The new direction, unveiled in January, targets a mass ramp-up of EVs through 2025 and a rapid expansion into what the company calls purpose-built vehicles, or PBVs. These are runabouts dedicated to new mobility enterprises such as ride-hailing, robotaxis and on-the-go e-commerce.
The markets for these next-generation businesses are still in their infancy. But Kia says it is making a "preemptive transition."
"We have to prepare ourselves with advanced countermeasures for all these," Song said.
The cost of all that preparation: $25 billion in new investments through 2025.
Song said the rush of EVs will help Kia reach a different, more upmarket target customer.
"We will try to set up our new customer target together with our brand relaunch," he said.
Under Plan S, Kia will build an EV lineup of 11 models by 2025, and it will have seven EV-only products by 2027. Kia plans to sell 500,000 battery-electric vehicles by 2026, and move another 500,000 hybrids, plug-in hybrids and other eco-friendly offerings in that time frame.
In doing so, Kia wants EVs to generate 20 percent of its worldwide sales by 2025 and a quarter in 2029. Kia's first dedicated EV will be delivered next year. It will be built on a new Electric-Global Modular Platform, or E-GMP, shared with Hyundai.
Song said Kia's EVs will achieve price parity with internal-combustion vehicles as early as 2025, if the total cost of ownership is taken into account. That means adjusting for higher fuel and maintenance costs in traditional gasoline-powered cars.
Kia sees brisk growth in PBVs, thanks to the expansion of new mobility businesses. Today, Song reckons, PBVs account for just 5 percent of global vehicle demand. But that is expected to swell to 25 percent in 2030. Key to Kia's strategy is branching into mobility hubs.
These centerpieces of tomorrow's PBV traffic are envisioned as urban transfer stations where commuters from the suburbs switch to electrified new mobility vehicles from their old-school, gasoline-burning ones. Long term, Kia plans to operate robotaxis and on-demand roboshuttles from these mobility hubs.