Kia Reveals ‘Lighthearted’ New EV Concept Designed To Focus On Emotion

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
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‘Imagine by Kia’—no, that’s not a fragment sentence, it’s the name of Kia’s new EV concept unveiled this week at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland.

The mid-size four-door sedan rides on an all-new all-electric chassis that features an inductive-charged (wirelessly charged) battery pack, which powers a compact drivetrain.

The front of the Imagine By Kia is a glimpse into the company’s styling language for future cars.

The new chassis and powertrain is not the  main point of the Imagine by Kia. No, this car is instead a design experiment.

This is most noticeable at the front of the car, where Kia’s signature tiger nose grille has been morphed into what the Korean automaker calls a ‘tiger mask.’ LED lights are intended to resemble a pair of piercing eyes floating in the front of the vehicle. It is meant to show the new way forward for Kias of the 21st century—Kia’s sentiment, not mine.

As with the front, the rest of the car is probably foreshadowing future Kia products. We do have to wonder if the clear inserts in the wheels are really feasible on a production car.

I’ll admit, it does have some interesting design features. The body is clad, for example, in six-layers of chrome-effect paint. Side-view mirrors have been replaced with cameras that resemble twee insect antennae. And the 22-inch wheels each have acrylic glass inserts that glimmer like diamonds.

While the industry has come a long way in making exterior design more closely match concept cars from recent years, we doubt this interior will see production anytime soon.

Stepping inside, occupants will be surprised and delighted by a single piece of glass that starts as the windshield and carries into the full length of the roof. This creates what Kia calls a ‘sky-window.’ It’s very much a cool effect.

Turning to the dash, rather than join in the virtual automotive arms race that is in-dash screens, designers placed 21 individual high-resolution screens across the dash. The center console floats in between the two front seats. And interior room is vast, thanks to the new EV architecture that underpins the Imagine by Kia.

While some manufacturers may be happy with two or even three high-definition screens in the dash, Kia designers have seen fit to burden this car with 21.

It’s an interesting concept. Kia’s press release really attempted to hammer home messaging about emotion, dropping words and phrases like ‘wit,’ ‘humor,’ and light-heartedness’ throughout the document.

I don’t know about all that. The interior isn’t too witty to me. Still, though, it is a valiant effort to push the brand into a new design-focused direction. Clearly, Kia brass are working very hard to break from the brand’s perception as being an economy brand and as one that can go toe to toe with the likes of the most beautiful cars in the world.


About the Author

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
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