Autos

Major manufacturer slams small electric cars saying they’re ‘not viable’


A MAJOR car manufacturer has slammed small electric vehicles and said they are “not viable”.

Kia’s UK chief executive, Paul Philpott, outlined plans to increase the number of electric cars it sold in the UK last year.

A major car manufacturer has said small electric vehicles are "not viable"

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A major car manufacturer has said small electric vehicles are “not viable”Credit: AFP or licensors

But he hinted that it was not commercially viable to keep producing them, especially for smaller vehicles.

Philpott told The Times: “The electrification of the small car is really difficult, economically speaking.”

Most car makers are predominantly offering premium electric models in their fleets, which provide stronger profit margins, with the battery pack by far the costliest component of all. 

That’s because the smaller the car, the larger the proportion the battery in its production cost, which is why there are so few sub-£30,000 small compact EVs on the market. 

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Philpott said it is for this reason that his company currently has no plans to bring a mass-market electric vehicle to showrooms.

His prediction came despite the government’s ban on selling new petrol and diesel cars looming in 2030.

From next year, the ZEV mandate is expected to mandate that 22 per cent of all auto brands’ UK sales to be electric.

While Philpott said there are no imminent plans for Kia to introduce an electric car for those on smaller budgets, he did concede that the imminent arrival of cheaper-priced Chinese brands into the British market could force its hand.

The past year has been good to Kia with more Brit motorists buying the brand than Citroens, Fiats and Peugeots put together in 2022.

And Philpott’s comments come after sales of electric vehicles were a major contributor to its success. 

Kia’s Niro EV, which starts from £36,795, was the third best-selling electric car in Britain in 2022, while its cheapest battery-powered car is the Soul EV, which starts from £32,845.

Of all the motors the brand shifted in 2022, 16.3 per cent were battery electric cars.

Its Niro EV was the third best-selling pure electric model in Britain, amassing some 11,197 registrations.

And it has overtaken Vauxhall with only the Volkswagen, Ford, Audi, BMW and Toyota marques sold more.

Of the 267,000 battery electric cars registered in Britain last year, two thirds were fleet or company cars and a fifth, more than 54,000, were Teslas.

It comes after a major UK electric car battery maker collapsed into administration after failed rescue talks.

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Britishvolt, a start-up championed by former prime minister Boris Johnson to help drive a greener economy had planned a gigafactory for the EV batteries.

And one motorist said that he has switched back to petrol after getting trapped inside his electric car for a whopping 45 minutes.





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