Kia has taken the wraps off its new all-electric concept car, “Imagine by Kia”, at the Geneva motor show.
The design study is the company’s first pure electric four-door passenger car. Unlike the e-Niro electric crossover, which is based on the existing architecture of the hybrid-powered Niro, ‘Imagine by Kia’ is underpinned by a low-mounted, induction-charged battery pack that powers a compact drivetrain.
Mixing elements of an SUV, a family saloon, and a crossover, the concept is intentionally packaged to not sit within the industry’s predefined vehicle categories, according to Kia’s design team.
“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,” explains Gregory Guillaume, Kia’s vice president of design. “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.”
Key design details include a reinterpretation of Kia’s ‘tiger nose’ grille, which is augmented to incorporate a new illuminated ‘tiger mask’ that encircles the main LED headlamp units. The latter are further separated by horizontal ‘eyelids’.
“The inspiration for the ‘tiger mask’ was to create the look and feel of the headlamps being suspended within a transparent block of glass,” explains Guillaume. “This identifiable lighting signature could potentially be deployed as a unifying design element across Kia’s future electric vehicle range.”
Additional details include a single sheet of glass being used for both the windscreen and roof, flowing from the base of the A-pillar and over the cabin, before tapering into a double-bubble over the rear passenger compartment.
At the back, the turn signals are housed within deep-set tunnels to create a three-dimensional effect, with the looped lights extending outwards as they grow in size. Horizontal wrap-around brake light strips create a visual link with the Kia Stinger.
Sitting on 22-inch alloy wheels, the car’s exterior also gets six hand-applied layers of chrome-effect silver paint that is then covered in a tanned bronze tint.
Beyond cosmetics, Guillaume and his design team also say they have focused a lot on the car’s aerodynamics.
“The front air curtain; the way the double-skin bonnet channels air through the nose, up and over the front screen and roof; the double skinned C-pillar that creates an air spoiler; the completely enclosed underbody; the wind-cheating ‘wingcams’ and the hard-edged break-away around the car’s rear – all these features collectively boost aerodynamic efficiency and reduce turbulence and drag,” Guillaume explains.
On the car’s inside, the driver is immediately confronted by a total of 21 individual screens that curve their way across the top of the dashboard.
“These 21 incredibly thin screens are a humorous and irreverent riposte to the on-going competition between some automotive manufacturers to see who can produce the car with the biggest screen,” explains Ralph Kluge, Kia’s general manager of interior design.
A floating centre console, four leather and silk-covered seats, and doors that are rear-hinged at the back for improved access, complete the interior look.