An ambitious new strategy from Kia, dubbed Plan S, will see the company investing heavily in the development of electric vehicles over the next five years. It is setting a target of 500,000 electric cars and one million 'eco-friendly' vehicles by 2026. Although management hasn't ruled out or set an end date for the use of combustion engines, it is planning a shift towards electric vehicles and other mobility solutions.
Broader range of electric vehicles by 2025
One of the main points outlined during the Plan S presentation is the expansion of Kia's battery electric vehicle (BEV) line-up to 11 models. This growth, in combination with planned production figures, could give Kia a 6.6 per cent share of the global EV market. The increase in BEV models will comprise of fully electric versions of current and future cars, alongside a dedicated, possibly flagship, electric-only vehicle.
Towards the latter half of 2019, Kia announced an investment agreement with Croatian EV specialist firm, Rimac Automobili, and a shareholder investment in Ionity, the provider of high-speed EV charging stations across Europe.
Kia to move people through new mobility solutions
Kia Motors President and CEO, Han-woo Park, said: "As the auto industry undergoes turbulent changes, today is also an opportune time for Kia Motors to radically transform itself into a global enterprise dedicated to spearheading customer value-led innovations. Kia Motors will actively innovate to take on the challenges ahead, identifying and capitalising on new opportunities to propel the company forward."
One of those new opportunities is a purpose-built vehicle (PBV) that would utilise a skateboard style EV platform to underpin a variety of different types of vehicle. These could range from goods delivery vehicles to driverless taxis designed to shuttle people into and around designated areas. Kia intends to launch an advanced self-driving platform by 2022 that will feature Level 4 autonomous technology. Such on-demand vehicles could operate from mobility hubs in urban centres, potentially shuttling users to and from park-and-ride locations where private cars may not be permitted to enter city boundaries.
More SUV models to come
Currently, SUV models such as the Sorento and Sportage account for half of all Kia sales, and the company intends to renew these two models within the next three years. By 2022 the company expects the SUV mix to increase to 60 per cent of its sales. The Indian market is also ripe for growth following the introduction of the Kia Seltos, which is produced locally. This location is set to meet its production capacity of 300,000 units per year by 2022.