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Kia plays catch-up at the EV party

By Daniel Gardner, 15 Jan 2021 Car News

Kia rebrand electric vehicles

More sustainable manufacturing to spawn seven new Kia electric vehicles before 2027

Kia has added meat to the bones of its Plan S it announced a year ago, outlining a more sustainable company and manufacturing culture that will deliver seven electric models before 2027, along with a shortening of its name.

As of today, Kia Motors becomes simply Kia to align with its new sharp brand identity unveiled earlier this month, and demonstrates a strong commitment to its Plan S, it says.

Compared with some other brands, Kia has not been the fastest to adopt electrification in its line-up, but the South Korean carmaker is now playing catch-up with a more focused adoption and development of battery EVs and other ecological technologies.

Kia rebranded identity 2021

Kia has now confirmed it will share the E-GMP scaleable electric platform that was introduced by sister manufacturer Hyundai which will allow the creation of a number of vehicles in both families.

For Hyundai, it will spawn the Ioniq 5, Ioniq 6 and Ioniq 7, while in the Kia fold, a variety of vehicle types will emerge.

“These new models will include a range of passenger vehicles, SUVs and MPVs across several segments, each incorporating industry-leading technology for long-range driving and high-speed charging from Hyundai Motor Group’s new (E-GMP) Electric-Global Modular Platform,” it said in an announcement.

You won’t have to wait long to see the first indication of Kia’s new EV direction with the first model slated for reveal in the first quarter of 2021.

Details are thin on the ground for now but the company has confirmed the model will be a crossover, the first Kia to roll on the E-GMP and wear the new logo, as well as offering 500km range and 20-minute fast charging.

Hyundai E-GMP
E-GMP 'skateboard' platform

Similarly to Hyundai’s growing Ioniq electric family, Kia says the model will also initiate a new design direction for the company, distinguishing its electric vehicles from the more conventional combustion bread and butter.

The e-Niro is Kia’s current electric champion taking the Niro compact SUV as its basis, but the introduction of a ‘skateboard’-type platform will allow the rapid expansion of the electrified line-up rather than relying on existing combustion vehicle underpinnings.

The e-Niro is expected to spearhead Kia’s electric age in Australia about the middle of 2021, but the company is yet to spell out which E-GMP models will follow it and when.

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As well, the flexible EV architecture will also enable Kia to offer its technology to partner companies in the form of Purpose Built Vehicles (PBVs). Bespoke modular bodies will offer corporate customers highly specialised vehicles for a range of applications.

Canoo multi-purpose delivery van
Canoo Multi-Purpose Delivery Van

Kia is already working with Canoo most likely to design a small zero-emissions delivery van, and Arrival – a company planning electric buses and commercial vehicles. Other applications include ride-sharing and even autonomous transport, it says.

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The range of EVs will be bolstered by investment in more ‘eco-friendly mobility solutions’ with a wide range of businesses and start-ups already on the Kia cards, including ride-sharing, ride-hailing, peer-to-peer car sharing, food delivery and payment systems.

But the company is also addressing the frequently cited criticism of electric vehicles and the impact their production has on the environment.

Kia e-Niro

Plan S is now building momentum to switch to a greater proportion of renewable energy in manufacturing processes shrinking Kia’s carbon tyre-print, while exploring, developing and implementing the use of more recycled (and recyclable) materials in the construction of its cars.

That could include a target to become carbon neutral at a point in the future joining a growing number of carmakers’ strategies, although the company is yet to put an updated figure or timeline to its carbon-reduction plans.

“Changing our corporate name and logo is not only a cosmetic improvement,” said Kia Corporation president and CEO Ho Sung Song.

“It represents us expanding our horizons and establishing new and emerging businesses that meet and exceed the diverse needs of our customers worldwide”.

Along with the new sharp Kia identity, the company has introduced a new strapline ‘Movement that Inspires’.

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