Kia will launch its first bespoke electric car next year, and our photographers have caught an early prototype being tested in heavy camouflage.
The as-yet-unnamed EV was first detailed earlier this year as part of the Korean manufacturer’s bold, £19 billion ‘Plan S’ strategy to transition to a producer of EVs and mobility solutions by 2025.
It will be one of 11 electric Kia models on sale within the next five years, following the e-Niro and Soul EV – both of which are based on combustion-engined cars – to market.
This test mule gives little away in terms of the new car’s styling, although it appears to remain true to Kia’s earlier hints that it would feature a “crossover design which blurs the boundaries between passenger and sports utility vehicles”.
The EV can be expected, underneath the camouflage, to take some inspiration from the Imagine by Kia concept revealed at last year’s Geneva motor show. Drawing together elements of an SUV, a sleek saloon and a crossover, the swooping four-door was said to have a performance focus but wasn’t intended to be a serious sports car.
More obvious is the prototype’s similar shape and size to the upcoming Hyundai 45, although the sibling brands can be seen to be taking radically different styling approaches. Hyundai’s car has an angular, retro-inspired design, while the Kia’s approach appears softer, with more curves and longer overhangs.
The pair of EVs can be expected to sit atop the same skateboard-style electric platform, which has yet to be technically detailed but is said to allow for maximum interior space and will go on to form the basis for a range of more powerful and larger SUVs and saloons.
Kia says its 2021 EV will offer a range of more than 310 miles, but sources have said the company is aiming for a 500-mile range in the future.
Kia previously said its 2021 EV will be capable of charging in less than 20 minutes with a high-speed 800V charger but that a 400V system will be fitted to other derivative models in its future EV line-up to allow for more varied pricing.