Kia Motors has revealed its new Futuron Concept, an all-wheel drive SUV coupe which proposes new designs for future electric vehicles. The Futuron name itself is a portmanteau of ‘future’ and ‘on’, hinting at the switched-on, electric nature of future SUV designs from the brand.
The lightweight SUV coupe body incorporates a fully-electric all-wheel drive powertrain with a flexible, high-tech interior. The Futuron made its public debut at the 2019 China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, where it will be on display to the public until 10 November.
The Kia Futuron Concept is built around what Kia calls a 360-degree design notable for its pure, smooth form devoid of ornament. The low-profile SUV coupe body makes a strong statement of intent for Kia’s future cars, which will be confident, sporty and modern, yet also elegant. At 4,850 mm in length, 1,550 mm tall and with a 3,000 mm-long wheelbase, the Futuron’s elevated ground clearance is matched with a low, lean body to create a dynamic, confident posture.
The Futuron’s electric powertrain makes this shape possible. A high-capacity battery is mounted low in the vehicle’s body, beneath the cabin floor, providing energy to four in-wheel electric motors. The elevated stance of the car is therefore matched with a low center of gravity and an e-AWD system.
A sports car on an SUV platform, combined with comfortable, lean-back seats, Futuron offers users a new type of interactive driving experience suitable for urban city environments. Various elements of the vehicle’s structure and design foster the important connection and interaction between car and driver.
Revealed for the first time in Shanghai, the Futuron also incorporates Chinese legend in the design and form of its new Star Cloud lighting. The Dragon Skin surface which covers the lighting area emulates the scaled armor that adorns Chinese dragons, both in mythology and modern-day cultural celebrations. The Star Cloud lighting incorporates a kinetic surface, enabling the car to alternate between daytime running lights and full-beam headlamps as the scales open and close.
Flexible and autonomous cabin space. The layout of the electric powertrain and incorporation of Level 4 autonomous driving systems has enabled the creation of a spacious and flexible cabin unlike any other vehicle on roads. The two front seats are created out of flexible materials and can offer an upright ‘driving’ position, or a reclined ‘rest’ position, similar to the flexibility afforded to first-class airline passengers. With the activation of the Futuron’s autonomous driving features, the two front seats recline as the steering wheel retracts. The ‘zero-gravity’ seating position this creates helps to reduce fatigue on long journeys.
One of the most prominent features of the cabin is the ‘cockpit’ area surrounding the driver. The graphical user interface (GUI) of the cockpit flows out of the driver-side door and wraps around the steering wheel in a seamless arc. This merges the instrument cluster directly with the audio-visual display at the center of the dashboard and is linked to the display integrated within the surface of the steering wheel itself.
The GUI is operated by artificial intelligence technologies, displaying useful information about the car various autonomous driving, powertrain and navigation features.