’s world premiere on April 13, 2021, Hyundai announced a Staria Fuel Cell version. On September 6, 2021, at IAA 2021, it said it plans to launch a new Nexo and a hydrogen fuel cell MPV (most likely the Staria Fuel Cell) in 2023 and a large hydrogen fuel cell SUV after 2025. The Kia Carnival FCEV could be technically related to the Hyundai Staria Fuel Cell.
Kia to sell 14 electric models
Kia plans to expand its EV line-up to 14 models by 2027, at least eight of which will be dedicated EVs based on the Hyundai Motor Group’s E-GMP platform. The others will be conversions of ICE models, including partially electrified models like the Kia Niro EV. One of the converted EVs could be a pure electric Carnival as well.
By 2030, Kia aims to sell 4 million vehicles, including 1.2 million EVs, annually. The company expects more than 80% of EV sales to come from Korea, North America, Europe, and China. It projects EVs to take 45% of its sales in these markets.
Kia’s ultimate goal is to become carbon-neutral on the product front globally. In that journey, the company plans to achieve new milestones every few years, including converting the whole product line-up to EVs in Europe by 2035 and then in other major markets (presumably incl. the U.S.) by 2040. Moreover, it will launch hydrogen FCEVs starting in 2028.
The Kia Carnival FCEV will likely be among the first hydrogen-powered minivan that was primarily designed for American customers. Being a conversion of a gas model, it might not have a very aerodynamic design or be highly energy efficient like a dedicated model, but it’ll at least be a start.
Featured Image: TopElectricSUV’s Kia Carnival Electric rendering.