It’s finally happening – Kia’s long-rumoured dual-cab ute has been confirmed for launch in 2026, but it won’t be powered by petrol or diesel.
South Korean car maker Kia has confirmed plans to launch not one, but two new utes in 2026 – but rather than petrol or diesel, they will use all-electric power.
Kia has long been rumoured to be secretly working on a dual-cab ute targeting Australia’s top-selling Toyota HiLux – however until now, it was believed this vehicle would be powered by petrol or diesel.
Instead, information confirmed to investors today will see Kia launch two “electric pick-ups” in 2026 – one a “dedicated” model bound for developed and emerging markets, and the other a “strategic model aimed at emerging markets”.
Australian launches for either model are yet to be confirmed – however, Kia Australia has shown significant interest in rolling out both a fleet of electric vehicles, and a potential ute.
It’s not clear how large the new utes will be, and if they will be sized similarly to the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger.
However, with the dedicated electric ute expected to be produced in the US – targeting American customers – it’s possible one of the new models will be closer in size to full-size US pick-ups, including the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500.
Fewer details are known about the “emerging market” pick-up, though Kia’s wording suggests it will may share its underpinnings with an existing petrol or diesel-powered ute – though such a model isn’t currently offered anywhere in the model ranges of Kia, or its sister brands Hyundai and Genesis.
In a win for performance fans, Kia has confirmed “all BEV [battery-electric] models” will offer a high-performance GT variant – including the new utes.
However, they’re likely to be targeted at on-road performance – akin to the EV6 GT, and its 3.5-second 0-100km/h time – rather than off-road capability akin to a Ford F-150 Raptor or Ranger Raptor.
Both utes will also benefit from over-the-air updates – like the new Ford Ranger – and in the US-market dedicated ute’s case, the availability of ‘AutoMode’ semi-autonomous driving technology.
The Kia ute announcement follows those by Hyundai earlier today, with the company confirming it will launch an electric “light commercial vehicle” by 2030 – a category which would suggest a light truck, van or, crucially, a ute.
The new ute will form part of Kia’s plan to offer 14 electric vehicles globally by 2027 – up from the 11 promised a year ago, thanks to the addition of the two utes, and an “entry-level … model”.
“In the United States, where mid-sized SUVs and pickups are popular, electric versions of these models will be produced locally from 2024,” Kia says.
The car maker will launch at least two new electric vehicles each year, starting in 2023 with the EV9: a five-metre-long, Hyundai Palisade-sized SUV offering approximately 540km of driving range, a 0-100km/h time of five seconds, and fast charging capability allowing 100km of range to be added in six minutes.
Kia targets 807,000 electric vehicle sales in 2026, ahead of 1.2 million global sales in 2030 – the latter a 36 per cent increase on the sales target announced last year.
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