The crossover is the first of seven vehicles Kia will launch on the E-GMP platform globally by 2027, according to its recently announced Plan S midterm business strategy.
They could include a large SUV that would have be too inefficient in terms of fuel economy and CO2 emissions if it were sold in Europe with an internal combustion engine, Herrera said. A large SUV with an electric drivetrain would be more acceptable, he added.
An electric minicar similar in size to the current Picanto is also in Kia's plans, Herrera said. That vehicle would be built on a smaller EV-only platform.
Kia plans to have a total of 11 full-electric vehicles in its global lineup by 2025, including those built on the E-GMP architecture as well as battery-electric derivatives of existing models, such as the e-Niro. The brand hopes to capture 6.6 percent of the global battery-electric vehicle market by 2025 and reach 500,000 EV sales a year by 2026.
EVs could make up 20 percent of Kia’s worldwide sales by 2025 and a quarter in 2029, the automaker said.
The crossover will be built in the Hyundai Motor's plant in Hwasung, South Korea.
Herrera said 30 percent of Kia's European sales would be full-electric vehicles in 2025. That figure translates to about 200,000 EVs a year, a level that will require some to be built in Europe, Herrera said.
He said there were "concrete plans" to build full-electric vehicles derived from a multi-energy platform in Europe, similar to the way sibling brand Hyundai now builds the full-electric Kona at its plant in the Czech Republic. Kia now builds the Ceed range and Sportage compact SUV at its factory in Slovakia.
Kia will continue to offer vehicles such as the Niro that are available with either internal combustion, hybrid, plug-in hybrid or full-electric powertrains, Herrera said. He said having those cars will give the brand more flexibility to react to market trends.
"In case the EV market really takes off and we have to produce even more EVs, we need to be sure that almost every model has not only been electrified, but also has an electric version," he said.