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Kia leads the electrification way at Geneva auto show

Written by Norris McDonald

I live in a house in the suburbs that has an attached garage. I am the perfect person for an electric car (if I had one). I would get home, pull into the garage, plug in my phone – er, car – and the next morning it would be all charged up and ready to go. No problem.

I have a daughter who lives with her family in Kingston. She has a driveway, so can plug in her EV (if she had one) without too much trouble. My two sons, though, live in Toronto. One owns a house in Riverdale and doesn’t have a garage or a driveway. He has to park on the street but sometimes has to park around the corner. For him, an EV is problematic (although, still in Riverdale, you can come across extension cords running down the sidewalk to parked cars and it will be interesting to see what happens when somebody trips over one and breaks his or her  neck.) The other son lives in a midtown apartment building and there are no plugs in the communal garage.

So it’s more-or-less a 50-50 proposition with us. Two of us could consider EVs if we so desired. For the other two, though, EVs are really non-starters.

That isn’t stopping the industry from going full-speed ahead with electrification. They’re rolling new EVs out at the Geneva Auto Show, which started today.

For instance, and this is from a release sent out today, Kia Motors has revealed its new all-electric concept car, ‘Imagine by Kia,’ at Geneva (see photo, above).

“Automotive design is about capturing the heart and making it beat that bit faster for that bit longer. We believe that there’s absolutely no reason why that should change simply because the car is electric,” said Gregory Guillaume, Vice President of Design for Kia Motors Europe.

“That’s why our all-electric concept is designed to not only get your pulse racing, but to also signpost our holistic and emotional approach to electrification.”

Guillaume  said that “today’s drivers understandably have many questions about electric cars. They’re concerned about range, the recharging network, and whether electric cars will still be dynamic and engaging to drive. So, when we first started thinking about this concept and imagining what its role would be, we knew that the best way to answer those questions and address those concerns was by approaching electrification purely from an emotional point of view.

“Kia prides itself on its power to surprise, which is why we wanted to move away from the rational and focus on the emotional, and embrace a warmer and more human approach to electrification. After all, electricity is found within every atom, it’s the energy that flows within us and around us on our planet. Harnessing its potential has propelled us forward from one innovation to the next.”

Imagine by Kia is the company’s first pure electric four-door passenger car. Unlike the award-winning 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.

Drawing together elements of a muscular sports utility vehicle, a sleek and athletic family saloon, and a versatile and spacious crossover, Imagine by Kia is intentionally designed to not sit within the industry’s predefined vehicle categories.

“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 Guillaume. “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.”

Guillaume concluded by saying: “We imagined a future where engaging and dynamic cars like this were an integral part of our transport requirements. So it will come as no surprise then that we have named our new concept ‘Imagine by Kia’. And its message is clear,” says Guillaume. “It’s time to free your imagination, to stop wondering and to start driving!”

Meantime, Alfa Romeo is breaking into the electric vehicle world at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show, revealing the new concept of the Alfa Romeo Tonale premium compact SUV.

The Tonale is the first plug-in hybrid and the first premium compact SUV for Alfa Romeo.

An element that echoes the tradition of Alfa Romeo’s DNA is the phone dial wheel. The Tonale’s 21-inch wheel design displays this through a lightweight architectural construction, creating an honest and impactful execution of the circular theme. The lineage of the phone dial wheel dates back to the 1960s, worn proudly on the iconic 33 Stradale. The distinctive Tonale wheel design is also celebrated harmoniously with an exclusive Pirelli tire scheme.

The Tonale concept vehicle is equipped with the highest levels of technology to ensure a connected, comfortable and dynamic user experience, while keeping the pleasure of a sporty drive at the forefront.

Last, also in Geneva, Mazda Motor Corp. today made the world premiere of the second model in its new-generation lineup, the Mazda CX-30 compact crossover SUV. As a new core model, TheCX-30 will be rolled out to global markets, with sales starting from Europe this summer.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (MMC) is giving the Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer new generation crossover SUV its global premiere at Geneva. Embodying the “Drive your Ambition” corporate global tagline, the Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer uses MMC’s own and advanced electrification and all-wheel control technologies to raise SUV appeal to a new level.

MMC will also be giving demonstrations at its booth of the DENDO DRIVE HOUSE (DDH) – a new energy ecosystem allowing owners to generate and store energy automatically between their cars and home, enhancing the value of electric vehicles.

DDH, offered to customers at the showroom when they buy the EV/PHEV at MMC dealerships, is a V2H*2-based home system. MMC plans to start offering this service in Japan and Europe from 2019.