Kia Motors, the second largest South Korean automaker behind Hyundai, unveiled its all-wheel drive electric SUV coupe concept, the Futuron, at the 2019 China International Import Expo. The design is a bold proposal for future style, engineering, and manufacturing cues that might appear in subsequent KIA offerings.
As Kia explained, the Futuron name itself is a portmanteau of "future" and "on," revealing the the future direction of the brand has been switched on towards more progressive looking electric powered vehicles. The look is certainly bold. The shapes are clean and strong with a pronounced beak, graceful exterior lines, swoopy interior, and a fully electric all-wheel drive platform.
The design principle behind the Futuron is something Kia refers to as the "360 degree core." This is a concept that fuses form and motion with a seamless flowing shape composed of smooth lines, simple curves, and pleasing shapes devoid of ornamentation and excess. This, Kia believes, redounds both aerodynamic benefits and simplicity in engineering and purpose.
From my eye, the shape is noticeably strong and I am fond of a car with simple, clean lines without excessive affect and bolt-ons. Kia also has a lot of innovation going on under the hood. The battery, like so many other electric car designs, will occupy a platform beneath the cabin floor. But, in a break from traditional designs, each wheel will have a self-contained electric motor. The design is at once practical and efficient. AWD response should be precise and electric power will be delivered quick and precise with out excessive parasitic loss. It will also allow KIA to use the base as a stable platform for whatever body and design profile they choose.
On the inside, the "360 degree core" philosophy continues with "zero gravity" flowing seats, smart dash design, and a novel steering wheel with gesture based controls. Natural light flows into the cabin spilling off the angular shapes and premium materials. LIDAR (light detection and ranging) is used for fully autonomous hands-off and eyes-off driving.
The Futuron seems to be a great test bed for a bunch of novel design features and engineering bits which will no doubt appear on future KIA offerings. It's great to see them push the envelope. Let's see what actually hits the market. Buckle up.
(via Kia Motors)