The zero-emissions model, which will take a new nameplate, will sit above the existing e-Niro and Soul EV crossovers. Adding a third, larger model will help Kia reach its goal of a 6.6% global EV market share by 2025.
Pablo Martínez Masip, Kia's product planning chief, describes it as being "as significant in showing our EV capability for the future as the Stinger was for showing how far Kia had progressed when it was launched".
The Korean manufacturer recently announced its plan to launch 11 electric models by 2025 as part of a £19 billion strategy to transform into a maker of electrified vehicles and mobility solutions within the next five years.
Speaking about the 2021 EV, Kia marketing chief Carlos Lahoz said: "This car will have a significant effect on how consumers perceive Kia and its part in future electrification. We want it to demonstrate super-high performance levels but in a package that is different. Today there are lots of A- and B-segment electric cars and many high-end electric cars; we want something different.
"We are not a premium brand, we are a mainstream brand, and we have to be true to that heritage. This car will be a halo and be priced as such, but it will demonstrate that you can get very high performance levels without having to pay the premium prices of, for instance, Tesla, BMW or Mercedes."
The new model will sit on a new bespoke platform, shared with sibling brand Hyundai, which is set to be the basis for a range of more powerful and larger SUVs and saloons in the future.