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Kia Unveils 5-Year Electrification Plan

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Kia's top boss has unveiled a $25 billion plan to electrify a large portion of the lineup by 2025, an approach that will help change the company's image.

Hosung Song, who was promoted to chief executive officer of the company in March, wants to get ahead of parent company Hyundai with the introduction of (fully or partially) electrified vehicles and purpose-built vehicles that, he believes, are better suited to the uses they will be put to in the future. These include self-driving cabs designed for urban travel, for example.

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In an interview with Automotive News, the executive said Kia's "Plan S" will involve introducing 11 all-electric models to the Kia lineup by 2025; he added he believes that by then EVs will account for 6.6 percent of the global vehicle market share. He expects these new products to account for 20 percent of the brand's sales.

Hosung Song also said he believes that by 2025, the total cost of ownership of an electric model will be equivalent to that of a combustion engine product, since combustion engines require more maintenance and fuel costs are expected to rise.

By 2026, Hosung Song wants Kia to sell half a million electric vehicles, as well as another half a million hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicles. The goal is that by 2029, one-quarter of Kia's product sales will be all electric.

As for purpose-built vehicles, Kia describes them as products specifically designed for uses like carpooling, e-commerce delivery, etc., and found primarily in urban centres, and that they will be equipped with stand-alone technology.

Current Kia logo
Photo: D.Boshouwers
Current Kia logo
Possible futur Kia logo
Photo: Kia
Possible futur Kia logo

Finally, a new logo will mark the beginning of this new era. According to Automotive News, the current logo showing the company letters within a circle, which has been in use since 1994, would be jettisoned. The new badge could be the one seen on the Imagine concept unveiled in Geneva in 2019. We previously reported on Kia's possible plans for this logo.

If you’re wondering about that letter S in "Plan S", it refers to the English word Shift, which symbolizes the transition from one technology to another, namely the combustion engine to electric mobility.

The latest statement by Kia’s new boss cover a lot of ground and are clearly ambitious in scope and in the objectives laid out. The next few years will be active ones at Kia.

Kia Futuron concept, 2019
Photo: Kia
Kia Futuron concept, 2019