In an attempt to establish a leadership position in the global EV market by responding to fast-growing demand for battery electric vehicles (BEVs), Kia Motors Corporation today revealed further details on its EV business strategy – ‘Plan S’ that was announced earlier this year in January.
According to the Hyundai Motor Group company, the brand will launch a diverse range of dedicated BEVs and partner with EV charging companies worldwide in order to let EVs contribute one-fourth of Kia’s global vehicle sales over the next decade.
As per Ho Sung Song, president and CEO, Kia Motors Corporation, “Kia has sold more than 100,000 BEVs worldwide since the introduction of our first mass-produced BEV in 2011, the Kia Ray EV. 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.”
While its Plan S announced earlier this year talked about a mid- to- long-term future EV strategy and outlined the brand’s plans to introduce 11 new BEV models into its global product portfolio by 2025, the company today revealed to further intensify its approach by announcing to launch seven dedicated BEV models across vehicle segments by 2027.
With these models Kia is looking to achieve a 6.6% share of the global EV market (excluding China), while also attaining a 25% share of its sales from its eco-friendly cars. With the global EV market expected to gain strength by 2026, Kia is aiming for 500,000 annual EV sales and global sales of 1 million eco-friendly vehicles (excluding China). This overall strategy ties in with parent company Hyundai Motor Group's EV-driven global growth roadmap.
The first of these BEVs, codenamed ‘CV’ – will be unveiled in 2021 and will be a dedicated all-electric model meant for sales in various markets around the world. The company says that the new model will offer competitive product quality and boast eye-catching design like other Kia vehicles, along with high-performance driving and recharging characteristics. It will offer a crossover design which blurs the boundaries between passenger and sport utility vehicles, a future-oriented user experience, a single-charge driving range of over 500km and sub-20-minute high-speed charging time.
The Plan S strategy also focuses upon a quicker growth capitalisation from BEVs in advanced markets including Korea, North America and Europe, targeting 20 percent sales from all-electrics in these markets by 2025.
Transformation on different fronts
The company is also undergoing a significant transformation in order to realise the aforesaid electrification strategy and with the launch of the CV BEV in 2021, will see a dramatic change in its attitude towards innovation and change. Kia says that the new model will also lead it into a new design direction aimed at signifying the company’s transition into an EV-focused business and mobility services provider.
As a result, the company is innovating its vehicle planning, development and production operations to actively reflect diverse customer needs right from the product planning stage. Kia is also planning to respond to market demands by offering diversified product types with a range of models suitable for the urban ecosystem, long-range journeys, and performance driving. Furthermore, by adapting its new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), Kia will be able to offer vehicles with best-in-class interior space.
Kia Motors is also seeking to innovate its sales practices for EVs. The brand is exploring the creation of subscription services to offer a diversified buying option for customers, as well as EV battery leasing and rental programs, and other ‘second-life’ battery-related businesses.
In addition, Kia Motors plans to expand its global aftersales infrastructure for EVs. The company aims to increase its number of dedicated EV work bays in Korea to 1,200 by 2030. In other markets worldwide, Kia will increase its number of EV work bays to 600 by the end of 2020, and more than 2,000 by 2023. Kia also plans to develop its own programs to train EV maintenance professionals.
Installing charging infrastructure
Kia sees the expansion of electric charging infrastructures as a pre-condition for the popularisation of EVs and continues to explore activities worldwide to improve charging accessibility for drivers.
In Korea, the company will strengthen business activities that directly lead to the construction of a charging infrastructure. Initially this will rely on its existing network of nationwide sales branches, dealerships and service centres, with Kia aiming to supply around 1,500 EV chargers by 2030. Furthermore, Hyundai Motor Group will install 120 Ultra-Fast Chargers by 2021 in urban centres and along twelve highways linking eight provinces across the country.
Worldwide, Kia is establishing more than 2,400 EV chargers in Europe and around 500 in North America, partnering with its dealer networks. The company plans to continue to increase its charging infrastructure in line with the growing market for EVs.
Furthermore, Kia is striving to secure a comprehensive charging infrastructure for customers through strategic alliances, starting with a strategic investment in Ionity - a European company specialising in high-speed EV charging - in September last year.
Kia is also seeking charging infrastructure partners for the US and China to provide an optimised infrastructure tailored to conditions in each market, while strengthening cooperation to leverage new charging technologies.
The company says it is supporting its efforts to establish a leadership position in the global EV market through active collaboration with governments and by engaging in other commercial partnerships. Having established a new start-up in July this year, Purple M (specialising in providing customized e-mobility services based on EVs), Kia also plans to enhance collaboration with various government organisations to expand cooperation in several areas, including the conversion of public transportation to electric power, and the construction of EV charging infrastructures.
Through these process innovations, which enable the cost- and time-efficient development of a diverse range of EV models, Kia expects to bolster its global EV competitiveness.