Many believe that in the Indian market, hybrid vehicles are the way of the future. The argument has some validity because electric vehicles experience range anxiety and have limited charging facilities. Kia intends to test drive hybrid vehicles in India. It may release its first hybrid vehicle before the end of this year. Let’s discuss the first hybrid Kia vehicle sold in India.
The CEO and Managing Director of Kia India, Mr. Tae-Jin Park, talked about the potential introduction of hybrid cars during a media conference (source). He emphasised their desire to introduce novel hybrid technology as a possible diesel replacement. Park noted that diesel continues to be in high demand, accounting for 40% of overall sales at the moment. He gave his word that Kia intends to continue selling diesel cars for as long as laws allow. To put it another way, Kia is thinking about switching to hybrid cars, although diesel cars will still be offered for sale as long as regulations permit.
In the global market, Kia offers hybrid cars that demonstrate the latest developments in environmentally friendly technology. The Kia Sportage Hybrid, Sportage Plug-in Hybrid, Sorento Hybrid, Kia Niro, and Sorento Plug-in Hybrid are among these vehicles. The Sorento Hybrid and Niro are unique in that they combine petrol and electric power flawlessly thanks to the Full Parallel Hybrid technology. Significantly, since the electric motor skillfully creates and stores power during routine vehicle operations, these models do not require external charging.
Conversely, the Kia Stonic and Rio are classified as mild hybrids; they are similar to self-charging hybrids but have a smaller battery. These models aren’t able to run exclusively on battery power, unlike certain hybrids. Rather, the small battery maximises fuel economy by providing vital backup to the petrol or diesel engine.
Now let’s turn our attention to Kia’s objectives for the Indian market. According to certain rumours, Kia is committed to electrification. In particular, the business is hard at work customising its 1.5- and 1.2-liter naturally aspirated petrol engines for the Indian market.
Despite a limited selection of models, hybrid car sales have surpassed electric vehicle (EV) sales on a monthly basis in India’s automotive sector, which is an intriguing move. Strong hybrid cars sold 24,026 units between September and November 2023, more than electric vehicles (EVs), which sold 21,445 units over the same period. This points to a significant tipping point where hybrid vehicles routinely beat their electric counterparts.
Kia has revealed that it is researching the potential of introducing hybrid vehicles to the Indian market. The 1.2-liter and 1.5-liter normally aspirated engine options that are now available in the brand’s portfolio are already being electrified. The new Clavis SUV, which is anticipated to be unveiled before the end of this year, may be the first vehicle to receive the hybrid treatment. Then, it’s anticipated that it will be added to additional vehicles like the Seltos and Carens.
What else do we know?
A brand-new chassis that is compatible with both ICE and EV powertrains will serve as the foundation for the Clavis. It has been observed testing a tall-boy design recently. The Clavis will be positioned as a product between the Seltos and the Sonet. How will Kia set itself apart then? Similar to the Sonet, the Clavis would be a sub-4 million vehicle but with more features and more room inside. In addition to its hybrid configuration, the Clavis is anticipated to have an electric and/or petrol drivetrain.
Hybrid Kia car – Launch timeline
By the end of 2024, Kia reportedly intends to reveal the Clavis. The launch, though, is limited to the first half of 2025. The electric vehicle (EV) version will launch first, then the gasoline/diesel version. The release date of the hybrid version is yet unknown. The Clavis is likely to have a wide range of variants, with costs expected to start at Rs 14 lakh and go up to Rs 26 lakh (on-road, Mumbai). This is because it has so many engine options.