Seoul - Kia has big plans for the electric market, and interestingly enough one of its forthcoming EV projects could also form the basis of a traditional body-on-frame bakkie with internal combustion engines.
Kia announced earlier in March that it planned to launch 14 battery electric vehicles by 2027 and starting in 2023 the Korean carmaker will launch at least two EVs per year. Among these are a pair of electric pick-up trucks, one being a strategic model for emerging markets and the other taking the form of an entry-level product, likely twinning with Hyundai’s Santa Cruz.
But Automotive News has thickened the plot with a recent report stating that Kia was exploring the possibility of a global body-on-frame bakkie, likely in the midsize segment. This vehicle, AN claims, would form the basis of the aforementioned electric bakkie for emerging markets. But it would also allow for “multiple powertrain options”, implying that diesel and petrol variants could be on the cards too.
Hyundai and Kia’s Australian business units have been trying to motivate for a Hilux-rivalling ute for some time now, but last we heard Kia Australia’s COO Damien Meredith had all but given up on the prospect, labelling it a “long shot” according to CarsGuide.
But the latest report from Automotive News suggests that the one-tonne bakkie project could finally be getting off the ground.
“Body-on-frame architecture lends itself to electrification and could allow for multiple powertrain options,” Automotive News said.
But the company’s overall focus is still predominantly on electric vehicles and to that end Kia says it aims to increase its BEV sales to over 800 000 units a year by 2026 and 1.2 million by 2030.
Kia plans to follow up on its EV6 premium battery car with a flagship EV called the EV9 later this year. Measuring around five metres in length, the EV9 will have a claimed range in the region of 540km and will accelerate from 0-100km/h in five seconds.
Other smaller and cheaper Kia BEV products will be launched from 2024 onwards.