Kia aims to transform mobility in Europe

  • Kia launches the EV9 in Europe at `The Kia Brand Summit´ exhibition
  • Starting 15 May, the event showcases innovations in mobility, charging and connectivity over a period of three weeks.
  • Kia continues its bold transformation process to become a sustainable mobility solutions provider, with a focus on people, planet and profit
  • Globally, Kia aims to become a leading EV brand by launching 15 EVs by 2027 and by raising the proportion of electrified car sales to 55 per cent (2.38 million units) in 2030
  • Kia to invest globally €22 billion over the next five years, with 45 per cent dedicated to future business areas

At a special brand summit held in Germany, Kia is introducing the EV9 in Europe, providing an update on the brand’s bold corporate strategy, and showcasing the latest innovations that will help the brand transform mobility in Europe, contributing towards a better future for all.

These announcements build on the company’s successful 'Plan S' strategy, with the brand’s ambition to become a sustainable mobility solutions provider supported by three key pillars – ‘people’, ‘planet’ and ‘profit’. Under these pillars, Kia is striving to enhance customer value by taking a customer-centric approach to business, reduce carbon emissions using more sustainable materials, and generate revenue while working as a responsible corporate citizen.

Following the award-winning success of the EV6, Kia is reinforcing its commitment to electrification in Europe with the benchmark setting EV9. The growing range of EVs Kia will launch until 2027 is integral to Kia maintaining Europe as the brand’s number one EV market, with the launch of the EV9 in Europe coming after Kia set a record for Q1 sales, of which 34.9 per cent were electrified vehicles.

“Right now, Kia is delivering an electrifying moment in Europe, not just with game-changing electric vehicles, but also as seen at the Brand Summit with innovative connected services that enhance the customer experience and pave the way for even more sustainable mobility solutions”, said Jason Jeong, President of Kia Europe.

Globally, Kia plans to raise the proportion of electrified vehicle sales to 55 per cent (2.38 million units) of total sales by 2030, and become a leading EV brand. This is reinforced by Kia investing €22 billion over the next five years, with 45 per cent dedicated to future business areas, such as robotics, electrification, and autonomous driving.

An electrifying moment in Europe

Kia’s position in Europe has never been stronger. The company sold 542,423 vehicles in Europe last year, which was an increase of 7.9 per cent from 2021. Electrified vehicles made up 34.9 per cent of those sales. Europe will continue to play a key role in Kia’s journey to become a provider of sustainable mobility solutions, with the company targeting a 28.5 per cent growth in EVs in Europe over the next seven years.

Built on a dedicated EV platform, the EV9 comes with technology, design and features unprecedented for an electric SUV of this size and stature. It will come with Level 3 autonomous driving capability, with ‘AutoMode’ and the “hands-off” Highway Driving Pilot feature, which will be initially available in Germany and shows what the future holds for Europe. ‘AutoMode’ is Kia’s driver assistance system that can be upgraded through over-the-air updates. Kia plans to introduce Highway Driving Pilot 2 by 2026 that will support "eyes-off" driving under certain conditions, with the ultimate intention of enabling fully autonomous driving further in the future.

The EV9 is not only a technological marvel and a new benchmark for electric SUVs; it is a leather-free vehicle and incorporates greater use of sustainable and recyclable materials. It’s also the first Kia vehicle to offer updates via the Kia Connect store.

The launch of the EV9 follows a year of awards and recognition for the EV6 and the Kia brand. The EV6 won ‘Car of the Year’, Europe´s most prestigious car award, as well as “Car of The Year” at the 2022 What Car? Awards, achieved a category win at the Trophée de L’argus, and received a Red Dot Design ‘Best of the Best’ accolade for its forward-looking design. The EV6 was also awarded ‘Car of the Year’ in Ireland and Romania and won the ‘Premium’ category of the German Car of the Year awards. Kia’s ‘Opposites United’ design philosophy, which was recently exhibited at Milan Design Week to widespread acclaim, also resulted in the brand winning multiple iF Design Awards last year. To top it off, Kia received ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ in the Awards.

Driving Kia’s vision for sustainable mobility is the company’s ‘Plan S’ strategy. This involves accelerating electrification to achieve annual sales globally of 1.6 million battery EVs by 2030, and to become one of the world’s leading EV manufacturers. It also involves expanding the application of connected car features and autonomous driving technologies to all new vehicles, so they are future ready, like the EV9. In Europe, Kia plans to locally produce small and mid-sized EVs from 2025 onwards in its Slovakia factory, as they are the key drivers of sales in the region.

Supporting this increase in EVs is a continuously expanding European charging network, which includes giving customers access to more than half a million charging points in 28 countries, thanks to partnerships with Ionity and Digital Charging Solutions. Last year, Ionity hit 430 charging park milestone with 1,900 charging points. In addition, a further 56 are currently under construction and by 2025, the number of Ionity locations is expected to increase to more that 1,000 with 7,000 charging points. On the other hand, DCS offers more than 500.000 charging points in Europe, making it the biggest charging network in the region.

Kia is also thinking beyond vehicles to help create a better future. The advanced connectivity of the EV9 could help strengthen Europe’s energy industry, with vehicle-to-grid technology. This enables vehicles, such as the EV9, to store energy gained from renewable sources and feed it back into the power grid, meaning the EV9’s battery could potentially become a storage method to accelerate and broaden the use of green energy.

In Germany, Kia Europe has partnered with the corporate start-up encore | DB, from Deutsche Bahn, to create second life battery energy storage systems from used EV batteries removed from Kia vehicles. A first joint pilot project was successfully developed and presented in August 2022 in Berlin. The majority of Kia batteries are Second Life ready. With these batteries, the start-up, which has successfully completed its pilot phase, has started to deliver ready-to-use Second Life battery energy storage systems to customers.

In The Netherlands, Kia is working together with the Dutch government on the Safety Priority Services project, designed to provide road users with more and improved in-car safety warnings, via the vehicle’s dashboard cluster or navigation system. This project aims to improve mobility and safety for all road users and has the potential to provide key learnings that could be applied to other countries.

A sustainable and connected future with room for unique driving experiences

To lead the future mobility market and develop sustainable products, Kia has identified connectivity services, autonomous driving technology, performance, and design as its four key product attributes.

Sustainability is emphasised by the 34 kilograms of eco-friendly materials that have been applied to various parts of the EV9. Kia plans to increase the proportion of recycled plastic applications in new vehicles to 20 per cent by 2030, and has been supporting The Ocean Cleanup, a global environmental non-profit organisation, to collect waste plastic from the ocean. This will be put to reuse as vehicle accessories in 2024 and vehicle parts in 2026.

Kia will continue reducing carbon emissions to achieve net zero in all stages of the value chain, including supply, production, logistics, and disposal, as well as at the customer use stage of vehicles, by 2045. The company is also innovating to improve battery density – for faster charging time, more range and reduced weight – while aiming to lower the overall cost of batteries by 25 per cent, compared to prices in 2018, by 2026.

Connectivity is integral to Kia’s transition to developing Software Defined Vehicles (SDVs). The goal is to develop software that has integrated control over various systems and hardware, to accelerate the vehicle development process, lower the associated costs and enable personalised vehicle services. SDVs will be supported by a connected car data cloud from 2025. This includes access to data-driven services and over-the-air updates that will enable customers to upgrade their vehicles according to their personal preferences.

As key elements of product competitiveness, Kia plans to focus its capabilities on driving experience and differentiated design. The high-performance GT trim for the EV9 is just around the corner, continuing the brand's sporty image after the EV6 GT. Regarding design, Kia will continue to implement user-friendly design based on the “Opposites United” philosophy.