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Where is the car industry going to be in 50 years? Some say that no one will own a personal car anymore, and we’ll simply call up the roaming pod vehicles that are waiting for something to do when we want to go somewhere. Others suggest that, even if we do own cars, they will be self-driving. It’s a strange thought, especially if you enjoy driving, but, just like when cars were first invented and horses were determined to be surplus to requirements, time marches on and change is inevitable.Right now, though, we don’t really need to think about all that. What we need to think about is the next big thing, and that has to be more electric cars on the road. Although electric cars might have been cumbersome and impractical in the past, the ones that are being produced now are certainly worthy rivals to the old petrol and diesel models. Their batteries last longer (one of the most important aspects), they are comfortable, they drive well, and there are more charging points – even having your own installed at home is no longer going to cost serious money.Kia (having recently changed its name from Kia Motors because, we assume motors are themselves potentially becoming obsolete and because, rather than branding itself as a company that sells cars, it is selling mobility instead – a very vague term that could mean anything and will do) in particular is leading the charge when it comes to electric cars.So just what is Kia planning that makes it top of the game? The answer is a surprising one for many; Kia is planning to launch seven new electric car models over the next seven years. More than that, ownership is going to work differently (perhaps linking into the future we envisioned above), wherein it will be more likely to work like a smartphone contract, enabling the user to add this or that feature and that many charges or this many miles, instead of owning the thing outright.Although these plans are, at least to some extent, still under wraps, what we do know is that the same E-GMP electric platform that underpins the new EVs from Hyundai (most specifically the Ioniq 5 and 6), and that the first vehicle to be unveiled is more than likely going to be a coupe crossover, a model that has proved popular with many people. This is a good move; starting with something that is so well-known and understood (and desired) means that there will already be a built-in market for it. The fact that it’s electric is a bonus, of course, but it’s the styling that’s going to impress first.But of course, as the range – remember, there are seven vehicles in total – is released, there are sure to be a variety of different models from a compact city car to a large SUV and everything in between.On top of this, Kia is piloting the idea of those pods we mention right at the start. How these will work and how popular they will be is something only time will tell.
11 February 2021