Kia Motors has staked its claim for leadership in advanced powertrain technology at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show with a display made up entirely of electrified vehicles, including the new ‘Imagine’ concept and the debut of the Kia Soul EV.
Soul EV, courtesy of Kia
The fully-electric Soul EV makes its European debut at the show while Kia has also announced a range of upgrades to the Niro Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid, with the new variants revealed today (5th March 2019). Every Kia vehicle on show in Geneva employs the brand’s mild-hybrid, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or electric vehicle technology.
“Electrification is a key element of Kia’s European and global growth strategy, with one in eight Kia cars sold in Europe today featuring an electrified powertrain” said Emilio Herrera, Chief Operating Officer for Kia Motors Europe. “Where many manufacturers are still talking about their future plans and intentions for electrification, advanced powertrains have formed a growing proportion of Kia’s European sales for a number of years already. With the Soul EV and upgraded Niro range revealed, and more electrified powertrains on the way, our electric vehicle growth will only continue.”
Kia has also introduced its new UVO Connect telematics technology in Geneva, available on the Soul EV and upgraded Niro Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid. The ‘connected car’ technology will be introduced to a number of other Kia models in the near future.
The ‘Imagine by Kia’ concept, revealed for the first time in Geneva, has been designed at the company’s European design centre in Frankfurt.
Gregory Guillaume, Vice President of Design for Kia Motors Europe, added that the company imagined designing an all-electric car that not only answered consumer concerns around range, performance, recharging networks and driving dynamism, but one that also gave you goose bumps when you looked at it, and made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you drove it.
“That’s why our all-electric concept is designed to not only get your pulse racing, but to also signpost our holistic and emotional approach to electrification” Guillaume said.
Kia’s all-electric concept is aimed at presenting a visual embodiment of the company’s desire to move forward into the world of electrification. The concept is Kia’s first pure electric four-door passenger car which draws together elements of a muscular sports utility vehicle, a sleek and athletic family saloon and a versatile and spacious crossover. It incorporates reinterpretations of existing Kia motifs and a bodywork characterised by a blend of tautly-drawn sheet metal, crisp lines, and efficient aerodynamics.
While not immediately destined for production, the ‘Imagine by Kia’ concept hints at interior and exterior design elements that could be adapted for future production models from the brand.
The third generation Kia Soul EV embraces the design and character of its predecessors but will be powered in Europe exclusively by electric energy, with a choice of two long-range, zero-emissions powertrains. The Soul EV’s new-generation battery packs – either 64 kWh or 39.2 kWh in capacity – are up to 30 per cent more energy efficient than Europe’s current best-selling electric vehicle. An internal combustion engine option will not be available in Europe.
The Soul incorporates a new Sound Mood Lighting system and offers a range of technologies which includes a wireless smartphone charger, heated and ventilated front seats, a Head-Up Display, and a premium harman/kardon sound system.
The Soul EV’s dashboard features Kia’s new 10.25-inch TFT LCD widescreen system with a UVO Connect telematics system, which includes live traffic, weather, and parking availability alongside vehicle charging information, charging station locations, charger availability, and connection compatibility. The system can also be accessed via a UVO smartphone app, providing remote access to a range of vehicle functions. Depending on country, this includes the ability to remotely activate the climate control system, to pre-heat or pre-cool the car before a journey. Users can also remotely stop or resume vehicle charging, enabling them to take advantage of cheaper overnight electricity tariffs if charging from a domestic source.
The Soul EV goes on-sale in select European markets from the end of the first quarter of 2019, sold as standard with Kia’s seven-year, 100,000- mile warranty, which also covers the car’s electric motor and battery pack. UK on-sale date, specification and pricing for the Soul EV will be confirmed in due course.
Making their global debut in Geneva, Kia has made a range of enhancements to the Niro Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid, Kia’s best-selling electrified crossover, with ultra-low hybrid emissions, featuring a new exterior design, a high-quality interior and new interior colour customisation options. The Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models also now feature the new UVO Connect telematics system.
Since sales began in 2016, over 270,000 examples of the Niro have been sold globally, with more than 100,000 units sold in Europe. In the UK, over 12,900 PHEV and HEV models have been sold since 2016. The Niro crossover was Kia’s fifth best-selling model in Europe in 2018, with sales growing 33 per cent to 45,255 units – including 34,642 hybrids and 9,951 plug-in hybrids. The Niro range expanded at the end of 2018 with the launch of the fully-electric e-Niro.
European sales of the upgraded Kia Niro Hybrid and Niro Plug-in Hybrid start during the second quarter of 2019. UK on-sale date, specification and pricing will be confirmed in due course. Uniquely among all hybrid cars in Europe, the Niro is sold with Kia’s seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty as standard.