Kia released teaser images of seven new electric vehicles planned for production in coming years, starting with a sleek crossover coupe that’s said to be capable of 483 km of range on a charge. What’s more exciting is the design direction Kia is apparently about to take.
I’ll be the first to admit that the teasers from Kia’s recent brand showcase don’t show a lot. I do appreciate that they remind me of the Crazy 88 fight at the finale of the first Kill Bill movie (which was a riff on an earlier samurai movie). What these teasers do show is promising. I’m excited, so let’s break them down.
The first of Kia’s new electric vehicles will be a “crossover-inspired” design, which just means it’ll be a crossover coupe from the looks of the teaser images. The cars will be built on the Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) that Kia shares with Hyundai Motor Group.
Kia claims this first model will boast a range of around 483 km, and be capable of charging in 20 minutes. It will be revealed fully in a few weeks and go on sale this spring. I’m sure this will look fine but it’s not the one I’m most excited for.
The second vehicle teased by Kia was described only as a “practical commuter” based on the same E-GMP platform. That means it should boast a similar range and a quick 20-minute charge time. From comparing the sizes of the vehicles in the released teasers, I’d guess the crossover coupe is a compact vehicle, and what we’re looking at here could offer more of a midsize package. It’s difficult to tell, but we’ll know more soon enough. This is still not the one I’m excited about.
Kia will follow up the compact crossover coupe and potential midsize crossover with something even bigger to fill out its electric SUV lineup. The teaser text for this one described it as a “strong and bold SUV,” and all I can see from the character lines apparent in the teaser images is the current Kia Telluride SUV. If Kia goes with that look for the electric model, too, I won’t be mad — and neither will the droves of customers demanding Tellurides, probably.
Sedans? In This Economy?
THIS is the Kia I’m excited about. I know it isn’t much to go on, but there’s some stuff happening here that’s interesting to me, starting with that slight highlight seen on the front wheel arch. (We’re talking about the car on the left.) It leads to a raked windshield, which is then cut at a hard angle by the roofline. This windshield shape reminds me of the old Scion TC a bit (a good thing). And then the roofline slides down gently into a very interesting knot of shapes at the rear end, which is picked up in the highlights. It almost looks like this could be a five-door model, if we could get so lucky. We’ll have to wait and see.
I’m excited about it because it already looks interesting and I can barely get a good look at it. In the brand video, it was described as a “dynamic machine,” which sounds like a good thing. This could be one of the more affordable new EVs Kia sells — I’m guessing from its seemingly compact packaging — which would make it all the more appealing.
As you could tell from the previous image, Kia is planning not ONE but TWO new electric sedans. The first seems to be something compact with an edgy design and a sporty appeal. The second will take a more serious approach, supposedly.
Kia described this model as a “long and elegant sedan” in its demonstration. From what we can see, this model will have a very short hood, almost a cab-forward design judging by the silhouette apparent in the teaser image. Cab-forward designs typically free up more interior volume by devoting more of the vehicle’s wheelbase to the cabin. Typically, you’d find this sort of design on a midengine sports car (since there’s no engine in the front to get in the way), but it’s viable in electric cars, too — think Jaguar I-Pace.
Along with the cars it plans to sell to plebs like you and me, Kia has also drawn up some new cars for the commercial market. These are known as Purpose-Built Vehicles (PBVs) and will be offered with modular bodies on a modular electric skateboard chassis. Customer deals already include Canoo and Arrival.
Who Is Leading The Design?
Karim Habib, now head of Kia global design and the presenter of the new vehicle part of Kia’s brand presentation this week, was formerly the design boss at Infiniti. In a 2018 interview, Habib stoically defended the design legacy and marketability of the sedan in front of his beautiful Q Inspiration concept. It’s nice to see him following through years later with what looks to be a pair of new electric Kia sedans.
Kia’s new brand direction drops Motors from the full name, so it’s just Kia now, and the company also changed its motto from something meaningless to something else meaningless. The presentation also revealed the new Kia brand logo, which will adorn all of its cars starting with the electric crossover coupe due for its full reveal this spring. Shake me when we get to the long and sleek stuff.