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Posted on January 16, 2020 by  & 

Kia Motors Announces Strategy to Transition to EV, Mobility Solutions

Kia Motors Corporation has announced details of 'Plan S', its mid- to long-term strategy aimed at encompassing mobility services and vehicle electrification, connectivity and autonomy. Plan S outlines Kia's preemptive and enterprising 'shift' from a business system focused on internal combustion engines toward one centered on electric vehicles and customized mobility solutions.
By the end of 2025, Kia plans to offer a full line-up of 11 battery electric vehicles. With these models Kia is looking to achieve a 6.6% share of the global EV market while also attaining a 25% share of its sales for its eco-friendly cars. With the global EV market expected to gain strength by 2026, Kia is aiming for 500,000 annual EV sales and global sales of 1 million eco-friendly vehicles (excluding China). For more information see the IDTechEx report on Electric Vehicles 2020-2030.
Alongside these objectives, Kia will offer EV-based mobility services as part of its new business model, helping solve global urban problems such as environmental pollution. The company will compete in the Purpose Built Vehicle (PBV) market, anticipated to grow on the back of expanding car-sharing and e-commerce businesses.
'Plan S': Kia's second-generation future businesses
Preemptive transition to EVs
  • Lead popularization of EVs
  • Launch a dedicated BEV model in 2021
  • Establish a full EV line-up of 11 models and reach a 6.6% global EV market share by 2025
  • Sell 500,000 BEVs and one million eco-friendly vehicles by 2026
  • Simultaneously offer EV derivatives of existing models and dedicated EV models; differentiate pricing and specification
  • Nurture advanced markets as major bases for EVs; achieve a 20% sales share out of all Kia models by 2025
  • Selectively introduce EV models in emerging markets; and expand sales of ICE vehicles
  • Adopt development system for EV architecture
  • Achieve EV sales innovation via customized subscription model, battery rental and lease, etc.
Provision of customized mobility solutions
  • Pursue mobility services based on electric and autonomous vehicles, enter PBV business
  • Establish Mobility Hubs in cities with stricter environmental regulations and greater use of EVs; and provide eco-friendly mobility services
  • Explore new profit models such as logistics and car maintenance via Mobility Hubs
  • Operate mobility services based on electric and autonomous vehicles in the long term
  • Lead PBV markets for corporate clients; offer customized PBVs for target customers
Plan S will see Kia Motors invest a total of 29 trillion won (US $25 billion) by the end of 2025 to establish leadership in vehicle electrification and diversify its business. By the end of this period, Kia Motors is targeting a 6% operating profit margin and 10.6% return on equity (ROE) ratio to secure the necessary capital and maximize shareholder value.
Preemptive transition to EV business
Kia will focus on securing its leadership in the global EV market by adopting a strategy of product differentiation, such as launching a dedicated EV model, as well as by establishing a company-wide innovation system. Starting with the launch of its maiden dedicated EV model in 2021, Kia will establish a full EV line-up of 11 models by 2025, adding new EV models to its whole line-up along the way, including passenger vehicles, SUVs and MPVs from 2022. The dedicated EV model to be launched 2021 will be built on a unique platform specifically engineered to accommodate the car's EV powertrain and technologies. Among other features, it will offer a crossover design which blurs the boundaries between passenger and sport utility vehicles, a future-oriented user experience, a single-charge driving range of over 500 kilometers, and sub-20-minute high-speed charging time.
In Korea, North American, Europe, and other advanced markets which face stricter fuel-efficiency standards, the company will foster their development as its key EV market bases. A full EV line-up will be established in these markets by 2025, and the sales of EVs will account for about 20% of Kia's total sales. In emerging markets, Kia will focus on expanding sales of internal combustion engine vehicles, while reviewing the selective entry of EVs depending on demand in each market.
Over the last year, Kia has unveiled three concept cars that offer a glimpse of the company's direction for future EV development, such as the Imagine by Kia, the HabaNiro and the Futuron. In May last year, Kia invested in Croatian performance EV manufacturer Rimac Automobili; and in September invested in IONITY, which specializes in building high-speed charging infrastructures. The IONITY investment in particular will pave the way for advancing Kia's business of high-speed recharging infrastructure development in Europe and other major countries.
Promoting mobility services; entry into PBV business
Kia will diversify its business to offer eco-friendly mobility services centered on electric and autonomous driving across major global cities. It will also enter the Purpose Built Vehicle (PBV) market, where demand is expected to grow amid the proliferation of e-commerce and car sharing, eventually securing a new corporate client base there. Kia will collaborate with local partners to establish Mobility Hubs that house EV charging stations, vehicle maintenance centers and convenience facilities. These Mobility Hubs will be utilized as transfer stations between electric vehicles and internal combustion engine vehicles, the latter of which cannot enter certain urban areas due to environmental regulations.
In the long term, the company aims to operate self-driving robotaxis and on-demand roboshuttles in urban centers that also operate the Mobility Hubs. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Autonomous Cars and Robotaxis 2020-2040: Players, Technologies and Market Forecast.
In 2018, the company invested in Grab, Southeast Asia's largest ride-hailing service, food delivery and payment solutions company; and in Ola in March last year, an Indian ridesharing company offering peer-to-peer ridesharing, ride-service hailing, taxi, food delivery and other mobility services.
In particular, Kia has established and started operating a car-sharing services joint venture with Repsol, Spain's major energy corporation, in Madrid via its WiBLE brand. Launched in September 2018, WiBLE operates 500 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid EVs (PHEVs) through a free-floating method that allows users to freely rent and return vehicles within the service area. WiBLE remains one of Europe's most successful shared mobility schemes, with over 130,000 members having registered since its inauguration.
Kia - as part of Hyundai Motor Group - signed a joint venture agreement in September 2019 with Aptiv, a world-leading enterprise specializing in the development of autonomous driving solutions. This partnership will help the brand advance its Society of Automotive Engineers International Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous driving technologies that will constitute the core capabilities of future mobility solutions. Through the joint venture, Kia will develop a leading-edge autonomous driving platform by 2022, and run experimental operations in select areas in 2023. It will be followed by commercial production in the second half of 2024, and supply the platform to global automakers and mobility services firms.
With the popularization of autonomous technology, Kia will expand its business model to include a customized PBV business centered on electric and self-driving vehicles that use an integrated modular 'skateboard' platform, such as mini-size driverless delivery cars and robotaxis. The skateboard platform incorporates a flat, low-mounted battery and compact motor, two of the core EV components, atop a skateboard-shaped platform. Such a structure allows a car body to be mounted on top depending on users' functional needs.
Source and top image: Kia Motors
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