|Niro EV. /Kia Motors|
Kia Motors’ labor and management agreed to speed up production of green cars, as Kia plans to launch twelve eco-friendly models by 2021.
They held a committee meeting last week and decided to launch 18 new models by 2021. Twelve of the new models are eco-friendly, including electric vehicles (EVs).
As both parties' disputes are settled, Kia plans to announce the next line of hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) in 2020, when it releases its new Sorento model. An EV model for Bongo, a one-ton truck, is on track to be produced by 2020. A new model for Carnival and improved versions of Stonic, Stinger, and Pride will also be released in the same year.
In 2021, new models of K7 and Niro and improved versions of K9 and K3 will be released. Kia will also release the next model of Sportage in the same year, along with the next line of HEV and PHEV.
The labor and management confirmed their committment to make a new production line dedicated to EV and eco-friendly cars by 2021. They decided to manufacture hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in domestic plants. The exact time for production and release of FCEVs hasn't been settled yet.
Expecting the demand for eco-friendly vehicles to rise significantly, they also agreed to prepare for further increase in production. If Kia produces more than 200,000 units of a single model, it will build a new domestic plant dedicated to the model.
Kia only sold 13,875 EVs at home and abroad during the first half of this year. Acknowledging this, Kia's labor and management only established standards for building new plants but has not discussed this in details.
The industry expects to see related discussions taking place in the near future, as the EV market rapidly expands. Market research firm SNE Research estimated that the global EV production will rise to 8.5 million units in 2020, from 4.5 million units in 2018. By 2025, it will reach up to 22 million units.
Chung Eui-sun, the vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, hinted at company’s plan to increase EV production at the Frankfurt Motor Show last Tuesday. Asked how Kia plans to keep up with the rising demand for Hyundai’s Kona and Kia’s Niro EVs, Chung replied the company “will increase production through extra work”.