Kia introduces category-defying Imagine EV in Geneva
After launching an all-electric version of the Niro last year, Kia has brought a new EV concept to the Geneva Motor Show to confirm the company's plans to move forward "in the exciting world of electrification." Imagine by Kia represents the company's first four door pure electric vehicle.
"Automotive design is about capturing the heart and making it beat that bit faster for that bit longer," said Kia's Gregory Guillaume. "We believe that there's absolutely no reason why that should change simply because the car is electric. That's why our all-electric concept is designed to not only get your pulse racing, but to also signpost our holistic and emotional approach to electrification."
Instead of wowing show-goers with the promise of competitor-beating performance, range and economy stats, Kia has opted to focus on a design that seems to shun definition, which merges aspects of an SUV, a crossover and a family saloon.
"It's a large C-segment car – the vehicle size that's incredibly popular in Europe – but the only things it holds on to are Kia's brand values," continued Guillaume. "It hints at something familiar, but is something entirely new. I think of it as a category-buster, and a disruptor – it's familiar and understood but at the same time progressive and new."
Kia has done away with the company's signature "tiger nose" grille, the Imagine concept wraps an illuminated "tiger mask" around the LED headlights, which "create the look and feel of the headlamps being suspended within a transparent block of glass." And it's a look that could trickle through into Kia's future electric vehicles as a unifying design element.
Helping it make the most of the lighting at the Geneva Motor Show, the concept's sheet-metal body has had six layers of chrome-effect silver paint applied by hand and then topped with a bronze tint that appears to react to changing light conditions to enhance the vehicle's lines and curves.
The Imagine also rides on 22 inch alloy wheels with transparent acrylic glass inserts designed to reflect and refract light, wrapped in bespoke Goodyear 255/35 R22 Intelligrip EV concept tires.
The car's windscreen and panoramic roof are fashioned from a single sheet of glass that runs into the C-pillar at the rear in a "double-bubble." And the concept opens up with suicide doors to an interior with an emphasis on roominess.
Folks in the front are treated to no less than 21 individual high resolution displays that curve over the dash, which is Kia's humorous answer to car makers trying to cram bigger and bigger screens into vehicle cockpits. From the driver's point of view, these screens merge to become a single unified display showing driving, navigation and entertainment systems.
An uncluttered interior vibe is helped along by a center console that floats above the floor and pedals that are recessed when the car is parked.
Kia hasn't mentioned the drivetrain or even so much as hinted at key vehicle specs like top speed, sprint times and range. But the company has confirmed a low mounted battery pack that can be induction charged.
The Imagine by Kia is quite a looker, as you can see in our show gallery, and hopefully some of those lavish design elements will make it through to future production vehicles.