Kia updated its electric vehicle strategy Wednesday at its CEO Investor Day 2023 in Seoul, Korea. The automaker says it’s now aiming to sell 1.6 million EVs by 2030, up 400,000 from the previous guidance of 1.2 million.

With Kia forecasting 4.3 million overall sales by then, it would mean EVs would only account for 37% of all sales.

Kia raises EV sales goal to 1.6 million by 2030

After a record year in 2022 coming off a fresh brand overhaul, Kia looks to keep the momentum rolling. The South Korean automaker revealed its “Plan S” strategy in 2020, designed to transition the company to an EV-focused brand and boost sales.

In fact, Kia has completely transformed its brand, including changing the company name (from Kia Motors to Kia) and introducing a new logo.

Last May, Kia unveiled its first dedicated fully-electric vehicle, the high-flying EV6 crossover, based on Hyundai’s E-GMP platform, the same one the IONIQ 5 and IONIQ 6 models ride on.

The company established its “opposites united” design approach, which has been its guiding philosophy for the new EVs like the flagship EV9, Kia’s first seven-seat SUV, and the smaller upcoming EV5 electric SUV.

Kia’s CEO, Ho Sung Song, announced today that the automaker will accelerate its efforts to become an “EV tier 1 brand.” To do so, Kia has developed four pillars:

  1. Introduce a full EV lineup including 15 models as of 2027.
  2. Increase EV sales goal to 1.6 million by 2030, up 400,000 from the previous 1.2 million guidance.
  3. Advance battery technology from Gen 3 to Gen 5 (which Kia says will increase energy density by 50%) and secure a stable battery supply chain.
  4. Install 3,500 ultra-fast chargers in Korea by 2025 while partnering globally to expand charging infrastructure.

As an interim target, Kia is aiming to sell over 1 million electric vehicles by 2026, representing a 25% increase from its previous plans. The South Korean automaker has its first dedicated EV plant opening in 2024 in Gwangmyeong, South Korea, where two new EV models will be built.

Kia’s first target will be selling 258,000 electric vehicles by the end of the year as it works to establish its position in the new EV era.

Electrek’s Take

Although Kia adjusting its EV sales goal higher is great, it still only represents 37% of the automaker’s total sales target for 2030.

Several automakers are already selling double-digit (or 100%) EV sales by now, while other legacy automakers like Ford, GM, and Stellantis are aiming for 40% to 50% by the end of the decade, which is low in itself.

Tesla sold 1.2 million zero-emission EVs alone in 2022, and another record first quarter with over 422,000 deliveries.

Earlier this year, Polestar’s head of sustainability, Fredrika Klarén, called out legacy automakers, saying there is no place for mass-produced non-EV models after 2030.

Klarén said Polestar is basing its assessments on a science-based approach, and anyone claiming they will fix it by 2040 or 2050 is not listening, because we will have already missed our goal, going on to explain:

We only have seven years left until we hit 1.5 degrees global warming. That’s a fact if we continue on the route we’re heading into. So, anything after 2030, we’re not interested.

We don’t have time to wait until after 2030, especially not with only 37% EV sales. More needs to be done including ending ICE vehicle production.

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