Kia’s Incoming Electrification

April 9th, 2021 by

A gray 2019 Kia Soul is parked in front of a red brick building with vines.

The future is coming fast, and Kia is looking to be one of the first to usher it in. The future is electric, and a combination of market forces and government regulations over the past 72 months have made it very clear that internal combustion engine, or ICE, powered cars will rapidly be made historical before the middle of the century. Even now, with much of their technology still in relative infancy, electric cars present a much better option for daily driving than an ICE vehicle. Kia plans to release future EVs to capitalize on these engineering realities with Kia EVs.

They are hundreds of times simpler in terms of their powertrain, which leads to enormous reliability gains. And the combination of the ability to charge overnight at home and huge efficiency improvements over standard engines makes them both much cheaper to operate than ICE cars and trucks as well. Not to mention, they will be much faster. Kia has already begun the journey towards electrification with versions of its current lineup, integrating the legendary Kia dependability into electric versions of its Soul and Niro vehicles. As of now, the company is developing an electric vehicle platform that its future vehicles will ride on. And there are quite a few future vehicles in mind already.

Kia EV History

Kia has recently been building up towards an electric vehicle future. Plans have been rapidly set in motion, and overall, Kia and Hyundai have been working together to quickly produce electric vehicles for the masses. The first tastes of these efforts were seen in prototypes and concepts, vehicles not yet ready for production, but which offered a great preview of what was to come nonetheless.

The Ray was a sleek 2010 concept car in the shape of a futuristic sedan, which was a plug-in hybrid. The Kia Futuron SUV concept, shown first at the 2019 China International Import Expo, is a step further. The Futuron is a fully electric “coupe SUV” concept that showcases what Kia can do design-wise with electric vehicles. With more freedom thanks to the new electric drivetrain, Kia was capable of penning a staggeringly futuristic design that incorporates powerful electric motors and all-wheel drive. The concept also makes note of Level 4 autonomous capabilities, which would allow the Futuron to drive itself anywhere within city limits.

Electrifying current models is the immediate result of these previews of the future, and for that, Kia has implemented almost off-the-shelf motors and batteries to meet rising demand. These vehicles offer more than enough range, speed, and capability to match their gasoline-powered siblings while at the same time offering much lower running costs and the same interior and chassis that made them successful as gasoline-powered vehicles to start with. But electrifying current models is just the beginning. Kia’s future plans indicate that they are currently building a new EV-specific platform to get the most out of the electric powertrain, and this platform will be modular enough to support a wide range of vehicles.

A closeup shows the Eco Electric badging on a Kia Hybrid, a 2019 Kia Soul.

Current Models

Right now, one can go into a Kia dealer and drive away in an electric car. And not some tiny, impractical runabout either, but a vehicle that could replace the one in your driveway now. Granted that these models are not as well optimized as those to come, but they offer an excellent look at what is coming in a short few years. These current electric versions of existing models took Kia very little time to put together, yet the same quality and reliability found in the brand’s other models has carried over into the new propulsion methods these still quite normal-looking crossovers use. Despite using off-the-shelf technology, Kia’s excellent integration has meant these vehicles have specifications that would have been shocking even a decade ago.

The 2019 Soul EV electrifies the already popular Kia Soul. Designed as a quickly-available daily runabout, the Soul EV only provides 111 miles of range but does so with a very small 30 kWh battery pack. This means overnight charging can be performed easily, even with a standard wall outlet. The Soul EV’s range is enough to do all the daily errands, and when charged at home, the Soul doesn’t need to ever visit a charging station while out and about. Practical, good-looking, and simple, the Soul EV will be a great step for Kia EVs, and an exciting redesign is anticipated to arrive soon.

The Niro EV is the first mass-production Kia EV that can be used as an all-around vehicle, with a 239 miles range from its moderately sized 64 kWh battery pack. While this pack’s true potential is only unlocked with a fast charger, these systems are available from Kia for the home and are increasingly common across the country. Now electric road trips are not just possible, but for many routes are actually rather easy.

The Niro EV supersedes the earlier Soul EV, offering no real drawbacks in daily use when compared to gasoline-powered vehicles. Additionally, the running costs of the Niro EV are much lower than a gas-powered Kia. Also, because one would never have to visit a charging station or filling station for regular daily use thanks to home charging, it is more practical and convenient. To top it all off, the Niro EV’s electric motor delivers a substantial 291 pound-feet of torque the instant the driver floors the accelerator pedal.

A black 2020 Kia Niro EV is parked on a city street.

Upcoming Models

Kia’s electric future is like a pair of electric car headlights in the mirrors of an ICE-powered car. Bright and approaching fast. What this future will quite literally ride on is the E-GMP platform, being developed with Hyundai. This is a platform built specifically to maximize the positive attributes of electric vehicles and is necessary not just to compete with other automakers as the world goes electric but to build vehicles that dramatically outperform current cars and trucks.

The metrics that will be enhanced by this electric performance cover every base, including efficiency, power, convenience, economy, speed, and practicality. Evidence of how dramatically this change will affect the capabilities of Kias is exemplified by the fact that vehicles on the E-GMP platform could produce up to 600 horsepower. The current highest performance Kia, the brand-redefining Stinger, makes a maximum of 365 horsepower. While electric vehicles are still heavier than their gasoline-powered counterparts, almost doubling the horsepower and adding electric torque is virtually certain to create the fastest Korean car ever. With 11 new electric vehicles planned to release by 2025, Kia has made it a mission to be at the leading edge of the electric vehicles market.

Future Incoming

Power, capability, and ease of use are the hallmarks of electric vehicles. Requiring less maintenance, producing more speed, and costing less over the long run, EVs have made themselves the future. The Soul EV was a good first step, and the Niro EV currently on sale is a solid contender, all using relatively standard technologies and supported by the same dependable Kia engineering that has underpinned so many other cars. But the upcoming models based on the new E-GMP platform promise to be truly transformative, allowing vehicles to do things formerly unheard of for any car or truck, all for a reasonable Kia price. If you have any questions about the current Niro EV, get in contact with us today or visit us to test drive this spunky EV for yourself.

Posted in Kia EVs, Kia Hybrids