Kia has signalled deepening commitment to electric vehicles as its latest plug-in cars – the XCeed and Ceed Sportswagon – go on sale in the UK.
The new strategy will see a fully electric crossover with a 310-mile range and a 20-minute charge time on the market by the end of next year. And that’s just for starters.
The Korean manufacturer aims to have 11 fully electric vehicles on sale by 2025, and to join battle in what is likely to be the highly competitive urban ride-hailing and car-sharing markets that are projected to become big news in coming years.
The ambitious rollout plan, which aims to see 25% of Kia sales from electric and plug-in hybrids in four years, comes as the company unveiled its latest plug-ins for the UK and Ireland.
The plug-in Kia Ceed Sportswagon and XCeed crossover are now on sale, priced at £29,995 and £30,695 respectively.
Both are plug-in hybrids which have electric motors and petrol engines (as distinct from mild hybrids and fully electric cars).
Both come with a new powertrain that combines a lithium-polymer battery pack, an electric motor, and a 1.6-litre GDi (Gasoline Direct injection) engine. The powertrain’s total power and torque output are 139bhp and 265Nm.
The powertrain is paired with a six-speed dual-clutch auto transmission (6DCT), which Kia claims is better than electronic continuously variable transmissions (e-CVT) seen on many other electric vehicles.
Traditional e-CVT hybrids convert a portion of engine output through the electric motor, resulting in power losses from energy conversion, says the manufacturer.
In contrast, Kia says its six-speed dual clutch differs by allowing the full output of both the engine and motor to be transferred in parallel through the transmission, with “minimal” loss of energy.
Both cars can also harvest kinetic energy back to their batteries while braking or coasting using regenerative braking technology.
Both new models also have their own distinctive design features to differentiate them from other petrol and diesel models in the Kia XCeed and Ceed Sportswagon line-ups.
Each car has a new closed ‘tiger-nose’ grille at the front of the car to aid aerodynamic efficiency and feature distinct ‘eco plug-in’ exterior badges. The charging port is integrated into the left front wing of each car.
Both models have Kia’s new 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation system with Kia’s UVO Connect telematics with new functionality like wireless charging point maps and cheaper off-peak charging tariffs.
The same 8.9 kWh battery pack is located alongside the 37-litre fuel tank beneath the rear bench in both models. Unusually or plug-in cars, both models will be available with a Towing Pack for towing trailers as standard.
The all-new XCeed plug-in hybrid is available with a choice of ‘3’ or ‘First Edition’ trim levels, both equipped with “generous” kit levels.
The ‘3’ grade features 16-inch alloy wheels and black cloth seat trim with black faux leather bolsters and powered lumbar support for the front seats.
The ‘First Edition’ grade comes with 18-inch alloy wheels and Black Leather Seat Upholstery with Faux Leather Door Centre Trim.
All versions of the crossover feature privacy glass and rain sensing front windscreen wipers, plus there’s DAB radio and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay as well.
Kia has been generous, too, with the safety kit, packing in things like six airbags, Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Hill Start Assist Control, Speed Limit Information Function and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist – City and Pedestrian as standard.
In fully-electric mode, the XCeed Plug-in Hybrid is capable of travelling up to 36 miles and takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to recharge the battery pack to 100 per cent using a 3.3kW AC charger.
The Ceed Sportswagon PHEV gets broadly similar spec levels and options, sitting at the top of the estate car range.
It can also travel up to 37 miles using a 3.3kW AC charger, and the battery pack can be replenished to 100 per cent in the same time.
Both the XCeed and Ceed Sportswagon plug-in hybrids are on sale now with first deliveries expected in April.