Livescore Thursday, April 25

Kia is currently producing some of the most competitive electric vehicles on the market. The EV6 and Niro EV could be considered just the beginning though, as the automaker pledges to invest no less than $18 billion (together with Hyundai) in its transformation to an EV brand by the end of the current decade. The plug-in hybrids of the brand aren’t bad either but it turns out even Kia does not believe in the PHEV technology.

This may sound a little contradictory but an executive for the manufacturer for the Australian market has recently admitted PHEVs aren’t that great. Or, rather, plug-in hybrids are difficult to sell as the customer base just doesn’t understand their nature. This is what Kia Australia marketing general manager Dean Norbiato told CarExpert in a recent interview, also admitting PHEVs are a dead-end technology. 

“I personally believe it’s a hard concept to sell,” Norbiato said. “I don’t think the consumer understands it. No one has the critical mass from an OEM standpoint to educate on that. There has always been such a splintered product lineup, and no one has that supply to do that job that needs to be with the industries.”

But hey – does that mean that Kia will discontinue its plug-in hybrid models? Well, no. In Australia, the brand’s only vehicle with a plug is the Sorento PHEV but in the United States, there’s also the Niro PHEV and Sportage PHEV. For the 2023 model year, the former starts at $35,035, while the latter will set you back at least $39,785. The Sorento PHEV, meanwhile, kicks off from more than $51,000. 

What’s the latest from Kia on the EV front? The EV9 made its US debut in early April this year and will go into production in Georgia next year. But before that, the model should go on sale in the United States in the final quarter of this year, which likely means the early examples will be imported from South Korea.

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