Kia’s first dedicated electric car will set benchmark with 310-mile range and super-fast charge technology when it arrives in 2021
Kia’s first dedicated all-electric vehicle will be launched as a Tesla-style ‘halo’ model – showcasing the brand’s future with 310 miles of range and 350kW rapid-charge technology.
The all-new model will utilise Kia’s recent tie-up with electric expert Rimac to offer “incredible” performance, which will later trickle down to more mainstream models in the Korean maker’s line-up.
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Speaking with Auto Express, Kia Europe’s marketing director Carlos Lahoz said: “The technology is state of the art – less than 20 minutes charging with more than 500km (310 miles) of range.
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Head of product planning Pablo Martinez Masip, added: “[Imagine by Kia] will have 800-volt technology like the Porsche Taycan. We want a product that can benefit from our investment in the IONITY 350kW charging network.”
The original Imagine by Kia concept was shown at last year’s Geneva Motor Show and takes the form of a jacked-up C-segment crossover with a sharp, fastback-style rear end. When challenged on whether the firm’s first dedicated EV might take its styling cues from the concept, Kia’s European COO Emilio Herrera said: “Yes. It will be inspired by that.”
Kia will position the car carefully, however. Lahoz told us: “We have a lot of expectation to give our first message to the market that we are serious,” he told us. “It will have a significant effect in how our customers perceive us.
“The car that we will be launching in 2021 will be a super car. It will be super high-performance,” he said.
Herrera added, “What we want to do with Rimac is to have this performance element as a key feature of our cars. Look at the performance and the acceleration of a Tesla; it’s incredible.
“We don’t want to go to the same level,” he admitted, “but to have performance that provides you with this excitement and fun to drive factor. Yes, why not – this is what Rimac can bring to us.”
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The maker will use the production-ready Imagine by Kia to set the bar for what’s to come over the next five years. The company aims to cover all segments, from city car to SUV, with a fully-electric offering by 2025 – as outlined in its recent Plan S business strategy.
“It is important to make a statement,” Lahoz told us. “Every manufacturer needs a halo car that sets the pace for whatever is coming,” he told us. “We are going to launch 11 [electric cars] by 2025, and this is the first stepping stone to what the new Kia is going to offer to consumers.”
Lahoz admitted that Kia is not a premium brand, however, and that it has no aspirations to become one. “We need to be faithful to our roots,” he said. “We are mainstream. But why do consumers need to pay premium prices to get state of the art technology?”
We’ll likely see a production version of the Imagine by Kia concept early in 2021, with sales starting later that year. Kia’s bosses suggested that by 2023-24, the company could be making a clear profit on its electric cars, which should finally bring price parity between its petrol and electric cars.
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