Kia plans small electric car to rival Citroen Ami

Kia's new electric city car would address drivers’ safety fears about travelling on public transport

Kia will take advantage of a shift away from public transport with a new, all-electric small car set to rival Citroen’s Ami. The Ami has made waves across the automotive industry, having just gone on sale in France with a list price starting from 6,000 Euros (£5,252) or a lease deal with a 2,641 Euros deposit (£2,311) and only 19.99 Euros (£17.50) per month.

Speaking exclusively to Auto Express, Kia Motors Europe COO Emilio Herrera said: “People want to feel safe today. We saw that very clearly from a survey that was done after coronavirus in China, which showed people had moved from public transportation to private transportation.

“That was very clear – 34 per cent of private use before the crisis to 65 per cent. So 65 per cent of people in China would choose their private car. The reason is because they feel safe in their car and they feel unsafe in public transportation. I think if people had a choice in London, they’d choose to drive their own car.”

Herrera went on to reveal that Kia is looking at plans to build a small electric car, as previewed in our exclusive image, to take advantage of this shift. “We are already studying a proposal on having very small micro vehicles for urban use – we see a real potential,” he explained.

“Those vehicles we are targeting are EVs – 100 per cent electric with a small range, but being used only in an urban environment. Our project is looking at what we call L6 and L7 cars in the sector, the type of cars such as the Ami. It’s something we’re investigating at this point in time because we believe it could be an alternative to public transportation, providing we can deliver it at a very similar cost to public transportation.

“So that means a subscription model, or you can rent it for a week or month, so it needs to be pretty flexible like public transportation. We’re really looking at very low monthly prices for subscription, so it can really compete – and the Ami is one of the vehicles we’ve looked at.”

Earlier this year, Kia’s sister brand Hyundai announced a collaboration with Los Angeles-based EV maker Canoo to co-develop a small electric vehicle platform for autonomous and urban EVs. A statement at the time said: “The companies will jointly develop an all-electric platform based on Canoo’s fully scalable, proprietary skateboard design for upcoming Hyundai and Kia electric vehicles (EVs) and Purpose Built Vehicles (PBVs). Hyundai Motor Group expects the new platform using Canoo’s skateboard architecture to allow for a simplified and standardised development process, lowering vehicle price.”

Herrera would not be drawn on whether that platform would be used for the small Kia, but he was clear that he expected Kia to lead the development of a new platform for its new small car: “We could eventually share the platform with Hyundai, but the idea is to have a dedicated platform from Kia that we could eventually share with Hyundai.

“The idea with this project is for it to be global, not just for Europe. It will have the synergies of scale to ensure that this vehicle would be available at a very cheap price for consumers.”

Although Herrera wouldn’t confirm a timescale for the new small Kia, Auto Express understands that it could be the second or third new electric vehicle to launch following a production version of Kia’s Imagine concept, which is expected early next year. That means the small car could be seen as early as 2021, with a production model on sale by 2022.

What's your view on Kia's plans for a small electric car? Tell us in the comments...

Recommended

New 2022 Mercedes EQE confirmed for Munich Motor Show reveal
Mercedes EQE teaser
Mercedes EQE

New 2022 Mercedes EQE confirmed for Munich Motor Show reveal

Pure-electric E-Class sibling will make motor show debut this September
29 Jul 2021
New Mercedes EQE SUV confirmed for launch in 2022
Mercedes EQE
Mercedes

New Mercedes EQE SUV confirmed for launch in 2022

Mercedes has announced it will launch the pure-electric EQE SUV next year, and our exclusive images preview how it could look
26 Jul 2021
Reborn AC Cobra gets 308bhp pure-electric powertrain
AC Cobra electric S1
AC Cobra

Reborn AC Cobra gets 308bhp pure-electric powertrain

The iconic AC Cobra has gone electric, offering buyers a 0-62mph time of roughly four seconds and a maximum range of 150 miles
23 Jul 2021
New Mercedes Vision EQXX: 620-mile prototype EV teased
Mercedes EQXX
Mercedes

New Mercedes Vision EQXX: 620-mile prototype EV teased

The Mercedes Vision EQXX will be officially unveiled next year, boasting the longest range of any electric vehicle to date
23 Jul 2021

Most Popular

New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover
Volkswagen Taigo R-Line - front
Volkswagen Taigo

New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover

The new VW Taigo is a sportier, more aggressive looking version of the brand’s T-Cross and is aimed at lifestyle buyers
29 Jul 2021
New Bowler Defender Challenge review
Bowler Defender Challenge - front
Land Rover Defender

New Bowler Defender Challenge review

The new Defender Challenge is the first Bowler under JLR ownership, and it’s a cracker
28 Jul 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range

Kia reveals more specs for its bespoke electric car, with the EV6 offering long range and an 18-minute 80 per cent rapid recharge time
21 Jul 2021