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New 2021 electric Kia SUV to offer Porsche Taycan pace with 0-62mph in 3s

All-electric crossover will launch next year with Taycan-rivalling performance model topping the range

Kia has confirmed it will launch an all-new electric crossover next year, based on the Imagine concept first seen at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Internally known as the Kia CV, it will act as the brand’s halo model and introduce next-generation charging technology and an all-new platform made specifically for electric vehicles.

It will be the first production vehicle built on the Hyundai Group’s brand-new E-GMP dedicated electric underpinnings. The crossover will also take advantage of Kia’s recent tie-up with electric expert Rimac to offer “incredible” performance, which will later trickle down to more mainstream models in Kia’s line-up. 

New 2021 Kia halo EV: platform and powertrain

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Kia bosses have confirmed that the upcoming EV  will have “around 300 miles” of range and offer a “sub-20-minute recharge time.” The crossover’s E-GMP platform will also feature the same 800-volt technology as the Porsche Taycan, and will work with IONITY’s 350kW fast-charging network.

The Kia is also plotting a hot version of the EV, which is set to rival the Taycan on a performance level. Kia Motors Europe COO Emilio Herrera told Auto Express: “We will have in the new EV a high performance vehicle like an e-GT.” This model will deliver Taycan-rivaling pace with a 0-62mph time of under 3s targeted, a level of performance that's completely new for the Korean brand. 

Kia is keeping the rest of the E-GMP platform’s technical details and performance specifications a secret for the time being. However, we do know that the platform is scalable and has been designed to cover several segment and body styles.

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New 2021 Kia halo EV: Design and positioning

The car’s styling will take inspiration from the Imagine by Kia concept, and is previewed in our exclusive images. The production model should take the form of an unconventional C-segment SUV with a stylised interpretation of the company’s trademark “Tiger Nose” grille and a sharp, fastback-style rear end.

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During the launch of the Imagine concept at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, Kia’s then chief designer, Luc Donkerwolke, suggested that little would need to change between the show car and the production-ready crossover. He said: “I don’t see anything that’s really not feasible. There are some cost-related issues that have to be validated; but it hasn’t been done by designers who don’t understand how to build a car for production.

“[The Imagine by Kia concept] is not a free exercise. It’s not just a last-minute car for Geneva. It has a purpose. This is more business than show. We are definitely not entertaining here, but actually communicating with our customers.”

Kia’s EV plans: What to expect next

Within the next five years, Kia plans to increase its line-up of battery electric vehicles from two to eleven, while aiming to increase its global EV market share (excluding China) to 6.6 per cent. The company also aims for eco-friendly vehicles to account for 25 percent of its sales within the same period.

Carlos Lahoz, Kia Europe’s marketing director, commented on the product strategy, saying: “It is important to make a statement. Every manufacturer needs a halo car that sets the pace for whatever is coming. We are going to launch 11 [electric cars] by 2025, and this is the first stepping stone to what the new Kia is going to offer to consumers.”

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Lahoz admitted that Kia is not a premium brand, however, and that it has no aspirations to become one. “We need to be faithful to our roots,” he said. “We are mainstream. But why do consumers need to pay premium prices to get state of the art technology?”

Kia’s EV plans: What to expect next

Within the next five years, Kia plans to increase its line-up of battery electric vehicles from two to eleven, while aiming to increase its global EV market share (excluding China) to 6.6 per cent. The company also aims for eco-friendly vehicles to account for 25 percent of its sales within the same period.

By 2026, the Korean brand is targeting an annual global sales volume of 500,000 electric vehicles – and is aiming for more than 20 per cent of its European sales to be fully electric within the same timeframe.

Carlos Lahoz, Kia Europe’s marketing director, commented on the product strategy, saying: “It is important to make a statement. Every manufacturer needs a halo car that sets the pace for whatever is coming. We are going to launch 11 [electric cars] by 2025, and this is the first stepping stone to what the new Kia is going to offer to consumers.”

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Lahoz admitted that Kia is not a premium brand, however, and that it has no aspirations to become one. “We need to be faithful to our roots,” he said. “We are mainstream. But why do consumers need to pay premium prices to get state of the art technology?”

Following the launch of its flagship EV, Kia plans to release several extra zero-emissions vehicles from 2022. Details on the new models’ design and powertrains remain scarce – although Kia has stated that they’ll all be available with either 400-volt or 800-volt charging capacities, enabling either fast or rapid charging.

Pablo Martinez Masip, director of product planning and pricing for Kia Motors Europe, explained: “We want to provide European customers with the best possible value for their money, something that we are committed to with every new car. This means that certain models, particularly those aimed at more cost-conscious buyers, will offer 400V charging capability. 800V charging won’t simply be reserved for Kia’s flagship models, however, but where it most closely matches the usage profile of a particular model line.

“Both systems can be charged at home or in public, with 800V rapid charging enhancing usability in models driven by customers who may rely on high-voltage rapid charging more often or drive higher mileages. 400V charging, as already found in the award-winning e-Niro and Soul EV, also enables rapid charging and will remain relevant for many customers who have greater flexibility about where and when they recharge. We will cater for all needs.”

What do you make of Kia’s all-electric crossover? Let us know in the comments section below…

What do you make of the all-electric Kia CV? Let us know in the comments section below…

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