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The Kia Corporation is one automaker looking to revolutionize the auto industry a little at a time. They wowed the auto industry with the release of the Kia Stinger sports car, selling them like hotcakes. Sadly, a candle that burns twice as bright lives half as long, and the Stinger ended with the Tribute Edition in 2023. Slowly becoming an all-electric automaker, Kia has been pretty busy as of late, bringing the Kia EV6 and the Kia EV9 all-electric SUV to the states in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Showing up during 2023 Chinese EV Day was the Kia EV5, followed by the Kia EV4 and EV3. The former is speculated to be a possible reincarnation of the Stinger as a battery-electric vehicle (BEV), and with the latest “Active Air Skirt” (AAS) technology from the Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) and Kia to improve the performance of future BEVs, the speculation could very well be true.
Who said a high-performance BEV was impossible? Lots of people, probably, but Kia is one automaker that intends to prove the nay-sayers wrong. They’ve already made some headway with the EV6, especially the EV6 GT, able to generate 576 horsepower and 545 lb-ft of torque, able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds. That’s muscle car territory, and Kia is gunning for it with its recent BEVs hitting the lineup.
So, what makes this new AAS tech so interesting? Well, not only have HMG and Kia designed it for BEVs, but its core purpose is to improve a vehicle’s aerodynamic efficiency to increase driving range and driving stability at high speeds. What is a greater villain for fast cars than poor aerodynamics, after all? Reducing the coefficient of drag (Cd), or the air resistance acting in the opposite direction of a vehicle’s motion is key to keeping a performance car driving smoothly at high speeds.
Installed between the front bumper and front wheels, the AAS tech is virtually hidden during normal operation, but becomes apparent when the vehicle hits 50+ mph and aerodynamic resistance can become greater than the rolling speed of the wheels. Its placement works around the characteristics of Hyundai Motor Group’s E-GMP platform for BEVs and helps to enhance the downforce of the vehicle, improving its traction and high-speed stability. Tested to keep aerodynamic efficiency high, even at speeds of 125 mph, the AAS tech is durable and will pair well with other technologies HMG and Kia are applying to improve BEVs operating at high speeds, such as rear spoilers, active air flaps, wheel air curtains, wheel gap reducers, and separation traps. Although we’re rooting for a BEV sports car, the Kia lineup is saturated with SUVs, and they may be the first models to benefit from AAS technology.
“This technology is expected to have a greater effect on models such as SUVs where it is difficult to improve aerodynamic performance…We will continue to strive to improve the driving performance and stability of electric vehicles through improvements in aerodynamics.” - Sun Hyung Cho, Vice President and Head of Mobility Body Development Group at Hyundai Motor Group
Another step towards making high-performance BEVs practical and doable, Kia is going to change the way consumers look at BEVs very soon. Want to keep up with Kia and other cool car tech? Follow along with us on NowCar social media.