We should learn more about some of the EVs Kia will follow up the EV9 with via the auto shows coming up in 2023. However, according to Top Electric SUV.com, we may expect the next EV from Kia to be either a sporty sedan that effectively replaces the gasoline powered Stinger, now in its final model year, or perhaps a small crossover SUV (smaller than the EV6 and approximately the size of the Kia Soul). It is possible Kia would launch them both in the same year and either way, we may see one or both of them in concept form, if not in full prototype, sometime next year. Whatever new EV models Kia releases, they should follow Kia’s naming schema: EV#.
Kia has ambitious plans to ramp up its sales of “eco-friendly” models (which means not only EVs but also hybrids (HEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs)). According to Inside EVs.com, Kia’s target for eco-friendly vehicles for 2022 is 17% of their total global production, with 160,000 of those units being EVs (or 5% of their total volume). By 2030, Kia intends for about 52% of their global production volume to be eco-friendly vehicles and most of that (about 30% of the total) would be EVs. That 30% of total production volume would be equal to about 1.2 million units. Further, for the U.S., Chinese, European and Korean markets Kia’s eco-friendly target is 78% by 2030.
Between 2022 and 2026 specifically, Kia is targeting an increase in global EV sales from 5%, or 160,000 units, to 21% or 807,000 units. Spread evenly over this time, Kia would need to increase global sales by over 160,000 units, year after year. In the U.S. market, if Kia’s 4th quarter EV sales turn out to simply represent 25% more sales than they had through the end of Q3, that suggests Kia might sell a total of somewhere north of 29,000 EVs in the U.S. by the end of the year. For the U.S. market to keep pace with the growth Kia intends, that means Kia needs to increase the number of EVs it sells here annually by around 18,000 every year for the next 4 years. By the end of 2026, Kia would thus be selling around 100k or more EVs in the U.S. annually. If those figures turn out to be accurate, that actually isn’t a very large number, considering it would be split between multiple models. This begs the question, if that’s really all Kia is aiming for in terms of U.S. EV sales by the end of 2026, would we even see more than 4 or 5 different EV models here by then?
Considering the popularity of SUVs and crossovers in the U.S. and that Kia already has 2 EVs on sale here (the EV6 and the Niro EV), after the EV9 also goes on sale next year it seems slightly more likely to me that Kia would first bring a small or compact EV crossover/SUV to market in the U.S. Then, I would expect them to follow that up with the mid-size EV pickup they are already prototyping, and at least until 2027, that may be it for new Kia EVs in the U.S. market unless perhaps they intend to replace the Niro EV with a different EV model.
What do you think? Will Kia actually bring more than 3 additional EV models to market in the U.S. by the end of 2026? Please leave your comments and questions below.
Images courtesy of Kia.
Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 14 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Twitter for daily KIA EV news coverage.