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Kia Europe and Uber have announced a milestone electric mobility partnership that will accelerate the adoption of advanced zero-emission battery electric vehicles across Europe, making urban areas cleaner and quieter.
The partnership will see Kia offer its high-tech range of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) – including the e-Niro and e-Soul – to Uber drivers with special offers, making the company a leading provider of electrified vehicles to the ride hailing sector.
New mobility partnerships are part of Kia’s ground-breaking Plan S strategy, revealed earlier this year, which will see eco-friendly models take a 40% share of all Kia sales globally by the end of 2030. As part of the Plan S roadmap, Kia will realise a global annual sales target of 880,000 units for all electric vehicles and 1.6 million units for eco-friendly cars by the end of the decade.
Kia’s development focus is on popularizing BEVs – a core element of the Plan S transformation strategy – and plans to reinforce its global product line-up with the introduction of 11 new BEV models by 2026, seven of which will be developed on the advanced Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). These new models will include a range of passenger vehicles, SUVs and MPVs across several segments, each incorporating industry-leading technology for long-range real-world driving and high-speed charging.
Uber is also targeting dramatic reductions in carbon emissions, with plans to become a zero-emission mobility platform across Europe by 2030. The company has outlined ambitions to operate over 100,000 BEVs across its European platform by 2025. As part of that goal, half of all the kilometres driven by Uber drivers by 2025 in seven major European cities – Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Lisbon, London, Madrid and Paris – will be undertaken in zero-emissions vehicles.
Experiencing BEVs first-hand
As part of the partnership’s wider remit, Kia and Uber will develop joint marketing and educational campaigns to further promote BEVs to Uber drivers. Kia will also offer test-drives to allow drivers to experience the brand’s all-electric zero-emissions vehicles first-hand.
With a real-world driving range of 454 kilometres (282 miles) for the 64kWh model, the Kia e-Niro combines full BEV zero-emissions functionality with practicality thanks to its sleek crossover body style. The cabin fuses a modern design with a generous and robust interior space along with cutting-edge connectivity and infotainment tech to complement the zero-tailpipe emissions powertrain. Charging the e-Niro’s lithium-ion polymer battery up to 80 percent takes only 54 minutes using a 100kW direct current (DC) fast charger.
“This exciting partnership with Uber heralds another important milestone for BEVs and sustainable zero-emissions mobility in Europe”, said Jason Jeong, President at Kia Europe. “Making sure that the air is clean in congested city and town centres – as well as ensuring these spaces are quiet and free from vehicle noise pollution – is at the very top of our agenda. This important partnership with Uber is a significant step forward in realising that goal and we are very proud to be able to offer our advanced BEV range, starting with the e-Niro and e-Soul models.”
Anabel Diaz, Regional General Manager for EMEA, Uber, said: “We’re proud to be working with Kia to make sure drivers across Europe have access to best-in-class electric vehicles at an affordable price. Zero-emissions mobility is more than just an aim for us – it’s a necessity. As Europe continues to reopen, we are committed to playing our part in cleaning up urban transport, so this partnership is crucial in our efforts to advance the electrification of our platform across Europe by 2030.”
Kia and Uber will further strengthen the strategic alliance by offering high-tech BEVs in 20 European markets* as demand grows.
Kia Motors has today released the first image of the new Kia XCeed urban crossover, due to be revealed later in June 2019. Stylish, expressive and modern in design, the new crossover utility vehicle (CUV) represents a sporty alternative to traditional larger SUVs.
The swept-back, coupé-like appearance of the new Kia XCeed is a product of the brand’s European design centre in Frankfurt, Germany, designed under the direction of Gregory Guillaume, Vice President of Design for Kia Motors Europe. The combination of its elevated ride height and lower hip point give the car a sportier driving position than a traditional SUV. Its raised driving position offers a clearer view of the road ahead than a conventional family hatchback.
More emotional and dynamic in format and design than its taller rivals, the new Kia XCeed will nevertheless offer comparable levels of interior space and luggage capacity to Europe’s best-selling SUVs.
Emilio Herrera, Chief Operating Officer at Kia Motors Europe, comments: “The sporty design and demeanour of the new Kia XCeed CUV makes it more innately desirable than many taller, larger SUVs. Yet it offers this without compromising on versatility, with its intelligent packaging achieving the cabin and storage space of an SUV in a sportier body and more compact footprint.”
The new Kia XCeed will be revealed in full on 26 June.
Kia Motors India (KMI) will make its Indian market debut at the Auto Expo 2018 in New Delhi with a new concept car. Kia will unveil the SP Concept at the New Delhi motor show on 7 February, 2018, alongside a showcase of 16 of the brand’s global models.
Inspired by Indian heritage and driven by advanced technology, the Kia SP Concept hints at the company’s plans to introduce a new SUV to the Indian market in future. Bold and stylish, the SP Concept combines sophisticated beauty, breakthrough technology, and high functionality in a small SUV form.
Alongside the global debut for the SP Concept, Kia will showcase its global range of cars at Auto Expo. Kia will exhibit its wide range of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, and a range of other cars – including the exciting new Stinger sports sedan. Kia Motors is looking to replicate its global success in India, the world’s fastest growing car market.
Han-Woo Park, President of Kia Motors Corporation, commented: “All of us at Kia Motors are extremely proud to take our first steps into one of world’s largest automotive markets. And we are here to build more than just great cars. We aim to set a new standard in the Indian auto industry by providing consumers with world-class products and services, while engaging with and giving back to the local community.”
Kia’s award-winning products are now among the most popular cars on sale across the world today, gaining praise for attractive design, high-tech features, and reliability. The company’s distinctive design identity, including its hallmark ‘tiger-nose’ grille, runs through the brand’s entire vehicle line-up, making the brand’s cars immediately recognizable all over the world.
The SP Concept and full range of Kia cars will be on display at the Kia stand in Hall 7 of the Auto Expo.
Recognizing environmental achievement in the auto industry, the Kia Niro has been named Green Car Journal’s 2018 Green SUV of the Year™. Since the Niro went on sale early last year, it has been a popular choice for consumers seeking a hybrid offering crossover utility and great looks. The Niro beat out crossover/SUV finalists from Chevrolet, Mini, Mazda, and Volvo for the coveted award.
“We’re thrilled to have received this special distinction from Green Car Journal,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, planning & strategy, Kia Motors America. “The Niro represents years of hard work by Kia to provide a hybrid that is fun, versatile, economical and a pleasure to look at and drive. It’s immensely gratifying to all of us that the Niro is recognized by Green Car Journal as the 2018 Green SUV of the Year.”
“The Kia Niro impresses on many levels with its appealing style, functionality and features,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and GreenCarJournal.com. “What’s equally important is its hybrid powertrain and affordable price point, a combination that makes the Niro accessible to a great many buyers who wish to drive with a smaller environmental footprint.”
Kia Motors today presents its future mobility vision at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Under its new ‘Boundless for all’ vision, Kia will bring a future in which opportunities for mobility and transportation are limitless. To broaden horizons with its mobility services, Kia is also demonstrating a range of new technologies as part of its new ‘ACE’ strategy to make its cars more Autonomous, Connected and Eco/Electric.
“‘Boundless for all’ is Kia’s future vision – where everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the infinite value that future mobility will bring. This is Kia’s manifesto for its role as a mass mobility provider in the future. Consumers are bound today by the idea that a car is ‘just a vehicle’, but Kia is committed to providing a broader solution to mobility. ‘Boundless for all’ represents a future in which a vehicle can be so much more than the sum of its parts,” said Dr. Woong-chul Yang, Vice Chairman and Head of Kia R&D Center.
Kia’s ‘ACE’ strategy is based around three core elements, presenting Kia’s vision for future personal transportation:
Autonomous – Kia plans to commercialize Level 4 autonomous driving technology, with ‘Smart City’ autonomous vehicle testing due to commence in 2021
Connected – By 2025, Kia will adopt connected car technologies across every vehicle segment, and aim to make every single model a connected car by 2030
Eco/Electric – Kia will introduce 16 new advanced powertrain vehicles by 2025, including a range of new hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, as well as an all-new fuel-cell electric vehicle in 2020
Alongside these technologies, Kia announced its plans to roll-out its ‘WiBLE’ car-sharing service – launched in Korea in 2017 – to new regions from 2018, starting with Europe.
Beyond Autonomous Driving: Kia’s exhibition theme for ‘connected’ vehicles
At CES 2018, Kia is presenting a range of interactive exhibits which combine existing and future technologies. These demonstrate how vehicles could be optimized for enhanced connectivity as they become more autonomous.
Kia’s exhibits at CES 2018 hint at a future ‘Beyond Autonomous Driving’. Visitors can interact with Kia’s developing autonomous drive technologies through a VR simulator, while also experiencing a V2X diorama demonstrating how cars could connect with other vehicles and the urban environment.
The company plans to operate a large-scale test fleet for autonomous technology on public roads from 2019, paving the way for commercial production of the technology. Kia aims to commercialize Level 4 autonomous vehicles in smart cities from 2021 with a new Smart City pilot project.
“Kia’s connected cars will be both boundless and connected and offer a new kind of mobility experience. Virtual reality, self-driving cars, and ‘vehicle-to-everything’ connectivity were all once considered technologies of the distant future. As they rapidly become a reality, Kia is exploring how to deploy these new technologies for its customers. Our strategy and vision for future mobility is demonstrated by a range of interactive displays, showing what our customers can look forward to,” said Vice Chairman Yang.
16 new electrified vehicles by 2025
Kia will continue to expand its range of environmentally-friendly cars in the coming years, and plans to offer a total of 16 electrified vehicles by 2025, including a fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) in 2020.
“By 2025, we will offer a total of 16 advanced powertrain vehicles, with five new hybrids and plug-in hybrids, five new battery EVs, and an all-new mass market FCEV. Due to launch in 2020, this FCEV will spearhead Kia’s efforts to realize a zero-emission future for mobility,” said Vice Chairman Yang.
As part of this strategy, Kia is exhibiting the Niro EV Concept at CES 2018. Combining the stylish design of a modern compact SUV with the high efficiency of an advanced battery-electric powertrain, the Kia Niro EV Concept represents the next step in the brand’s ongoing journey to electrification.
Created by Kia’s design studio in Korea, the Niro EV Concept is a fully-electric compact SUV. Its aerodynamically-efficient body allows air to slip over, around and beneath the vehicle with ease. The traditional grille – no longer required for engine cooling – is replaced by a smooth interactive display panel, combined with ultra-slim lamp technology in the overall front. In profile, the concept draws inspiration from the current Kia Niro, with a modish compact crossover silhouette, elevated body and wide C-pillar. The Niro EV Concept’s seamless rear aspect has clean and sharp trailing edges allowing air to flow more easily off the back of the car.
With a silent electric powertrain, and the anticipation that such a car would be driven most frequently on urban and suburban roads, the Niro EV Concept boasts new technologies to enhance safety for pedestrians.
The concept’s new Active Pedestrian Warning System (APWS) features a combination of front view cameras, object recognition technology and front speakers. If the system detects a pedestrian or cyclist crossing in front of the car, the speakers sound an alert targeted specifically at that person, warning them of the car’s presence. APWS is matched by the Niro EV Concept’s new interactive lighting system, which offers users and pedestrians a highly-intuitive visual communication with vehicle.
Inside, the cabin has been designed with a pure, minimalist and digital appearance, creating greater user interaction with new technologies and features. With a wrap-around design to cocoon the driver and passengers, the dashboard’s horizontal layout has broad and smooth surfaces. The effect is an innate sense of space and calm in the cabin, enhanced by the soft shades of silver, grey and bronze covering every surface.
The Niro EV Concept is powered by a next-generation electric vehicle powertrain, using new production technologies earmarked for near-future EVs from Kia. Energy is provided by a high-capacity 64 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack, paired with a powerful 150 kW electric motor. The Niro EV Concept suggests a driving range of 238 miles (383 kilometers), with zero tailpipe emissions.
Interactive exhibits preview new in-car technology
At CES 2018, Kia is exhibiting its latest HMI technologies, autonomous drive features and the world’s first in-car 5G connection. These exhibits hint at innovations that could be adapted for use in the brand’s future vehicles. Kia is demonstrating these innovations through a set of interactive cockpit-style experiences, presenting the brand’s ‘Beyond Autonomous Driving’ vision with technologies that idle passengers can draw upon in a future of vehicle autonomy.
The first cockpit gives visitors the chance to experience the Niro EV Concept’s pioneering new HMI, with enhanced interaction between visitors and the vehicle. The infotainment and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems are controlled by touch and gesture, with the steering wheel acting as a remote. The driver can ‘swipe’ along a perforated leather area on the base of the two-spoke wheel, with different gestures serving to switch between favorite music tracks, turn up the volume, and adjust cabin ventilation settings. A digital dashboard display provides additional information to the driver, such as vehicle settings, powertrain status, and trip information.
Creating a more digital interaction between car and driver than in a traditional vehicle, the HMI allows drivers to ‘log-in’ to the vehicle using face and voice recognition. The facial and voice recognition technology, developed in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), welcomes drivers and adjusts vehicle settings based on preset individual preferences. Leveraging ‘Amazon Rekognition’ and ‘Amazon Polly’ – highly accurate facial analysis and voice services provided by AWS – the new system disables many of the car’s functions if the driver does not pass the identification process.
The HMI cockpit at CES 2018 lets users experiment with these exciting new in-car technologies.
A second cockpit demonstrates the world’s first in-vehicle 5G connection – with a real-time connection established between Las Vegas and Seoul, Korea. The 5G connection enables users to stream contents reliably into the car, linked to the exhibit’s infotainment system.
The second cockpit also presents the Niro EV Concept’s Separate Sound Control System, allowing users in the front and rear rows to experience Kia’s sound separation technology. The technology allows front and rear passengers to listen to their own music at the same time without intruding on others in the car. The system features eight speakers installed in the headrests, simultaneously pumping out sounds for each seat row, and using noise-cancellation technology to ‘mute’ sound from the other row of seats. By creating two sound zones in the car, occupants in different rows can enjoy listening to separate music or podcasts. Developed in-house, Kia believes this technology could be adapted to enhance occupant comfort in future production cars.
Finally, visitors can experience Kia’s own autonomous drive support technologies with a series of virtual reality exhibits. The VR simulations demonstrate Kia’s autonomous drive support technologies in a range of environments, via VR headsets.
WiBLE car-sharing service to launch in Europe in 2018
Enabling urban and suburban mobility, Kia has today announced plans to roll-out its ‘WiBLE’ car-sharing service to new regions. Launched in Korea in 2017, WiBLE – a portmanteau of ‘Widely Accessible’ – will be introduced to certain European markets and cities from late 2018. Kia plans to expand the service into other markets around the world in the coming years.
WiBLE will be serviced in the designated areas in city centers, providing vehicles to customers who need to drive but may not own a car of their own or who want more convenient drive in city centers.
In Korea, WiBLE users have access to a variety of different Kia cars to complete their journeys, including the Soul EV, Niro hybrid crossover and larger vehicles. Vehicles are equipped with a range of Kia’s active safety technologies to help customers complete journeys safely in a car with which they may not be familiar. This format is expected to be carried over into new WiBLE markets.
WiBLE is accessed via an accompanying smartphone app. Users then pay for individual journeys in a WiBLE vehicle, charged according to the amount of time they use the car. WiBLE in Europe enables users to complete one-way journeys, rather than requiring them to return the car to the same point, for maximum convenience and value for money.
Kia will announce the first European locations for the launch of WiBLE later in 2018.