With the Apple Car Project in Limbo, Kia Shares an Updated Roadmap of its Future EV Plans

With the Apple Car Project in Limbo, Kia Shares an Updated Roadmap of its Future EV Plans

Author: Eric Walz   

Automaker Kia made headlines around the world after it was reported that the South Korean company was in talks with computer giant Apple Inc to build an electric, Apple-branded self-driving car. However the automaker is now saying that it's now longer in talks with Apple, but that's not slowing it's aggressive plans to become one of the world leading producers of electric vehicles.

At Kia's 2021 CEO Investor Day, a virtual event in Seoul, President and CEO of Kia Corporation Ho Sung Song, provided an update to the automaker's new "Plan S" strategy for its future business, which included its mid to long-term roadmap.

The renewed ‘Plan S' strategy includes three core pillars, advancing electric vehicle (EV) transition, strengthening its purpose-built vehicle (PBV) business, and expanding future mobility services.

"Kia is being reborn in 2021 with a new logo, new design, and new corporate name," said Song during his keynote. "Kia will transform into a brand that excites and inspires customers with innovative mobility experiences."

The transformation for Kia starts with the switch from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electrification. 

By 2030, eco-friendly vehicles will make up 40 percent of all sales for Kia. These models include electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles. Kia annual sales target is 1.6 million vehicles. 

Kia aims to grow its EV sales to 880,000 units in 2030 and become the world's top seller of battery-powered vehicles.


Kia unveiled its new logo last month.

Kia will launch its first of many new EVs by the end of this year. By 2026, the company plans to have 11 new electric models in its lineup. Seven of these vehicles will be built on the company's new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) architecture. The remaining 4 will be based on Kia's existing vehicle platforms.

The EVs built on Kia's new E-GMP will offer long ranges, large interiors and come loaded with connected technology. Kia said the vehicles will be "smart devices" with expanded application of Audio Video Navigation Telematics (AVNT), Over-the-Air (OTA) and Feature on Demand (FoD) services and autonomous driving capability.

The first dedicated EV from Kia is codenamed "CV." It will come with level 2 automated driving capabilities that Kia calls HDA2 (Highway Driving Assist Level-2) technology. Starting in 2023, Kia EVs will be equipped with Highway Driving Pilot (HDP), a Level-3 autonomous driving  technology.

Additional details and performance specifications for the CV will be revealed next month.

Kia will unveil its first purpose-built vehicle (PBV) in 2022, with additional PBVs being launched according to market needs. Kia will develop a variety of specialized vehicles based on its PBV-dedicated skateboard platforms.

Kia plans to further expand its PBV business by cooperating with other companies to develop micro and large platforms ranging from small unmanned delivery vehicles and electric e-commerce vehicles. The company expects market demand for these services to increase globally.

The third part of Kia's Plan S is to expand its commercial mobility service around the world. In Spain, the automaker's car-sharing service named Wible will be expanded with Wible Más and Wible Empresas (tentatively named). 

Kia's car-sharing service "KiaMobility", which was launched in September of last year as a pilot project in Italy and Russia, but it will also launch in additional European markets.

The platform allows customers to reserve a Kia vehicle of their choice, pay via a mobile app, and visit a local dealer for pick-up and drop-off of the vehicles.

Kia will launch an EV-based service that combines a subscription service with car-sharing. Under this mobility service concept, vehicles will be used for business on weekdays and rented by individuals on the weekends.

Kia's subscription service was launched in Korea in 2019 and is called "Kia Flex." Kia plans to launch a global version later this year under the name "Kia Subscription." 

The service will be operated by Sixt Leasing, a business acquired by Hyundai Motor Group last year. The vehicles for the subscription service will be provided by the company's regional affiliates and dealers. 

Kia's parent company Hyundai Motor Co announced a similar plan in December to become one of the world's biggest EV manufacturers. For the most part Hyundai's plan mirrors that of Kia.

Hyundai's plan is called "Strategy 2025" and will transform the company into one of the world's world's leading mobility providers and largest manufacturers of electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles.

Strategy 2025 builds upon Hyundai's original roadmap announced in 2019 and also includes three pillars, Smart Mobility Devices, Smart Mobility Service and hydrogen fuel cell solutions. 

The three pillars include building more fully-electric vehicles, the development of autonomous driving, urban air mobility, including electric vertical take off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, and fuel cell powertrains for cars, trucks and other commercial vehicles.

Kia's parent company Hyundai also shared its mid to long-term financial goals in December, which include an investment of KRW 60.1 trillion ($56 billion) by 2025 and achieving a 5% share of the global automotive market. 

Kia's investment from 2020 to 2025 is expected to be KRW 29 trillion (US$26.2 billion). Kia will maintain an annual investment level of around KRW 5 trillion (US$4.5 billion), the company said.

With the multibillion investments, Kia and its parent Hyundai are poised to become major players in the EV and advanced mobility sector worldwide as the auto industry pivots towards electrification.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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