Kia electric utes: Two coming by 2026

At least one of the electric pick-ups will be made in the US

Santa Sorento Rear

Kia says it will launch two electric utes as part of a wider zero-emissions line-up announced today, with a total of 14 battery-electric models planned by 2027.

Of the two electric utes, Kia says one will be an entry-level model, while the other will be a “dedicated electric pick-up truck and a strategic model for emerging markets”.

High-performance versions of the utes are expected, with GT variants promised for the brand's entire battery-electric model range.

Few details have been provided by the carmaker, but it’s possible at least one of the models will be a full-size pick-up, designed to compete with the likes of the battery-powered Ford F-150 Lightning and Chevrolet Silverado EV.

Santa Sorento Front
Above and top: Speculative digital renderings created by artist Theottle.

Kia has previously gone up against American stalwarts like the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition with its Telluride SUV, indicating it’s not afraid of entering an established segment.

"It would fit with our portfolio and the brand," Kia design boss Kerim Habib told the UK's Autocar in December 2021.

"In the pick-up market in the US, there is a huge amount of loyalty to existing brands. But there are also new things opening up. So maybe there is room for another brand."

Kia could also be planning its own electric version of the Hyundai Santa Cruz – a compact soft-roader designed to compete with the Ford Maverick, Ram 700, and Honda Ridgeline in the Americas and other emerging markets.

The company says it will begin manufacturing electric pick-ups and mid-size SUVs in the US from 2024, while small and medium-sized EVs will go into production in Europe from 2025.

Wheels Reviews 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Sage Gray Green Dynamic Rear Highway Drive
Above: The US-market Hyundai Santa Cruz.

Kia’s Australian arm has made no secret of the fact that it’s been pushing for a ute of its own in recent years, with earlier reports suggesting the company’s Korean head office had already begun work on such a vehicle.

The two electric utes are part of 14 new EVs to launch by 2027, which also includes the 11 models previously announced by the company.

The news comes as Kia’s parent company Hyundai Motor Group announced plans to offer 17 new EVs across the Hyundai and Genesis brands by 2030.

Ben Zachariah


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