Motor Shows

Kia unveils its first electric sedan: ‘Imagine by Kia’

Kia’s electric car concept sedan is yet another attempt to prove electric cars don’t have to be boring.

Imagine the performance of a Kia Stinger in a car the size of a Toyota Corolla sedan that doesn’t use a drop of fuel.

That in essence sums up the awkwardly named ‘Imagine by Kia,' a sleek electric sedan concept unveiled at this year’s Geneva motor show.

There’s no detail about driving range because that’s academic on a concept car, but Kia did reveal this bold new look is a pointer to the design theme for all its future electric cars.

The other cool feature: Kia has crammed the cabin with 21 infotainment screens that curve across the top of the dashboard.

“These 21 incredibly thin screens are a humorous and irreverent riposte to the on-going competition between some automotive manufacturers to see who can produce the car with the biggest screen,” says Ralph Kluge, Kia Motors Europe’s general manager of interior design.

A single sheet of glass is used for both the windscreen and roof, before tapering into a bubble over the rear passenger compartment, although this is unlikely for production.

The fancy 22-inch wheels would also be a bugger to repair if you scrubbed them on a gutter. Each has four flush inserts of transparent acrylic glass, polished at the front and diamond cross-cut at the back, to reflect light “much like a cut diamond would” as the wheels move.

While the showroom version of this sedan is still several years away, Kia will rollout a range of electric cars in the coming years in Australia, including the new-generation Kia Soul which is slated to be in local showrooms by this time next year (in EV form only).

In the meantime, Kia is joining the chorus of car makers who are trying to change perceptions of electric cars.

“Today’s drivers understandably have many questions about electric cars” says Gregory Guillaume, Vice President of Design for Kia Motors Europe.

“They’re concerned about range, the recharging network, and whether electric cars will still be dynamic and engaging to drive. So, when we first started thinking about this concept and imagining what its role would be, we knew that the best way to answer those questions and address those concerns was by approaching electrification purely from an emotional point of view.”

He says when car companies talk about electric cars “many promote the same rational and empirical data-driven messages as they do with their internal combustion engined cars, such as range, economy and performance criteria”.

“Which is why we wanted to move away from the rational and focus on the emotional, and embrace a warmer and more human approach to electrification. After all, electricity is found within every atom, it’s the energy that flows within us and around us on our planet. Harnessing its potential has propelled us forward from one innovation to the next.”

Visit our gallery for more images of the Imagine By Kia.

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling