There is no denying that electric cars will make up a significant portion of the U.S. auto market moving forward, and Kia is diving headfirst. In a new announcement covered by Car and Driver, the Korean carmaker announced it would have at least 11 EVs available by 2026.
It appears Kia is doubling down after its separation from Apple earlier this week. We know this because the carmaker moved up its EV timeline by a full year.
Does Kia sell electric vehicles?
If you want to buy a fully-electric Kia in 2021 in the U.S., you have just one option, the Niro EV. While the brand offers a few hybrid-powered vehicles, the Niro is the only true EV available in the lineup. With a $39,090 base price, the Niro is significantly more expensive than the Nissan Leaf ($31,620) and Chevrolet Bolt EV ($36,500).
With 239 miles of electric range, the 2021 Kia Niro EV surpasses the Leaf’s maximum 226-mile range but falls short of the Bolt EV’s estimated range of 259 miles. Despite this, the electric crossover impressed Consumer Reports during its road test, excelling in the transmission, fuel economy, acceleration, and braking categories.
Unfortunately, this electric Kia failed the predicted reliability section due to significant user-reported issues with its powertrain. As a result, it is impressive to see Kia expanding to 11 full-fledged EVs by 2026.
Expect 11 models on sale by 2026
Toward the end of January, Kia announced its brand-new plan for the brand along with the image embedded above of an upcoming lineup of EVs. However, that initial announcement predicted that these new models would arrive by 2027. In a recent update covered by Car and Driver, that timeline has now moved up an entire year to 2026.
According to Car and Driver, seven of these brand-new Kia models will utilize Hyundai Motor Group’s E-GMP architecture. According to JD Power, the first EV to utilize this platform will be the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5, an electric crossover. As it stands, the Korean carmaker will add four electric vehicles derived from models in its current lineup. As a result, many of these EVs will carry a familiar face.
The first of Kia’s planned EVs appears to be an electric crossover code-named “CV”, says Car and Driver. The goal is to reach 300 miles of electric range with a recharge time of 20 minutes.
Will gas-powered cars be a thing of the past?
Don’t worry, Kia’s newest plan spells out the death of gas-powered cars. However, Car and Driver report that the Korean carmaker wants 40 percent of its sales in 2030 to encompass EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids. The target is to sell 1.6 million vehicles in 2030. Of that major sum, the carmaker wants 880,000 of them to be EVs. As a result, we may see less investment in gas-powered cars to fund this ambitious new plan.
However, given the challenges the Niro EV has faced, it likely won’t be as simple as expected. However, since the Korean carmaker is no longer partnering with Apple, it can focus solely on executing this brand-new plan.