The new Kia Tasman ute won’t launch with a hybrid or plug-in hybrid option, even as the ute market is beginning to see more electrified options.

    While Kia globally has confirmed it’s working on an electric ute, its Australian arm has said a hybrid or plug-in hybrid Tasman hasn’t been confirmed.

    “There might be compromises on payloads and towing capacities. We’ve got to study that further, as much as possible,” Kia Australia product planning manager Roland Rivero told CarExpert.

    “The range of usage, whether it’s farming and agricultural, building and construction, et cetera, we’ve got to tick all the main boxes.

    “If we feel at any point that we’ll compromise too much, then there’ll be question marks on whether we proceed with any kind of adjustment.

    “It’s got to hit the mark, it’s got to hit the needs of the customer first and foremost.”

    When asked whether Ford’s plug-in hybrid Ranger had spurred Kia to develop an electrified Tasman, Mr Rivero suggested the Tasman’s expected long lifecycle leaves the door open for various updates.

    “Historically any LCV [light commercial vehicle] has always had a very long, long model life, it’ll be no different for the TK. That’s got an extended model life on the cards,” said Mr Rivero.

    “And through that 10 or so years of model life, there’s plenty of opportunity to tweak and adjust and make sure that its demand is continuous throughout its lifecycle.”

    While Kia hasn’t confirmed a hybrid ute, it does have more than one electric model in the works.

    Kia confirmed in 2022 that globally it was working on two electric utes: “a dedicated electric pickup truck and a strategic model for emerging markets”. The latter could be an electric version of the Tasman.

    Mitsubishi and Nissan have confirmed they’re working on both plug-in hybrid and electric utes, and a couple of recent trademark filings have pointed to new electric Hyundai utes.

    Before any of these arrive, GWM is expected to launch a hybrid version of its new Cannon Alpha ute in Australia, while LDV already has its electric eT60 and has a new electric ute planned for launch this year.

    Isuzu has also revealed an electric version of its D-Max, and Toyota is expected to put an electric HiLux into production.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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