In keeping with Hyundai and Kia’s ambitions to project their global presence as electrified vehicle leaders, Kia announced today it will have 16 electrified models by 2025.

The news came at CES 2018 as part of a sweeping agenda called “Boundless for all” along with Kia’s ACE (Autonomous, Connected, Eco/Electric) strategy. Unveiled also was a Niro EV concept with a Chevy Bolt-matching 238 miles EV range, plans for autonomous drive, and more in a multi-pronged approach.

“‘Boundless for all’ is Kia’s future vision – where everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the infinite value that future mobility will bring,” said Dr. Woong-chul Yang, Vice Chairman and Head of Kia R&D Center. “This is Kia’s manifesto for its role as a mass mobility provider in the future. Consumers are bound today by the idea that a car is ‘just a vehicle’, but Kia is committed to providing a broader solution to mobility. ‘Boundless for all’ represents a future in which a vehicle can be so much more than the sum of its parts.”

The 16 electrified vehicles include hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric, and fuel cell.

“By 2025, we will offer a total of 16 advanced powertrain vehicles, with five new hybrids and plug-in hybrids, five new battery EVs, and an all-new mass market FCEV,” said Vice Chairman Yang. “Due to launch in 2020, this FCEV will spearhead Kia’s efforts to realize a zero-emission future for mobility.”

Niro EV Concept

KMA has made no official announcement regarding the launch of the production Niro EV.

As teased earlier this week, the Niro EV Concept is projected to match the EPA rating of the Chevy Bolt EV with a 4-kWh larger 64-kWh battery yielding 238 (383 km) miles range.

A 150 kW electric motor propels the wheels of the vehicle based on the Niro sold also as a hybrid and due as a plug-in hybrid.

Deleting the traditional grille as the Soul EV also does, a smooth interactive display panel takes its place combined with ultra-slim lamp technology.

Kia says the concept “draws its inspiration from” the current Niro with a “modish compact crossover silhouette, elevated body and wide C-pillar.” A seamless rear aspect with sharp trailing edges allows air to flow more easily off the back of the car.

The Niro, priced from around $23,000 in hybrid guise with up to 50 mpg, has been selling quite well in the U.S., and the EV promises to build on the high value potential.

Unstated is a price, but a Bolt EV is $37,495, so don’t be surprised to see it possibly undercut it, though this remains to be seen.

Inside, the cabin is “minimalist and digital” in appearance with a wrap-around design.

A new Active Pedestrian Warning System (APWS) uses front view cameras, object recognition technology and front speakers. A pedestrian or cyclist crossing in front of the car prompts speakers to sound an alert specifically at that person.

The Niro concept is a first teaser of more to come.

As noted, Kia’s ACE strategy is based three core merging future technologies and is the vision for Korea’s oldest automaker – founded 1944 – for its future personal transportation:
• Autonomous – Kia plans to commercialize Level 4 autonomous driving technology, with ‘Smart City’ autonomous vehicle testing due to commence in 2021
• Connected – By 2025, Kia will adopt connected car technologies across every vehicle segment, and aim to make every single model a connected car by 2030
• Eco/Electric – Kia will introduce 16 new advanced powertrain vehicles by 2025, including a range of new hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, as well as an all-new fuel-cell electric vehicle in 2020

Alongside these technologies, Kia announced its plans to roll-out its ‘WiBLE’ car-sharing service – launched in Korea in 2017 – to new regions from 2018, starting with Europe.

WiBLE – a portmanteau of ‘Widely Accessible’ – to be introduced to select European markets and cities from late 2018 is the next step for Kia which plans to expand the service into other markets around the world in the coming years.

The WiBLE carsharing service will provide vehicles to customers who need to drive but may not own a car of their own or who want more convenient drive in city centers.

In Korea, WiBLE users have access to a the Soul EV, Niro hybrid crossover and larger vehicles. The service is accessed via smartphone app through which users pay for individual rides with charges according to amount of time they use the car.

WiBLE in Europe enables will let users complete one-way journeys, rather than requiring them to return the car to the same point.

Among other novelties at CES 2018, Kia is exhibiting its latest HMI technologies, autonomous drive features and the world’s first in-car 5G connection.

Kia says these exhibits hint at innovations that could be adapted for use in the brand’s future vehicles. Visitors to CES 2018 can also experience Kia’s autonomous drive support technologies via virtual reality exhibits. These demonstrate via VR headsets its autonomous drive support technologies in a range of environments.