One in three want an electric car to ‘up their green credentials’

Kia research says Brits suffer with 'green guilt'

New research reveals 49 percent of British people suffer with ‘green guilt’. That’s the worry your lifestyle isn’t eco-friendly enough, whether that’s down to the car you drive, your recycling habits or anything else.

The research, conducted by Kia, found seven in 10 Brits face pressure from family and friends to be more eco-friendly. Some even admit to exaggerating their green credentials as a result.

Even children are making demands, with 46 percent putting pressure on their parents about green choices.

Under the influence

Kia research says Brits suffer with 'green guilt'

Sir David Attenborough is the most influential celebrity in encouraging a greener lifestyle – even more so than Greta Thunberg. A sizeable 53 percent say their green choices are influenced by social media influencers, too.

According to the research, a massive 77 percent plan to buy an ‘eco’ car in the next three years. Note, that doesn’t necessarily mean an EV. Just over a third (34 percent) are looking to buy an electric car next, while 60 percent are ‘ready to embrace the electric revolution’. 

What’s putting people off for now? Well, 43 percent said they fear running out of charge, while 40 percent worry about finding somewhere to plug in. Also 35 percent say EVs take too long to charge.

Kia research says Brits suffer with 'green guilt'

“It’s great to know that Brits are ready to embrace the electric revolution but it’s clear there’s still a lot of myth-busting to be done,” said Steve Kitson, director of corporate communications at Kia UK.

“We now need to help consumers see how they can tackle ‘green guilt’ and make a positive impact on the environment by taking the leap and going green with their next car. At Kia, we’ve announced our plans to have 11 electric models in our line up within the next five years to ensure we are leading the way for the electric revolution.”

Kia reveals ambitious EV plans – including self-driving cars

Kia plan S – electric cars and mobility solutions

Kia has announced its plans for the first half of this decade, with a huge focus on the introduction and increased sales of EVs.

It plans to sell half-a-million electric cars, among one million so-called ‘eco-friendly’ models, every year by 2026. It’s one of many goals in ‘Plan S’, the Korean company’s grand plan for the future. And it really is grand.

Plan S: what Kia will do nextKia plan S – electric cars and mobility solutions

The plan is two-pronged, with the first being relatively conventional: a focus on EVs. The second prong is far less so, but equally important: customised mobility solutions. In other words, every possible way you could use a car without actually buying one.

Kia wants to meet with heads of infrastructure in order to supply the fleets of the future. And it’s going to evolve in order to meet their needs.

“As the auto industry undergoes turbulent changes, today is also an opportune time for Kia Motors to radically transform itself into a global enterprise, dedicated to spearheading customer value-led innovations,” said Kia president and CEO, Han-woo Park.

Kia plan S – electric cars and mobility solutions

“Plan S is a bold and enterprising roadmap for Kia’s future business transition, buttressed by the two pillars of electric vehicles and mobility solutions.

“Kia will reinvigorate its brand innovation by developing products and services that offer new experiences for customers.”

‘A pre-emptive transition to EVs’Kia plan S – electric cars and mobility solutions

The EV part of ‘Plan S’ begins with the marque launching its first dedicated electric car in 2021. The current e-Niro is a repurposed internal combustion car. This new model will be all-original and all-electric.

Kia plans to ‘adopt a strategy of product differentiation’ by launching dedicated EVs, with their own designs, user experiences and quality. That line-up will swell to 11 models by 2025, including cars, SUVs and MPVs. There will be dedicated high-performance models, plus a mix of 400- and 800-volt architectures.

Kia plan S – electric cars and mobility solutions

The new car will blur the lines between car and SUV. It’ll be on a unique platform, and drive around 320 miles on a single charge. Kia also claims a sub-20-minute high-speed charge time.

All of the above should help Kia towards a target 6.6 percent EV market share by 2025. By then, it hopes for EVs to make up 20 percent of the cars it sells. All this will take a total investment nearing £20 billion.

Customised mobility solutionsKia plan S – electric cars and mobility solutions

Kia also wants to cater to cities as they evolve, developing purpose-built vehicles and establishing mobility hubs.

Live in a city? It’s likely that it would already be more convenient for you to call a car, or an autonomous pod, than it would be to actually own one. Kia hopes to cater for those who are outgrowing the traditional car ownership model.

Kia plan S – electric cars and mobility solutions

The company’s idea of a mobility hub is a solution to the problem of zero-emission zones. Not all motorists want to own an EV, in spite of an increasing number of urban areas legislating against conventional cars.

Think of a mobility hub as the car equivalent of a Boris bike pick-up; drop your vehicle off and collect the keys to a dedicated Kia city EV. In the long term, Kia sees self-driving robotaxis operating out of these hubs. A brave new world indeed.

Kia plan S – electric cars and mobility solutions

Such city-centric vehicles will be based on scalable and modular ‘skateboard’ platforms. Wheels, battery and motors can have different bodies mounted to them.

Kia has invested in a number of companies to help further its efforts in these areas. Grab is the largest ride-hailing service in south east Asia. It’s also working with Repsol in Spain on the WiBLE car-sharing service, running 500 Niro PHEVs in Madrid.

Plus, it’s collaborating with Aptiv, a world-leader in autonomous driving tech, to develop its own autonomous platform by 2024. Kia hopes to licence this technology to other carmakers, too.

Kia launches new versions of the Picanto, Stonic and Niro

Kia Picanto Zest

Kia has kickstarted 2020 with the launch of a trio of new special editions and trim levels.

All models are on sale from 2 January and come with Kia’s acclaimed seven-year warranty.

The Kia Picanto Zest is the most eye-catching of the new cars, featuring Lime Light green metallic paint as standard. It also boasts 15-inch alloy wheels, grey faux-leather upholstery, a reversing camera and rear privacy glass.

A seven-inch touchscreen, LED rear lights, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto complete the package.

The Picanto Zest is powered by a 1.0-litre petrol engine and costs £12,650.

Kia Stonic Maxx

Kia Stonic Maxx

Moving up a size, the new Kia Stonic Maxx comes in white with a contrasting red roof. Standard equipment includes 17-inch graphite-coloured alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, black faux-leather, LED rear lights and a reversing camera.

The Stonic Maxx is powered by a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and offered with either a six-speed manual gearbox (£19,055) or seven-speed automatic (£20,055).

Kia Niro PHEV 2

Kia Niro PHEV 2

Finally, Kia has launched a new entry-level version of the Niro plug-in hybrid. The Niro PHEV ‘2‘ costs £30,265 and comes with a long list of standard equipment.

The specification includes an eight-inch touchscreen display, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, smart cruise control and a towing pack.

Dual-zone climate control, 16-inch alloy wheels, lane-keep assist, lane-follow assist, hill-start assist and forward collision avoidance assist are also fitted as standard.

All three models are on sale now.

Kia is also offering up to £2,500 scrappage discount off the price of a new car. A saving of £2,000 is available on the Picanto and Rio, with a £2,500 allowance available on the Stonic, Sportage, Niro hybrid and Niro plug-in hybrid.

The offer is available from now until the end of March 2020. For more information, visit the Kia website.

3,000 people on waiting list for electric Kia e-Niro

Kia e-Niro waiting list

Joining the list of supercars and sports cars that command long waiting lists is the Kia e-Niro crossover. Three thousand people have put their their names down so far, as demand outstrips supply.

Happily, Kia plans to ramp up production of its new EV. It expects the 3,000 orders to be fulfilled within the first six months of 2020.

Joining the e-Niro in 2020 will be Kia’s new Soul EV, a quirky SUV with the same electric architecture as the Niro. The long-range e-Niro has 280 miles of range and will set you back £34,495 after the Plug-in Car Grant is deducted from the price.

Kia e-Niro waiting list

Those who have yet to order an e-Niro will receive their car no sooner than July 2020. Deliveries of the Soul EV, which opened for orders this last July, are expected to start in April. The Soul is £700 cheaper than the Niro post-grant.

“Since launching e-Niro at the beginning of the year, we have received unprecedented demand which has been a challenge to fulfil,” said Paul Philpott, president and CEO of Kia Motors UK.

“As we enter 2020 with the Soul EV and e-Niro, we and our 190-strong dealer network are ready to meet customer demand for all-electric cars.”

Kia e-Niro waiting list

Demand for electric cars is on the up and the values of second-hand electric cars are holding strong – and increasing in the case of the Renault Zoe.

That’s a marked contrast to the first few years of mainstream electric cars being on sale in the UK, when they depreciated far faster than combustion cars.

Understanding Kia’s electric car range is child’s play

Kia electric car campaign

Kia has teamed up with Sky Media to raise awareness of its growing range of electric cars.

Using an ‘out of the mouths of babes’ approach to marketing, Kia is using an all-child cast to explore the benefits of electric car ownership. It’s like the Vauxhall ‘Little Dads’ campaign, rebooted for a new generation.

The Korean brand hopes that the six-week campaign will appeal to families, while answering some of the EV questions adults are too afraid to ask. Well, it’s often the child who helps the parents with the set-up of household electronic devices…

‘Electric credentials’

Kia Soul EV

“Sky Media will be the perfect partner for our brand,” said Jane Fenn, head of brand communications at Kia.

“Being able to amplify our wide range of electric and alternative fuelled models across such a broad scale of media will ensure that our electric credentials are seen by a wide range of consumers that are a sure fit within our target demographic.”

Kia offers all-electric, plug-in hybrid and self-charging hybrid versions of the Niro, and is taking orders for an all-new Soul EV, which promises a range of up to 280 miles. It will cost £33,795 after the government’s plug-in car grant.

The three-minute film will be available on demand and will be supported by social media, traditional TV advertising and digital display marketing.

It’s not the first time Kia has teamed up with Sky Media to raise brand awareness. Following broadcast sponsorship of Sky Sports Cricket, Kia saw a 21 percent increase in spontaneous awareness of the brand, with 38 percent of viewers indicating a purchase intent to buy a car.

The challenge was to change the brand perception that lagged behind reality, with consumer insight suggesting that many people saw Kia as a company offering low-priced small cars.

If consumers think the kids are alright, Kia could find that shifting electric cars is child’s play.

Track-only Kia super saloon packs 426hp punch

Kia Stinger GT420

Kia UK has, with help from the man behind Hyundai’s acclaimed N models, prepared a tuned 426hp version of its flagship Stinger saloon.

Is it a preview for a halo version? Not quite. At present, it’s a creative way of saving the UK Stinger GT S press car from the crusher.

Kia Stinger

Yes, in a previous life, this was the pre-production homologation car that was air-freighted to the UK for regional sign-off from Hyundai Motor Group head of R&D, Albert Biermann. The same man who used to make BMW M cars so brilliant.

The 10,000 miles it has covered since have been accumulated by motoring journalists. From Top Gear to The Grand Tour and everywhere else in between, if anyone got an early Stinger GT S drive, it was in this car.

Turning the Stinger into a track toy

Kia Stinger GT420

The 3.3-litre V6 engine is the first ingredient fettled on the way to becoming the ‘GT420’. Special HKS spark plugs are fitted, along with a K&N air filter and a de-catted Milltek exhaust.

The transmission has additional cooling and has been re-calibrated for quicker shifts. All in, this Stinger puts out 426hp (420bhp) and 413lb ft of torque. Those aren’t extensive modifications for a respectable jump in power.

Losing weight, gaining speed

Kia Stinger GT420

The GT420 has also been on a serious diet. With a total weight loss of 150kg (after the installation of track safety kit), it’s a fair chunk lighter. To achieve this, the cabin has been stripped, with new lightweight seats fitted.

Many of the Stinger’s little luxuries were removed, including the stereo, sound-proofing and struts holding the bonnet up.

Even the sunroof was replaced with a metal panel, while the rear windows are now glued in place. Perhaps not quite showroom-ready, then…

‘Easy to drift’

Kia Stinger GT420

Gluing the GT420 to the asphalt is a set of high-performance Pirelli P-Zero Trofeo R tyres, wrapping lightweight OZ Racing Leggera wheels.

In combination with 2.5 degrees of camber, new Eibach Pro lowering springs with passive damping and upgraded braking, this Stinger is ready to rip on-track.

Regardless of these speed-focused upgrades, the Stinger is still ‘easy to drift’. We like the way you think, Kia UK.

It’s a wrap

Kia Stinger GT420

Along with the new wheels, a front splitter and rear diffuser from Stillen add some attitude. A red and white wrap completes the look.

Such cars tend not to happen ‘for the sake of it’ even though Kia insists this is an after-hours project.

The GT420 does, however, show willing when it comes to making a harder, faster Stinger. And for now, that’s good enough.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Rafa Nadal has been driving a Kia for 15 years

Kia and Rafa Nadal 15 years

Spanish tennis star Rafa Nadal has been a brand ambassador with Kia for 15 years, having taken up the position in 2004 at just 17 years old.

Two years later, Nadal was appointed global brand ambassador for the Korean marque.

Nadal is the most successful Spanish tennis player in history, and one of the world’s all-time greats. Just this year he won his 12th French open, as well as his 18th Grand Slam trophy. He’s won more matches off-grass than any other player.

Kia and Rafa Nadal 15 years

Over his 15 years with Kia, Rafa has been instrumental in spreading awareness of the brand in its battle for the acclaim it enjoys today.

Given how volatile and temporary some ambassadorial relationships have been between brands and sportspeople, the longevity of Kia and Nadal is quite an achievement.

“Throughout the last 15 years, Kia and Rafa Nadal have developed a winning partnership based on passion, hard work, and overcoming the odds,” said Emilio Herrera of Kia Motors Europe.

Kia and Rafa Nadal 15 years

“Rafa has played an important role in raising awareness of the Kia brand, not just across Europe, but in many of Kia’s markets worldwide. As his career has flourished, so too has Kia developed into a major player in the automotive sector.”

Kia joins the fight against keyless car theft

Kia joins fight against keyless car theft

Kia is the latest manufacturer to fight back against keyless car theft with the launch of a new Faraday case.

The KiaSafe case is available for customers that purchase a new or used Kia model, and is just one of a number of solutions in development at the Korean giant.

Keyless car theft has been described as an “epidemic” by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, and a reason why the number of insurance claims for car thefts had risen by 12 percent to 56,000 in 2018 compared with 2017.

Also known as a ‘relay attack’, two thieves work together to steal a vehicle using electronic relay devices, usually from outside the motorist’s home.

‘Safe from hacking’

KiaSafe Faraday cage

David Hart, customer experience manager at Kia Motors UK said: “The security of our customers’ vehicles comes second only to safety and we are as concerned about the hacking of keyless entry systems as customers, the police and the insurance industry.

“Whilst our current keyless entry systems do not have UWB or “sleep” buttons our engineers are developing additional levels of protection for future vehicles and these will be applied as soon as is feasible given production schedules and new model introductions.

“We encourage owners to adopt protection behaviours as advised by the Police – such as not leaving keyless entry fobs in the front door lock of their home or close to windows – and to use the KiaSafe to ensure their key fobs are rendered safe from hacking.”

The KiaSafe Faraday case is available from participating dealers during the handover process and is also available to purchase from dealers for £9.99 which means existing owners can also benefit.

There are a number of ways to avoid being a victim of keyless car theft, such as placing your car keys in a microwave or fridge, or using a humble steering wheel lock.

XCeeding expectations: new Kia XCeed crossover is coming

Kia XCeed revealed

Kia has revealed the first picture of its upcoming crossover, the XCeed. It should come as no surprise that the clever – if somewhat eye-roll-inducing name – is attached to an urban crossover version of the familiar Ceed hatch.

The XCeed is an ambitious attempt to cross sportiness with a high riding position. It certainly looks sharp, even with its elevated ride height and chunky utilitarian arches. It’s designed to make the likes of Volkswagen’s T-Cross and Tiguan look a little square, and give the sharper T-Roc a bloody nose.

XCeed: sportier than an SUV but just as practical

Kia XCeed

On the inside, we’re told to expect commendable cabin space and room for luggage, in line with Europe’s best-selling luxury SUVs. The XCeed wants to be a jack of all crossover and SUV trades, and a master of most. We suspect it won’t out-strip a Defender on a green lane…

Kia’s new sporty urban crossover will debut in full at the end of June 2019 and is likely to offer similar engine options, equipment levels to the Ceed hatchback, albeit at a slightly higher price. As for how much more, we won’t know until the summer.

Kia XCeed

“The sporty design and demeanour of the new Kia XCeed CUV makes it more innately desirable than many taller, larger SUVs,” said Emilio Herrera, COO at Kia Motors Europe.

“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.”

New Kia Imagine: an electric car that defies categorisation

Kia Imagine conceptKia has unveiled its ground-breaking Imagine concept at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.

It’s an electric car, but not like we’ve seen before from the Korean marque. Not that the Soul EV or e-Niro are particularly derivative – but the Imagine deliberately breaks the mould.

A category buster

Just look at it. Is it a crossover? Is it a saloon? Is it an SUV? Much like the Polestar 2 EV,  the Imagine borrows the handsome, chiselled proportions of a sporting car for an SUV-addicted audience.

Kia Imagine concept

“It’s a large C-segment car – the vehicle size that’s incredibly popular in Europe – but the only things it holds on to are Kia’s brand values,” explains Gregory Guillaume, vice president of design for Kia Europe.

“It hints at something familiar, but is something entirely new. I think of it as a category-buster, and a disruptor – it’s familiar and understood but at the same time progressive and new.”

A category buster, you say? Sounds good to us. if you’re re-inventing powertrains, why not reinvent cars altogether? The Imagine could potentially re-invent Kia, too. The styling at the front including the ‘suspended lights’ and ‘tiger mask’ are the possible future corporate face for the marque’s electric cars.

Kia Imagine concept

“The inspiration for the ‘tiger mask’ was to create the look and feel of the headlamps being suspended within a transparent block of glass,” explains Guillaume. “This identifiable lighting signature could potentially be deployed as a unifying design element across Kia’s future electric vehicle range.”

Underneath the distinctive skin is a ‘low-mounted induction-charged battery pack, powering a compact drivetrain’. There’s no word yet on what range that provides, but suffice to say it’ll top the current e-Niro’s 300-plus miles.

Helping the Imagine on its way is a smooth, aerodynamic design. “The front air curtain, the way the double-skin bonnet channels air through the nose, up and over the front screen and roof, the double skinned C-pillar that creates an air spoiler, the completely enclosed underbody, the wind-cheating ‘wingcams’ and the hard-edged break-away around the car’s rear – all these features collectively boost aerodynamic efficiency and reduce turbulence and drag,” Guillaume says.

Kia Imagine concept

Completing the look on the outside are standard-issue concept car wheels – a massive 22 inches in diameter.

A cabin with “a twinkle in its eye”

Inside, Kia wanted this concept to have a sense of humour: a “twinkle in its eye”.

That wrap-around wall of displays for instance, is Kia biting its thumb at the stuffy attitude the industry has to screens, and how they’ve more or less remained stubbornly fixed to centre consoles for 20 years or more.

Kia Imagine concept

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

Imagine is clearly an important car for Kia, with those responsible for bringing it to life being proud of their leftfield creation. It’s a statement of intent, that the marque intends to diversify the EV marketplace with a strong, appealing and quirky range of cars in the coming years.