Skip to main content
Kia's EV Plans Now Include a Truck Made in America

Kia's EV Plans Now Include a Truck Made in America

A new Kia electric truck built in the U.S. is just one part of the automaker’s ambitious future product lineup

  • Kia will build an electric pickup truck in America.
  • New AutoMode hands-free driving technology launches in the upcoming Kia EV9.
  • Soon, Kia owners will be able to buy and download new features for their vehicles.
  • Kia forecasts EV performance increases and battery cost reductions.

In a presentation outlining its business plans for the remainder of the 2020s, Kia has announced its upcoming AutoMode self-driving car technology, a new electric pickup truck that will go on sale by 2027, and that it will build the pickup and electric SUVs in the U.S.

Additionally, just a few years from now, all new Kias will have connected car technology with new Feature on Demand over-the-air update capability. By 2030, Kia also expects to increase battery energy density by 50% while shaving costs of the system 40% and predicts that by the end of the decade more than 75% of Kias sold in North America will have an "eco-friendly" drivetrain.

Intrigued? We'll share everything we know below.

What the truck, Kia?

Picking through the details announced at Kia's 2022 CEO Investor Day event, the addition of an electric pickup truck to the automaker's product plans is the big news. Previously, Kia said it would have 11 new electric vehicles on sale around the world by 2026, and now the plans call for 14 EVs by 2027, including the truck.

Since the Kia electric pickup is a late addition, expect it to arrive closer to the end of the automaker's planned product blitz, which calls for two new EVs to debut each year starting in 2023. Following the recently introduced 2022 Kia EV6 crossover, the next ones expected to arrive in the U.S. are a redesigned Niro EV and a full-size SUV called the EV9. Kia would likely base the upcoming truck on the EV9's platform.

Additionally, Kia says it will locally build EVs for its various global markets. As an example, it cited America's preference for SUVs and pickups when it confirmed that production of electric versions will start in the U.S. in 2024.

Future Kias will drive themselves – eventually

When the 2024 Kia EV9 SUV arrives, it will have a new feature called AutoMode. This is what Kia has named its planned autonomous driving technology platform, and by 2026 the automaker says it will be available in all of its new models.

Initially, AutoMode will offer Highway Driving Pilot, a hands-free, Level 2 semi-automated driving aid for use on approved highways. Effectively, it will operate similar to Ford's BlueCruise and General Motors' Super Cruise. In the future, Kia will provide over-the-air (OTA) updates that will add capabilities to the system, with plans to ultimately offer fully autonomous driving.

Got extra money? Spend it on software upgrades

Kia plans to deliver OTA updates and new features to its vehicles via Feature on Demand (FoD) technology. According to the automaker, this capability will debut in the EV9, and all new Kias will have FoD capability by 2025. FoD will allow owners to add new features to their vehicles in much the same way Tesla does today. All you'll need to do is buy or subscribe to whatever upgrade you want, and your future Kia electric vehicle will download or activate the new functionality for use.

Enhancements to vehicle power and driving range are among the possibilities via FoD. On a related note, Kia plans to offer performance-oriented GT versions of all of its upcoming EVs.

Edmunds says

Kia's roadmap to transform its company and products isn't much different from what other automakers are plotting, but it's nice to add some texture and nuance to what the South Korean brand has planned. Based on the strength of the all-new 2022 Kia EV6, it certainly seems as though the company's historical roots in building basic, inexpensive transportation will be deeply buried by 2030 — if not sooner.