Kia’s New Concept Offers an Overdose of Digital Screens
We could be looking at one of the best concept cars to appear at the Geneva Motor Showby Kirby Garlitos, on
The race to showcase the fanciest concept interior at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show is heating up, and Kia might be sitting in pole position already. The automaker’s first pure electric four-door passenger car — the name hasn’t been announced yet — is headed to the year’s biggest auto show with 21 screens in tow. That’s not a typo, nor is it a joke. The concept really has 21 screens in the interior. Fortunately, the concept isn’t all about these screens; the exterior also features a unique lights signature, specifically in the front end of the concept. More details are expected to be revealed once the 2019 Geneva Motor Show kicks off on March 7, 2019.
Kia’s New Concept at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show
Kia is known for being extra creative when it comes to developing concept cars, and from the looks of it, this new concept won’t be any different. Ok, so Kia hasn’t revealed its name yet, but the automaker has dropped a few teasers along the way, leaving us with the kind of bread crumbs that will lead us to the concept’s unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show.
The latest teaser is somewhat of a barn-burner, especially if you consider yourself a vociferous consumer of cars with outlandish digital screens.
This concept is right up your alley because it not only has one digital screen; it has 21 of them.
I can’t emphasize how ridiculous that sounds, but the picture, or, at least in this case, the teaser image, paints a pretty clear picture of what we can expect from this concept’s interior. I tried to count how many smartphone-like digital screens are shown in the teaser, and there are at least 12 or 13 of them in it. That means that there are around eight or nine more screens that are unaccounted for.
What seems clear at this point is that the screens are lined up one after the other. The angle is a bit curious, but they do look like they’re lined up in a fan configuration, similar to how we make fans out of a deck of cards. If that’s the case, is it fair to assume that we’re looking at a deep dashboard? I’d say so, though, the teaser also shows a thin dash that actually looks more like a counter than a traditional dashboard.
The concept’s steering wheel also comes with a curious design. Kia says that the wheel was “intentionally designed to not sit within the industry’s predefined vehicle categories.”
It sure doesn’t look predefined, that much I can tell you. It’s not a flat steering wheel, as you can see in the image. The base curves out into the driver, and its shape is less defined than you’d expect. You’ll also notice that the top corners of the wheel have different surfaces than the sides and bottom. Unless my eyes deceive me, those look like hand guides that tell you where your hands should be when you’re driving this concept. Oh, and last thing. Kia’s new logo is present in the middle of the steering wheel. If for nothing else, it’s going to take some time to get used to Kia’s new logo font.
As intriguing as the concept’s interior is, I can’t help but revert back to the two previous teaser images of the exterior that Kia released. One of the images reveals the entire front section of the concept, highlighted by what’s probably one of the coolest-looking light signatures I’ve seen in recent memory. It’s technically a light bar that stretches across the concept’s front fascia. The curved corners narrow down in the middle, and when you combine it with the horizontal light bar inside, it’s like you’re looking at something that resembles a masked superhero in the mold of DC’s Nightwing. Somewhere in that setup is Kia’s signature tiger-nose front grille, though it’s possible that the automaker is also presenting a new front grille design that eliminates the current design completely. Kia indicated that the concept is, after all, a "visual embodiment of the company’s desire to move forward in the exciting world of electrification.”
This naturally brings us to the things that make this concept go. Kia has also remained tight-lipped with regards to the concept’s powertrain. But it is an electric car so don’t expect to see an internal combustion engine anywhere near this concept. That leaves us with the thought that an electric motor could be sitting somewhere underneath all that sheet. Since Kia’s teasing the concept as an electric ride that “will make the hairs on the back of your necks stand up when you drive it,” I don’t think we’re going to see the same 64 kWh battery pack that you can find in the top-of-the-line Soul. It’s hard to imagine a concept that’s billed as a performance EV carrying such a small battery pack.
Perhaps it’s powered by the same 150 kW electric as the e-Niro, though that assumes that the motor can produce more than the 201-horsepower and 291-pound-feet-of-torque output of the electric crossover.
I’d like to think that since Kia seems to have developed this concept with the intention of using it as a showcase of its future electrification plans, it’s gone all out in the development of a bigger battery pack that can accommodate the power and performance needs that Kia wants to unleash in the future. At the very least, the electric motor should produce roughly the same amount of power that the Kia Stinger GT possesses. The performance sedan comes with two engine options, one of which is a 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine that produces 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. That’s the benchmark that Kia needs to at least meet to make this concept a viable showcase of its electrification plans. Kia’s VP of Design, Gregory Guillaume, did say that the concept will make “the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you drive it.” That’s a pretty bold statement that Kia needs to justify convincingly.
Anything less would probably be a disappointment.
Read our full review on the 2019 Kia Performance EV Concept.
Read our full review on the 2018 Kia Stinger
Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Kia Stinger Coupe
Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Kia Stinger GT Plus