Kia Motors is aiming for a quarter of its sales to come from eco-friendly vehicles by the end of 2025
South Korean auto giant Kia Motors yesterday launched a long-term strategy to become a leader in electric vehicles (EVs) and mobility services, sketching out a detailed timeline for its transition from a business built on the internal combustion engine to a new powerhouse of the electric era.
The ‘Plan S’ strategy knits together shorter term plans to establish a diverse fleet of EVs with a longer-term vision of autonomous robotaxis shuttling residents through the green cities of the future.
Under the Plan S strategy, the South Korean firm will launch a new dedicated EV model in 2021. By 2025, it aims to offer 11 EVs, including passenger vehicles, SUVs and MPVs, targeting 6.6 per cent of global EV market share, excluding China.
And by the end of 2025, Kia Motors hopes a quarter of its total sales will come from eco-friendly vehicles, with global EV sales of 500,000 and eco-friendly vehicle sales of one million by the start of 2026.
“Plan S is a bold and enterprising roadmap for Kia’s future business transition, buttressed by the two pillars of electric vehicles and mobility solutions,” Kia Motors President and CEO Han-woo Park said. “Our approach is to put customers first, and Kia will reinvigorate its brand innovation by developing products and services that offer new experiences for customers.”
Kia said it will also seek to develop EV-based mobility services, starting in cities with stricter environmental regulations. In total, the firm plans to invest $25bn by the end of 2025 to fuel its journey to the forefront of the electric vehicle market.
Kia has previously announced details of its first EV model designed as zero emission from scratch. Launching in 2021, its design will blur the boundaries between passenger and sport utility vehicles, the firm has said, incorporating a single-charge driving range of over 500km and a sub-20 minute high-speed driving time. Kia will be hoping it will build on the success of its e-Niro car, which was named What Car? car of the year in 2019.
But Plan S fills in detail on how the firm plans to expand its EV fleet. It expects to operate two different types of EVs with different charging capabilities – high-performance dedicated models and derivative models with reasonable pricing. The shift to EVs will be targeted at Korean, North American, European and other developed markets, the firm said, while in emerging markets the focus will remain on expanding sales of internal combustion engines.
Alongside developing private electric vehicles, the strategy outlines plans to work with local partners in climate-conscious cities to establish ‘Mobility Hubs’ that house EV charging stations, vehicle maintenance centres and other convenience facilities.
In the long-term, the company also aims to operate self-driving robotaxis and on-demand roboshuttles in urban centres that also operate the Mobility Hubs.
Kia began laying the groundwork for its pivot to electrification with a series of investments last year. In May, it invested in Croatian performance EV manufacturer Rimac Automobil. In September it invested in IONITY, which specialises in building high-speed charging infrastructure. The IONITY investment will pave the way for advancing Kia’s business of high-speed recharging infrastructure development in Europe and other major countries, the firm said.
Meanwhile, Kia has ramped up collaboration with mobility solutions businesses both at home and abroad. In 2018, it invested in Grab, Southeast Asia’s largest ride-hailing service, food delivery and payment solutions company. And March last year saw it invest in Ola, an Indian company offering peer-to-peer ridesharing, ride-service hailing, taxi, food delivery and other mobility services.