Electric vehicles had a big leap in 2019 in terms of sales. However, most of the cars sold are still high-performing vehicles with high price points. Kia, a South-Korean company, already has a successful electric vehicle in its e-Niro crossover. However, that vehicle is aimed at the lower end, and while very good in terms of range, it lacks the proper performance to attract wealthier buyers.
The company wants to change this by releasing a high-end, high-performance electric vehicle in 2021. The car will be a showcase of the firm’s electric technology and performance prowess. Kia already had a halo car in the Stinger, a sports sedan that was unlike anything the company has done before. The Stinger wasn’t overly successful in terms of sales, but it raised the overall image of the company.
The high-performance electric car probably won’t be a sedan, though. Instead, Kia plans to build on the Imagine concept, which is a four-door crossover vehicle. According to the company, the car should have 310 miles of range, a result that’s comparable to Tesla’s cars. Also, thanks to the new 800V electric system, the battery will be able to charge blazingly fast. Charging from 20-80% will take only 20 minutes and give the driver around 200 miles of range.
Despite the focus on performance and image, Kia still wants to undercut premium EV competitors on price. “This car will have a significant effect on how consumers perceive Kia and its part in future electrification. We want it to demonstrate super-high-performance levels but in a different package. Today there are lots of A- and B-segment electric cars and many high-end electric cars; we want something different,” said Carlos Lahoz, marketing chief at the company.
“We are not a premium brand, we are a mainstream brand, and we have to be true to that heritage. This car will be a halo and be priced as such, but it will demonstrate that you can get very high-performance levels without having to pay the premium prices of, for instance, Tesla, BMW, or Mercedes.”
Kia works on the high-performance and zero-emission vehicle in collaboration with the Croatian electric-vehicle startup Rimac, after investing $80 million in the company in 2019.
Image: Kia Imagine