EV blurs design lines between sedan and crossover
Kia had our attention when it teased its new electric concept ahead of the Geneva motor show. The shadowy images hinted at something wild, and even if the vehicle isn’t quite what we were expecting, Kia definitely delivered a unique design. “Imagine by Kia” debuted in Geneva today with a bold new grille, glass exterior accents, and 21 screens inside the cabin.
Kia has transformed its usual “tiger nose” grille into what it calls a “tiger mask.” The illuminated “mask” features horizontal “eyelids.” The front turn signals are located high up on the hood. Kia clothed the concept in a silver, chrome-effect paint topped by a tanned bronze tint. On the sheetmetal, you’ll find ripples that each have a different length and are positioned at different angles to create the impression of movement under a light source. Kia Motors Europe Vice President of Design Gregory Guillaume likens the effect to “shockwaves you would see if you threw a stone into a perfectly still mountain lake.”
A single sheet of glass was used for both the windscreen and roof, creating a seamless look. In the rear there are wrap around brake light strips inspired by the Stinger. The model also has rear-hinged doors at the back, as well as a frunk and trunk.
The concept rides on 22-inch wheels, each with four inserts of transparent acrylic glass. Kia worked with Goodyear to create bespoke tires that would detect road conditions and relay the information to the vehicle.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what type of vehicle it is. It looks a bit like a crossover, but Kia says it doesn’t fit in one defined body type. Instead, it mixes elements of a family sedan, crossover, and SUV. Kia does say that it’s a large C-segment vehicle, a size that’s popular in Europe. The automaker didn’t reveal specifications, only saying it has a “low-mounted, induction-charged battery pack that powers a compact drivetrain.
Inside the cabin, the lightweight seats are adorned in leather and silk. And like Kia teased earlier, 21 screens sit atop the dashboard. But don’t expect to see anything like this on a future production car. “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,” Ralph Kluge, general manager of interior design for Kia Motors Europe, said in a release.
Kia shared its plans for electric vehicles last year. It wants to introduce 16 electrified vehicles by 2025, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles, as well as a new fuel cell EV in 2020.