It's one of 14 electric vehicles the brand will launch by 2027.
The Kia EV6 is a rather accomplished crossover. With a starting price of $40,900, it is rather well-priced and, what's more, boasts attractive styling. It's so well-liked that it was recently crowned European Car of the Year. But Kia has big plans for its electrified future, which includes introducing a slew of models in the next few years. The carmaker announced its EV roadmap at the 2022 CEO Investor Day virtual event, with the intention of becoming a leader in sustainable mobility.
The most exciting announcement pertains to the EV9, the brand's upcoming flagship electric car. Slated for a 2023 introduction, the large SUV will be the first of many electric vehicles that will be released between next year and 2027. Measuring over 196 inches from stem to stern, the EV9 will be able to dash to 62 mph in a mere five seconds and boasts a range of approximately 335 miles. What's more, it can provide around 62 miles of driving range in just six minutes of charging.
First seen in late 2021, the range-topper will boast Over the Air and Feature on Demand services which will allow customers to purchase a variety of software functions. Additionally, it will also be the first Kia to feature the brand's advanced AutoMode autonomous driving technology.
Aside from the EV9, the Korean brand also aims to launch two battery-powered vehicles per year from 2023, to have a 14-car-strong EV range by 2027. This, says the brand, will aid in solidifying its position as the world's leading EV maker. In the years to come, its offerings will also include two electric pickups (including one for emerging markets) and an entry-level electric car, something that is sorely needed.
The automaker is aiming to increase its market share in the electric segment, beginning with 160,000 sales this year. By 2026, Kia is aiming to increase this to 807,000 units in 2026, and 1.2 million in 2030. The carmaker estimates over 80% of its BEV sales in 2030 will come from the Korean, North American, European and Chinese markets.
Changes will have to be made if this goal is to be achieved. To that end, the company's various production sites will evolve. The brand says Korea will serve as a global hub "for research, development, production, and supply of EVs," while other manufacturing facilities will produce strategic EVs for their respective markets.
From 2025, small and medium-sized EVs will be produced in Europe. In the US, where pickups and SUVs dominate sales, electric offerings will be manufactured from 2024. Elsewhere, Kia plans to introduce mid-size EVs in China from 2023 and produce entry and mid-size models in India, from 2025.
As mentioned, Kia's AutoMode will be introduced in the EV9 and will boast a "Highway Driving Pilot" feature allowing autonomous driving on highway sections without driver intervention. It will eventually be expanded across the range. By 2026, Kia is aiming to include the tech in all new models launched in major markets and plans to upgrade it by implementing fully autonomous driving technology in the near future.
Keen drivers will be pleased to hear that Kia hasn't forgotten about them. Part of the EV expansion includes introducing a high-performance derivative of the EV6, known as the GT. The Korean brand also plans on introducing GT variants of all its EVs. No stone has been left unturned, with Kia even planning to develop a purpose-built vehicle known as the Niro Plus. Based on the Niro SUV, it will be used for taxi and car-hailing services.
Should other manufacturers be worried? Based on Kia's extensively detailed plan for domination, yes. It has left nothing to chance and, if its upcoming offerings are as good as the EV6, it stands a very good chance of becoming an industry leader. It's a tall order, but catering to specific markets and, what's more, producing those vehicles locally is a smart decision, as it reduces costs. We're looking forward to seeing whether Kia's plans for domination come to fruition. It may have to vie with corporate sister Hyundai for top honors, though.