In January 2021, Kia released individual teasers of several dedicated EVs it plans to introduce by 2027. The Kia EV6 that debuted in March 2021 and is now on sale was the first of the dedicated Kia electric car models. The Korean brand is working on at least six more such models, including SUVs and sedans, and has confirmed that these will be named ‘EV1’ to ‘EV9’.
4 of the ‘dedicated’ Kia electric car models are crossover SUVs
In an announcement in September 2020, HMG released a shadowy teaser of the seven dedicated Kia electric cars it planned to launch by 2026. The picture (exposure heightened) hinted that no less than 4 out of the 7 next-gen Kia electric cars would be crossover SUVs. The three models on the left and the one model on the extreme-right have a high-positioned bonnet and a boxy body or roofline. Some models sport a flattish roofline or large windows, typical of high-riding vehicles.
14 Kia EVs in total to release globally by 2027
On March 3, 2022, Kia President & CEO Ho Sung Song revealed that Kia will expand its EV lineup to 14 models by 2027 instead of the previously announced 11 models by 2026. Targets often keep changing at automakers, but at Kia, that’s for a good thing, at least in this instance. On November 10, 2022, Paul Philpott, President & CEO, Kia UK, reaffirmed the new target:
Our future product plan has a major focus on electrification, and globally Kia plans to offer a line-up of 14 EVs by 2027.Paul Philpott, President & CEO, Kia UK (Stinger replacement with EV6 GT announcement on November 10, 2022)
The three new models will be a dedicated Kia electric pickup truck, a strategic Kia electric pickup truck, and an entry-level EV. The strategic electric pickup truck could be a conversion of an ICE model, and the same could be true for the entry-level EV.
E-GMP II Platform
Sung Song sneaked in a teaser of the new platform for the future dedicated EV models in his presentation – E-GMP II. The E-GMP II will likely be the same platform that Hyundai is referring to as IMA. Hyundai says that IMA will evolve from E-GMP; and E-GMP II, from its name, will obviously be an evolution of E-GMP.
Kia hasn’t detailed E-GMP II, but like Hyundai’s IMA, it could have two versions, one for passenger vehicles (called eM platform at Hyundai) and one for purpose-built vehicles (called eS at Hyundai). The passenger version should provide a 50% improvement in driving range over E-GMP. Kia will likely also be able to switch to cell-to-pack battery technology.
Kia GT (Kia Stinger successor)
The Kia EV6 GT is a temporary pure-electric alternative to the Kia Stinger GT. A new GT model with a pure-electric powertrain is arriving, Quan Yiquan, Kia’s marketing head in China, revealed to Autohome at the 2022 Chengdu International Auto Show. He should be referring to a Kia Stinger electric successor with a high-performance variant at the top of the range. Its launch is expected either in 2024 or in 2026.
Kia Soul-sized EV
One of the future dedicated EVs Kia teased in 2021 was what looked like a crossover that takes after the Soul EV. Karim Habib, Head of Kia Global Design, says it’s “a fun and practical commuter.” It features a silhouette very similar to the e-Soul, sporting the model’s distinctive C-pillar garnish. The ‘commuter’ would also signify the EV’s aspirations for the commercial segment.
2023 Kia EV9
The Kia EV9, first showcased as a concept at the 2021 LA Auto Show, will debut and hit the first market(s) in 2023. It draws inspiration from the ‘Bold for Nature’ aspect of Kia’s Opposites United design philosophy. The bonnet is sculpted and muscular, the Tiger nose facade is reinvented for the EV era, and the vertical LED DRLs and a sequential ‘welcome light’ reflect the playful and zero-emission nature of the bold electric SUV.
The profile of the EV9 underlines the sheer size of the SUV with an almost upright A-pillar, a triangular quarter glass on the D-pillar for the third-row, straight body panels, and a floating roof with an integrated spoiler at the rear. The machined 22-inch alloy wheels complement the geometry created by a unique side design pattern. The rear section follows the minimalist approach, but the stylish vertical LED taillamps, and sporty silver skid plate on the bumper give it the typical SUV characteristics.
The EV9 is finished in sustainable materials for the most part, and the same process should be applied to the production Kia EVs in the future. The interiors have been made out of sustainable and ecological materials, including the flooring made from recycled fishnets, seat fabric out of recycled bottles and recycled wool fibers, and sustainable vegan leather has been used for the interiors.
Dedicated Kia electric cars get a new nomenclature
New trademark applications at the Korea Intellectual Property Office at the end of 2020 indicated that the dedicated Kia EVs scheduled for release between 2021 and 2027 would be given alphanumerical names. Kia had filed trademark applications for ‘Kia EK’, ‘Kia IK’ and ‘Kia EV’ name series, with a number between 1 to 9 at the suffix. The Kia EV name series in these trademark applications, for instance, is as follows:
- Kia EV1
- Kia EV2
- Kia EV3
- Kia EV4
- Kia EV5
- Kia EV6
- Kia EV7
- Kia EV8
- Kia EV9
“These (dedicated Kia EVs) will simply be named EV1 to EV9,” Karim Habib said at the new Kia brand showcase event in January 2021. Hyundai also follows an alphanumerical nomenclature for dedicated EVs (Hyundai Ioniq) that use the E-GMP architecture. In the case of Hyundai, odd numbers are designated exclusively to crossovers.
Kia electric pickup truck models
Some of the 14 Kia EV models on sale by 2027 will roll out of a U.S. factory. Kia says that mid-size SUVs and pickups are popular in America, and so it will produce the electric versions locally from 2024.
Out of the 14 EVs Kia plans to include in its global vehicle lineup by 2027, three will be cars. Eight models will be SUVs, and the three will be in the pickup truck/commercial vehicle segment. The product roadmap above suggests that the Kia electric pickup truck models will arrive in 2026.
One Kia electric pickup will be purposed for developed markets like the U.S., Canada, and western European countries, with the other going to emerging markets where Ford and Japanese brands dominate. The former will be a dedicated EV, and the latter probably riding on a modified ICE vehicle platform.
Kia expects partially electric cars and pure electric cars to contribute 24% and 9% to its American and Canadian sales this year. For 2030, the company expects the figures to grow significantly to 41% and 36%, respectively. In total, the share of green cars in Kia’s combined sales in these North American markets may increase from 14% to 77% in 2030.
More electric SUVs are lined up this decade
Crossovers and SUVs have been in a rally globally, and their popularity will grow exponentially in the EV era. Two reasons support this expectation; the scenario now is that SUVs and EV technology help each other thrive.
EV technology is more suited to the SUV body style because of its potential to pack batteries on the floor without eating into cabin space (thanks to the added height of the vehicle) which would mean longer range and addressing the issue of range anxiety. On the other hand, SUVs, which have a reputation for low fuel economy and expensive service bills, would benefit from EV technology because of the far lower cost of running and maintenance.
A ‘hidden’ advantage is that the battery pack can be placed flat on the vehicle’s floor, which lowers the center of gravity (in principle), leading to an engaging driver experience, an aspect gasoline-powered SUVs have considered as a compromise. It’s no wonder that HMG is bullish on electric crossovers SUVs and has a full lineup in the pipeline.
Featured Image Source: Kia