The South Korean brand looks to spark new hybrids, EV’s, and a FCV by 2020

The standard internal combustion engine is seeing competition from all sorts of possible substitutions, and now, it looks like Kia will add to the mix through the release of over a dozen new models. For the moment, there are little to no specifics, but the plan does include 14 new models equipped with alternative powertrains, including all-electrics and hybrids, as well as a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. The new high-tech offerings will supposedly see a release over the course of the next four years, with the fuel cell vehicle arriving towards the end of that schedule in 2020.

The news comes courtesy of the U.K. publication AutoCar, which quotes Kia’s European head, Michael Cole. Cole told the outlet about Kia’s plans to release the new lineup globally by the end of the decade as the automaker attempts to broaden its sales numbers and its customer base.

Kia recently released its new Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle, and is expected to add a plug-in EV variant of the same model sometime soon. The extra EV compact crossover should help bolster Kia’s current alternative powertrain lineup, with older offerings including the Optima hybrid and Soul EV.

Additional future models include a forthcoming Optima hybrid wagon. As for models with more conventional powertrains, Kia is expected to release a small Nissan Juke fighter sometime soon, as well as a sportier halo car that’ll be a production version of the 2011 GT concept.

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Why It Matters

The idea of bringing 14 new alternative powertrain vehicles to market in just four years is a very bold undertaking for a company like Kia. Putting together the right sort of offering in a market where hybrid and all-electric competition seems to be growing at an exponential rate is no small task, but it’s certainly a ripe opportunity as hybrids and all-electrics gain traction globally.

I see Kia taking up the affordable side of the spectrum, which makes me question how quickly the technology is progressing. Hybrids and all-electrics are still the more expensive option when placed alongside conventional ICE-powered vehicles, at least as far as initial outlay is concerned, so hopefully Kia can find the right components to keep its models competitive going forward.

The fuel cell vehicle is probably one of the most ambitious projects outlined here, but with the support of Hyundai, it’s all certainly achievable. For example, Hyundai is already making moves in the fuel cell space with its hydrogen-powered Tucson compact SUV.

Cole offered no specifics as to how many of the 14 new models would be either hybrids or electrics, but logically, it would make sense to hybridize several of Kia’s existing models to meet its goals. A hybridized Forte or Sportage would both be good candidates.

All-electrics are a little trickier, but not impossible either. In the short term, hybrids will probably be the more popular choice, but if Kia can put together an improved all-electric powertrain with some competitive range, things will be looking pretty bright.

But what do you think? What kind of models do you wanna see Kia develop? Is the plan to offer 14 new models with alternative powertrains viable? Let us know in the comments.

Read our full review on the 2011 Kia GT Concept here.

Source: AutoCar

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