Hybrids & Electrics

Kia Reveals New EV Lineup With Ominous Photos

The past couple of years have been positive for electric vehicles. Many automotive journalists and bloggers were betting on 2020 as the year of the EV. Then along came a pandemic, and many manufacturers postponed their plans. That included Kia. But earlier this month, the automaker announced exciting plans to release a full EV model lineup over the next six years.

According to MotorTrend, Kia pledged to release the first of its new EVs by year’s end.

Kia’s new purpose and future strategy

Kia's forthcoming EVs were shrouded in shadows in their January 15 reveal
Kia’s forthcoming EVs were shrouded in shadows in their January 15 reveal | Kia

On January 15, Kia published a press release announcing a “new brand purpose and ambitions for the future.” Using a refreshed brand motto — “Movement that inspires” — the South Korean auto giant revealed new aspects of its strategy at a digital showcase. The brand plans to expand beyond building vehicles to create “sustainable mobility solutions.” In doing so, Kia eliminated “Motor” from its name and changed its logo.

The president and CEO of Kia Corporation, Ho Sung Song, stated, “At Kia, we believe that transportation, mobility, and movement represent a human right. Our vision is to create sustainable mobility solutions for consumers, communities, and societies globally. Today we start putting this vision into action with the launch of our new brand purpose and strategy for the future.”

Though Kia’s press release didn’t reveal much about its future EV concepts, it did drop a few nuggets here and there. One of those juicy tidbits: Kia stated it’ll use Hyundai Motor Group’s new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). In doing so, Kia hopes to produce several long-range driving and high-speed-charging battery electric vehicles (BEV). It seems the lineup will mostly comprise SUVs and MPVs (multipurpose vehicles) across segments.

The first BEV, set to debut later this year, will sport a crossover-inspired design, a range of over 500 kilometers, and a 20-minute charge time. This innovative EV crossover will also feature characteristics of Kia’s Imagine Concept that premiered at the 2019 Geneva auto show.

Kia shrouds its EV lineup in silhouette

A Kia EV ominously lurks in the shadows with red backlighting
A Kia EV ominously lurks in the shadows | Kia

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Kia’s January press release also included interesting photos of the new EV lineup. They show silhouettes of barely visible vehicles with monochrome backlighting.

The art of silhouette photography, particularly in marketing, is an excellent way to elicit emotion, invoke mystery, build drama, and set moods. The wonderful thing about using silhouette photography in marketing is that it shrouds products under a veil that leaves much to the imagination. The tantalizing effect is significantly more persuasive on the human psyche than a mere curtain.

Silhouette imagery conveys various moods depending on how the photographer uses lighting. For example, a couple embracing in a silhouette in front of a setting sun conveys romance. A man walking down a dark street lit by a single streetlight conveys mystery. And a wolf sitting atop a hill backlit by the moon might convey solitude. The lighting color also plays a significant role in how viewers perceive an image.

With that said, some might find Kia’s silhouetted photos of its EV concepts more ominous than mysterious or tantalizing. The reason is Kia’s choice of background lighting colors: red, green, and yellow. Red lighting tends to relate to nightlife and scary movies. Green can convey feelings of well-being, calmness, power, and nature. But when that color pairs with shadows, people might feel differently about it. Yellow is fun, energetic, young, and attention-grabbing. However, much like green, yellow can evoke other feelings when paired with silhouettes.

Kia probably didn’t intend for its EVs to look ominous. It makes more sense that the silhouettes and lighting should convey mystery. Either way, the photos make an impact.

The Kia Niro was the first non-Tesla EV to lead the market

Kia made headlines in 2019 when many sources reported the Niro was the first non-Tesla electric car to lead the market. Though not impressive in any other area, the Niro took non-Tesla EVs into the mainstream. After the Tesla Model 3, the Niro proved EVs could be relatively affordable and produced en masse.

A good amount of credit also goes to other innovative electric cars, such as the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, and Hyundai Kona, for boosting car buyers’ interest in EVs. But it Kia and Hyundai might be the undisputed leaders in this area.