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Electric Cars

KIA Plans EV Division With 7 Models, 25% EV Sales By 2030. Is That Goal Too Low?

KIA says it is focusing on being an electric vehicle company and will offer 7 new all electric models by 2027. Will that be too little too late?

Speaking at the KIA’s Hwasung factory in South Korea last week, CEO Ho Sung Song told the press  his company wants to establish itself as a leader in the global EV market by responding to the growing global demand for EVs. The brand will launch a total of seven new battery electric vehicles and partner with EV charging companies worldwide to make its goal a reality.

KIA 7 electric cars

Courtesy of KIA

“Kia has sold more than 100,000 BEVs worldwide since the introduction of our first mass-produced BEV in 2011, the Kia Ray EV, ” said CEO Ho Sung Song. “Since then, we have started to introduce a range of new BEVs for global markets and announced plans to accelerate this process in the years ahead. By refocusing our business on electrification, we are aiming for BEVs to account for 25 percent of our total worldwide sales by 2029.” His remarks were made in front of a photo showing the fuzziest of images for what those 7 new electric vehicles might look like.

The company says it will add 7 dedicated battery electric models based on its new Electric-Global Modular Platform by 2027 [all of its current electric cars are based on chassis that also accommodate hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains.] Ultimately, it expects to offer a total of 11 battery electric models.

The first of the new electric cars will be a variation on the CV concept car first shown at the 2019 Geneva auto show. KIA says it may feature 800 volt architecture and compete head to head with Porsche Taycan. That is a pretty lofty goal and one may rightly ask whether a world on fire from California to Siberia really needs any more premium priced electric cars as much as it needs affordable EVs for ordinary drivers, but the car is supposed to be a “halo” car for KIA. Halo cars exist to drive customers into showrooms to buy non-halo cars.

KIA CV concept electric SUV

CV electric SUV concept. Courtesy of KIA

Gregory Guillaume, vice president of design for Kia Motors Europe, said in a company press release last year, “Automotive design is about capturing the heart and making it beat that bit faster for that bit longer — and we believe that there’s absolutely no reason why that should change simply because the car is electric.” In Geneva, KIA’s then chief designer, Luc Donkerwolke, said none of the concept’s design was unfeasible from a production perspective. “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,” he told The Driven.

As part of its restructuring to become more focused on electric vehicles, KIA is exploring new leasing and rental business models, as well as developing “second-life” programs. To be successful, it needs to ramp up the charging network its electric vehicle customers will require. It has plans to install 1,500 EV chargers across South Korea by 2030 and will add 120 ultra-rapid chargers in urban centers and along major highways by the end of 2021.

25% By 2030. Is That Goal Too Modest?

Sitting around CleanTechnica’s global headquarters the other day swilling Pernod, several members of our ace reporting team were heard to scoff at KIA’s goal of selling 25% electric cars by 2035. They felt that was a pretty lame objective at a time when the full brunt of global heating is being felt all around the world. So we decided to do a little digging to see how KIA’s goal compares to other manufacturers. Sad to say, it is pretty much dead center on target with what the rest of the industry is planning and better than some of the bigger names in the car business. Based on a Google search by manufacturer using the search prompt “electric car goal 2030” for various companies, here is a summary of what we found.

  • Volkswagen:  40%  
  • KIA:  25%
  • BMW:  50% but that includes hybrids and PHEVs 
  • Mercedes: 50% but that included hybrids and PHEVs
  • GM:  5 million total EV sales by2030  
  • Toyota: 1 million EVs a year by 2030 
  • Honda:  ⅔ PHEV and EV by 2030  
  • Ford: Unknown. No Google result found.
  • Nissan: Unknown. No Google result found

Non-automotive sources seem to think EV sales will be between 28% of the market [Bloomberg New Energy Finance] and 50% of the market [Boston Consulting]. Note that the Boston Consulting advice includes hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles as well. It is important to bear in mind while having such discussions that many industry sources conflate “electrified vehicles” with “electric vehicles,” which often leads to confusion among potential customers who do not understand such fine distinctions.

So KIA’s goal seems to be realistic, much as we might wish for a faster transition to electric cars. It’s possible that as polar ice caps melt and more powerful storms batter the world’s nations, people will come to understand that time to maintain our planet as a place where humans can survive has just about expired. We have to switch to electric cars and renewable energy now, not a decade from now if we are to have any hope of avoiding extinction. There is no Planet B. 

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Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?


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