Kia's new high-performance EV could use technology from Rimac.
At the start of 2020, Kia announced its new ambitious electrification strategy. As part of a massive $25 billion investment, the Korean automaker announced its plan to launch 11 fully electric models by 2025. At the same time, Kia announced we can expect its next EV to arrive in 2021 but didn't provide any further details. Turns out Kia's new EV is worth getting excited about because Autocar reports it will act as a high-performance halo model for the brand.
According to the British outlet, Kia's next electric vehicle will be based on the Imagine concept that debuted in Geneva last year and will launch in 2021. It will reportedly have a new nameplate and will be positioned above the current Niro EV and Soul EV as a high-performance electric flagship.
Kia's product planning chief Pablo Matinez Masip describes the new performance EV as being "as significant in showing our EV capability for the future as the Stinger was for showing how far Kia had progressed when it was launched."
Kia's marketing chief Carlos Lahoz added the new model will have a "significant effect on how consumers perceive Kia and its part in future electrification. We want it to demonstrate super-high performance levels but in a package that is different. Today there are lots of A- and B-segment electric cars and many high-end electric cars; we want something different."
"We are not a premium brand, we are a mainstream brand, and we have to be true to that heritage. This car will be a halo and be priced as such, but it will demonstrate that you can get very high-performance levels without having to pay the premium prices of, for instance, Tesla, BMW or Mercedes."
Kia's new performance EV will ride on a new bespoke platform that will also be shared with Hyundai and be used for a range of more powerful and larger SUVs and sedans in the future. In terms of specs, Kia claims the new 2021 EV will have 310 miles of range and will be able to charge from 20-80 percent in around 20 minutes thanks to an 800V system when using a 350kW charger. Like the slick four-door Imagine concept, the new EV will sport a crossover design that "blurs the boundaries between passenger and sports utility vehicles," according to Kia UK boss Paul Philpott.
Emilio Herrera, Kia Europe's chief operating officer, also hinted that Kia could utilize EV tech from Rimac as part of its $90 million investment into the high-performance EV company. "Performance became a bit of a dirty word in the late 1980s and the 1990s, but we think electric cars can be fun without guilt," he said. "Look at Tesla: performance is a key part of what it offers, and we believe our electric cars should do that too. The goal is apply Rimac's knowhow across our range and give great performance to our cars."