Kia may have decided on a new nomenclature for its electric vehicle range in the US.
According to Korean automotive site Bobaedream (via The Korean Car Blog), the names IK1 to IK9 were trademarked by Kia in the US earlier this week, with the general expectation among online circles that the car maker could be rebadging its electric vehicles (EVs) for that market.
CarAdvice can reveal Kia has also submitted trademark applications for the new names in Australia – suggesting the monikers could be applied to its EVs locally, or the car maker is simply aiming to protect the names in other markets for future use.
Alternatively, the names could manifest as special (possibly hybrid) versions of the brand's existing passenger car range, which in the US, Korea and other markets eschews traditional model names in favour of 'K' branding – such as K3 (Cerato), K5 (Optima) and K8.
Under Kia's 'Plan S' business strategy, the company outlined plans to release 11 electric models by 2026, using the naming convention EV1 to EV9. In late March 2021, the first of these – the Kia EV6 – was unveiled to the public.
However, General Motors' 1996 EV1 might have stifled those plans. The EV1 was the first modern electric car built at scale – and more than a decade before the first electric production car was released in Australia.
But while GM's EV1 trademark is long dead – and Kia does own the an active EV1 trademark in the US – it's possible the IK nomenclature has been chosen to avoid confusion with the old GM model, or perhaps it will be used on future hybrid models.
A total of 18 trademarks has been filed by Kia in the US and Australia, along with their own individual badge designs in the same style as the new Kia corporate logo.
The 2022 Kia EV6 is set to go into production in the latter part of 2021, and the company's local arm says the model will eventually be made available to Australian buyers.