When Kia Motors first said it was going to become an all-electric automaker, there was a little confusion. How can an automaker that has plans to produce GT vehicles like the recent 2020 Kia Forte also become an all-electric automaker? Kia Motors GT-line is how it sounds – it’s a lineup within the lineup and only certain vehicles like the Kia Forte, the Kia Soul, and the Kia Optima may get GT-specific trims. Electric vehicles on the other hand? Well, Kia leaked a rendering of the new 2021 Kia Optima, known as the K5 overseas, and the grille is all but absent. So, imagine our excitement when we saw this little number – the Kia Futuron concept (pictured above).
Yeah, that’s hot. Although the 2019 SEMA Show is happening between November 5 – November 8, 2019, Kia Motors decided to debut their new concept overseas during the 2019 China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. A bit of a shame, we’d love to get a better look at a prototype, but all the current media on it only shows renders. Either way, the Kia Futuron concept is an all-wheel drive SUV coupe with a fully electric powertrain.
Based on first looks alone, this concept definitely looks like a sports car. The flowing shapes and streamlined design definitely create an aero-efficient profile that can slice through the atmosphere, and the low-profile keeps it looking strong yet also elegant. Some may be wondering why we’ve never seen a design like this before, with the wide stance and long wheelbase. It’s the Futuron’s fully-electric powertrain that makes this possible.
Mounted low in the vehicle’s body, beneath the cabin floor, a high-capacity battery not only provides electrical energy to four powerful electric motors embedded in the wheels but can also help to keep the vehicle grounded with a low center of gravity. Matched with a cutting-edge e-AWD system, and we have the beginnings of an all-electric sports car. We assume they’re talking about the all-wheel drivetrain transfer case Kia Motors was working on back in 2018.
Shown in the concept renders, the roof is a diamond-shaped panoramic glasshouse that floods the cabin with natural light and offers everyone inside a great view. On top of this, inching closer to self-driving vehicles, the Futuron concept comes with a network of LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors capable of providing Level 4 autonomous driving. That’s when the driver doesn’t even need to control the vehicle in a majority of driving conditions.
The new “tiger-face” Kia Motors keeps pushing is also apparent in the design of the Futuron. No longer subtle and soft, Kia is going for a tighter, more aggressive, yet elegant “tiger face”. If we’re being real, this concept looks a lot like the Imagine by Kia concept the automaker unveiled at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show. The Futuron also has a new interesting take on headlamps with a “Star Cloud” design made to reflect the look of nebulae in the night sky with a geometric patchwork of matrix LED lighting.
Step inside and an all-electric powertrain definitely makes for a more spacious cabin for the driver and passengers. Plus, the two front seats are made out of flexible materials and can offer an upright “driving” position or a reclined “rest” position. With the level 4 autonomy engaged, the two front seats will actually fully recline, and the steering wheel retracts to offer a “zero-gravity” seating position for some rest and relaxation on a long drive.
Going for a little unique flare, the interior comes with Star Cloud lighting and scaled Dragon Skin motifs that pay respects to Chinese legend Dragons and the scaled armor that adorns Chinese dragons in mythology and modern-day cultural celebrations. Drivers and passengers will definitely feel like they’ve stepped into a fantasy world with a glittering interactive ambient lighting system in the cabin. The most notable feature though, although a little difficult to see in the provided images, is a graphical user interface (GUI) that merges the instrument cluster and the audio-visual display into the center of the dashboard. Operated by artificial intelligence (AI), the GUI displays useful information about the vehicle, such as various autonomous driving features, powertrain, and navigation.
Here’s hoping we get a better look at the Kia Futuron Concept here in the states. Share your thoughts about the new concept on Miami Lakes Kia social media.