Kia Will Boost Hybrid Development to Offset Shaky EV Demand

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

Another day, another story of an automaker realizing that going all-in on EVs will take longer than expected. Ford and General Motors have both backtracked, saying they would produce more hybrids and plug-in hybrids to fill the gap left by wavering EV demand and now it’s Kia’s turn. The company recently announced that it would boost hybrid development to provide “maximum flexibility” to bolster what could be shifty EV demand in the short term.

“While the long-term EV demand for 2030 is expected to remain unchanged, the pace of demand growth may prove uneven in the near term,” the automaker’s April 5 press release stated. It continued, “To respond agilely to changes in the market environment, Kia will secure maximum flexibility in its lineup operation.”

Kia blamed slow global economic growth, weakening EV incentives, and shaky charging infrastructure as factors working against the move to full electrification. Though it held its 2030 projections in place, the automaker noted that it would boost its hybrid efforts to manage the short-term bumps in the road.

Though this might be seen as a step backward for the South Korean company, executives actually increased its sales targets from 2.4 to 2.5 million units in 2030. In the meantime, it said it would grow its hybrid catalog to include six models this year, two more by 2026, and a ninth in 2028. That builds on the existing hybrid lineup, which includes the Niro and Sorento Hybrids and the Sportage Hybrid/PHEV.

[Image: Kia]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

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8 of 11 comments
  • TheEndlessEnigma TheEndlessEnigma on Apr 15, 2024

    Hybrids and PHEV's are the way to go.

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Apr 15, 2024

    Audi bashing time....

    It's remarkable to see the poor quality, feel and materials used in things like the Q4 e-tron. The reviews of this thing make it sound like it's a great deal, that the interior is typical Audi. No, absolutely not. It's an insult to buyers to see this thing priced this way. Its ride quality is awful, it handles ok, its seats are weird and uncomfortable.... why would anyone want this, regardless of price? No wonder the lease deals are what they are.

    Of course, the Audi folks are happy to point you to the Q8 e-tron, which is what the Q5 should be like but scaled down. Of course then it's 20-40k more, and then it's only a good deal if you don't like money.

    Even the sales rep acknowledged that some EVs give people motion sickness, another problem these weirdly calibrated cars.

    We got into a Q5 hybrid and it fixed most of the issues with the other 2. Interior felt more like a regular Audi because that's what it is. But why is it 65k?

    Who is buying this stuff?

    • See 1 previous
    • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Apr 15, 2024

      @SCE, the Audi rep was referring to her boyfriend's BMW ix making her feel sick. Both my wife and I felt it in the Q4 etron with her feeling it more in the Q8.

      No transmission, the lack of sound and vibration of an engine, the smell of adhesives and other materials, how the suspension is set up, etc. It's hard to nail down what's happening, but I know we're not the only ones and these aren't the only EVs where this happens.

  • Bd2 Bd2 on Apr 15, 2024

    Kia already had new HEV and PHEV models in development.

    The HEV Carnival (which has been available in Korea for the past few months) will soon make its way to NA, the next gen Telluride is set to get an HEV and the Sorento PHEV will be getting an upgrade to the new 2.5 PHEV powertrain (also likely headed into the Telluride and Carnival), with both the Sorento and Carnival also likely upgrading from the 1.6T HEV to the new 2.5/T HEV.

    Due to the stricter new emissions regs for Australia, the Tasman ute will get the 2.5/T HEV as the replacement for a larger displacement diesel.

  • Jalop1991 Jalop1991 on Apr 16, 2024

    take longer than expected.

    Uh-huh. Gotcha.

    Next step: acknowledging that the fantasies of 2020 were indeed fantasies, and "longer than expected" is 2024 code word for "not gonna happen at all".

    But we can't actually say that, right? It's like COVID. You remember that, don't you? That thing that was going to kill the entire planet unless you all were good little boys and girls and strapped yourself into your living room and never left, just like the government told you to do.

    That thing you're now completely ignoring, and will now deny publicly that you ever agreed with the government about.

    Take your "EV-only as of 2025" cards from 2020 and put them in the same file with your COVID shot cards.