Kia Set to Introduce a New EV in 2021, Will Be Based on the Imagine Concept

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【Summary】In order to comply with the new European Union CO2 emissions limits, Kia will set its sights on electrifying its range of cars, including coming out with a new electric vehicle that’s based on the Imagine Concept.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Feb 12, 2020 8:30 AM PT
Kia Set to Introduce a New EV in 2021, Will Be Based on the Imagine Concept

Kia's been busy working on expanding its line of electric vehicles. The South Korean automaker has showcased two electric vehicles for the U.S. market: the Kia Niro EV and the Kia Soul EV. The automaker also has a few plug-in hybrid models, including the Niro Plug-In Hybrid and the Optima Plug-In Hybrid. But these vehicles are all electrified versions of cars that Kia was already offering. 

For Kia's next electric vehicle, the automaker is looking to come out with something that's not based on a vehicle that's already being sold.

More EVs Are Coming From Kia

In an interview with Automotive News Europe, Kia Europe's COO Emilio Herrera, confirmed that the only way the automaker would avoid paying fines for missing the new European Union CO2 targets would be to electrify its range of cars. In the interview, Herrera provided a lot of information on how Kia would go about electrifying its vehicles, including plans for a future EV down the road and what EV is likely to come next.

A lot of automakers have gone down the route of electrifying their smallest vehicle – even Kia has done it with the subcompact Soul. But Kia sells an even smaller vehicle in Europe called the Picanto. When the automaker looked into electrifying that model, it found that pricing for the vehicle would nearly double. The Picanto sells for roughly $11,170, but an electric variant would cost close to $22,340.

Few consumers are willing to spend nearly double the price of a similarly equipped gasoline vehicle on an electric car. But Kia believes there's still plenty of room for EVs to grow, because in Herrera's words, automakers don't really have a choice – electrification needs to happen to avoid the EU's CO2 fines.

All-New EV With A Dedicated Platform

For Kia, going down the route of electrifying one of its vehicles proves to be a very expensive venture. And Herrera claims that modifying a car's platform to account for the electrified powertrain isn't easy, either. What's easier is coming out with a dedicated EV platform. To that end, Kia is looking to introduce a dedicated platform for EVs and gasoline cars.

With that in mind, Kia is looking to bring the Imagine Concept from the 2019 Geneva Motor Show to the market within the next few years on its own dedicated platform. The automaker's new from-the-ground-up electric vehicle fits nicely into the new age of crossover coupes that nearly every brand is envisioning. While the Imagine Concept had a few things that would never make it to market, like 21 screens, massive suicide doors, and cameras instead of exterior mirrors, the overall shape of the vehicle and its size are right for an EV from Kia. The Imagine, or a vehicle based closely on the Imagine, will come out in 2021.

With Kia struggling to bring the Soul EV to market – the vehicle's been delayed by approximately two years – it's unclear whether the upcoming EV that's based on the Imagine will make it to America. Together, Kia and Hyundai have plans to introduce 13 new or revised electrified models by 2022. A new fuel cell vehicle is also in the cards in addition to the Imagine.

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