In a recent CEO Investor Day event, Kia has announced its plans to accelerate its electrification timeline by expanding its battery electric vehicle (BEV) line-up to 14 models by 2027.
The electric onslaught will begin next year, starting with the EV9 large SUV, followed by “at least two” new models per year. Compared to the company’s previously plan to release 11 BEV models by 2026, the increase in the current roadmap will consist of two new electric pickup trucks, along with an entry-level BEV model.
The Kia EV9, shown off last year in concept form, is a large three-row SUV, measuring roughly 5 metres in length. Despite its massive footprint, the company says it’ll still have a 0-100 km/h sprint time of just five seconds, and a range of around 540 km on a single charge.
It’ll also be the first Kia model to feature the brand’s new AutoMode advanced autonomous driving technology, a Level 3-certified system that will allow the EV9 to drive itself in certain circumstances with basic human supervision, and even capable of automatic lane changes on highways.
Kia also claims it will introduce “full autonomous driving” in 2025 or 2026, which will be fitted to “100% of new cars in major markets and 80% of total sales”, according to Kia CEO Ho Sung Song.
On the topic of sales, the Korean carmaker is increasing its targets to sell 160,000 electric cars this year, moving up to 807,000 units in 2026, and eventually reach 1.2 million units annually by the end of the decade – the latter a 36% jump over its initial targets announced just a year ago.
Meanwhile, hybrid and plug-in hybrid models are also targeted to account for another 52% of its global sales by 2030 – up from an estimated 17% in 2022.
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To entice buyers, Kia will be unveiling a flagship GT variant for every new BEV model built on its dedicated electric General Modular Platform (e-GMP), starting with the EV6 GT offering 576 hp (430 kW) and 740 Nm, and a claimed 0-100 km/h sprint time of 3.5 seconds.
However, don’t expect all of Kia’s GT models to be that potent, as the company says the GT treatment will be “optimised for each model”, to offer “dynamic performance [based on the] vehicle category”.
In essence, bigger SUVs will focus on “prestige with power”, hinting at less hardcore, more highway-friendly high-speed cruisers, while smaller models including sedans and crossovers will feature “agile performance on compact design”, consisting of “on-road driving performance” and “overwhelming acceleration”.
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In tandem with the targeted sales increase, Kia also announced its plans to increase its battery supply from 13 gigawatt-hours (GWh) to 119 GWh by 2030. The batteries are expected to increase in energy density by 50%, while also dropping roughly 40% in costs.
Aside from consumer-facing models, Kia will also be introducing a range of “purpose-built vehicles” targeted at delivery services, ride-sharing, taxis, and other industries. The first model will be a modified version of the Niro small SUV, with dedicated electric models to follow.