GENEVA — Kia said its "Imagine by Kia" concept car approaches electrification from an "emotional point of view" rather than focusing on the data-driven messages many automakers use on cars with internal-combustion engines, such as range, economy and performance criteria.
The concept is Kia's first electric four-door passenger car. It was unveiled at the Geneva auto show on Tuesday.
It is intentionally designed to not sit within the industry’s predefined vehicle categories, drawing together elements of a muscular SUV, sleek family sedan and versatile and spacious crossover, Kia said.
It is a compact car, one of the most popular — albeit declining — segments of the market.
One of the main design features is the grille, which reinterprets Kia’s typical "tiger nose."
“Imagine by Kia” has an illuminated “tiger mask” that encircles the main LED headlamp units. The dipped and main beam units, separated by horizontal “eyelids,” are housed within a single block of acrylic glass, creating the effect of piercing eyes floating free of visible support.
This identifiable lighting signature potentially could be deployed as a unifying design element across Kia’s future electric-vehicle range, said Kia Europe's design chief, Gregory Guillaume.
Guillaume and his design team also focused a great deal of attention on the vehicle’s aerodynamics, with features such as a front air curtain; a double-skin hood that channels air through the nose, up and over the front screen and roof; a double-skinned C-pillar that creates an air spoiler; a completely enclosed underbody; and wind-cheating "wing cams."
A single sheet of glass is used for both the windscreen and roof, flowing from the base of the A-pillar and over the cabin to create a vast sky window. The doors are rear-hinged at the back for greater access.
The interior features four single seats and houses 21 screens that form a curve across the top of the instrument panel, effectively creating a single unified display from the driver’s point of view.
Unlike the e-Niro electric crossover, which is based on the existing architecture of the hybrid-powered Niro, underpinning “Imagine by Kia” is a low-mounted, induction-charged battery pack that powers a compact drivetrain. The induction-chargeable battery pack is the only technical specification that Kia has revealed about the concept.