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Imagine by Kia will launch as Tesla-fighting halo EV

Kia’s first devoted all-electric vehicle will be launched as a Tesla-style ‘halo’ model – showcasing the brand’s future with 310 miles of range and 350kW rapid-charge technology.

The all-new model will utilise Kia’s recent tie-up with electric expert Rimac to offer “incredible” performance, which will later filter down to more mainstream models in the Korean maker’s line-up.

Speaking with Auto Express, Kia Europe’s marketing director Carlos Lahoz said: “The technology is state of the art - less than 20 minutes charging with more than 500km (310 miles) of range.

Head of product planning Pablo Martinez Masip, added: “Imagine by Kia will have 800-volt technology like the Porsche Taycan. We want a product that can benefit from our investment in the IONITY 350kW charging network.”

The original Imagine by Kia idea was shown at last year’s Geneva Motor Show and takes the form of a jacked-up C-segment crossover with a sharp, fastback-style rear end. When questioned on whether the firm’s first dedicated EV might take its styling cues from the concept, Kia’s European COO Emilio Herrera said: “Yes. It will be inspired by that.”

Kia will position the car carefully, however. Lahoz told us: “We have a lot of expectation to give our first message to the market that we are serious,” he told us. “It will have a significant effect in how our customers perceive us. “The car that we will be launching in 2021 will be a super car. It will be super high-performance,” he said.

The designer will use the production-ready Imagine by Kia to set the bar for what’s to come over the next five years. The company aims to cover all segments, from city car to SUV, with a fully-electric offering by 2025 – as outlined in its recent Plan S business strategy.

“It is important to make a statement,” Lahoz explained to us. “Every manufacturer needs a halo car that sets the pace for whatever is coming,” he told us. “We are going to launch 11 [electric cars] by 2025, and this is the first stepping stone to what the new Kia is going to offer to it’s consumers.”

We’ll likely see a production version of the Imagine by Kia concept early in 2021, with sales starting later that year. Kia’s bosses suggested that by 2023-24, the company could be making a clear profit on its electric cars, which should finally bring price parity between its petrol and electric cars.