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Kia Motors plans micro EV to replace public transport in Europe

A rendering image of Kia Motors Europe’s micro electric vehicle (Auto Express)
A rendering image of Kia Motors Europe’s micro electric vehicle (Auto Express)

Kia Motors’ European subsidiary said Wednesday it plans to launch a micro-size electric vehicle that can replace public transportation amid increased preference for use of private vehicles following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People want to feel safe today. We saw that very clearly from a survey that was done after the coronavirus outbreak in China. People started shifting from public transport to private vehicles. They safer in their own car compared to public transport,” KIA Motors Europe COO Emilio Herrera was quoted as saying by Auto Express.

According to Herrera, Kia Motors is studying the development of micro vehicles for urban use, which can be fully charged by electricity for a short distance range.

He cited Citroen’s compact vehicle model Ami as an example of its new micro car. Ami, which costs 6,000 euros (8.1 million won) but only sold on a subscription basis in European market, is a micro EV with a range of 71 kilometers and a top speed of 45 kph.

Citroen has been offering drivers a subscription program with a rental period of a week, a month or a longer. Anyone who aged above 14 can drive Ami without a driving license. 

“We’re really looking at very low monthly prices for subscription, to be competitive -- and the Ami is one of the vehicles we’ve looked at,” Herrera was quoted as saying, adding that the company believes “it could be an alternative to public transportation.”

Market insiders viewed that Kia Motors’ micro EV will fit a maximum of two people and will be attached with 5.5 kWh lithium-ion battery to allow up to 70 kilometers of driving range. 

The lightweight-battery pack will be less than 500 kilograms, which can be fully charged via both EV charging sockets and 220V cables within three hours, according to industry sources. 

Industry insiders expect sales of the new model to begin by 2022. 

“The company has been reviewing a variety of possibilities, while focusing on securing profitability based on cost competitiveness and economies of scale,” a Kia Motors official said.

Meanwhile in February, Kia Motors’ sister company Hyundai Motor signed a deal to partner with California startup Canoo to create a new EV platform.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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