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Kia Forte to go electric in China, report says

There will also be a plug-in hybrid version, but it's not clear whether the powertrains will reach the US.

2020 Kia Forte GT
The latest tweaks to the Forte saw some Stinger-inspired style reach the compact car.

The Kia Forte is due for an overhaul soon, especially since its corporate cousin, the 2021 Hyundai Elantra, will land later this year. Could Kia have bigger plans in store outside of the traditional internal-combustion engine? China may hold some clues.

According to a report from Chinese website Autohome, Kia plans to reveal an electric version of the K3 locally this summer, which we know as the Forte here. The tiny electric Kia sedan should sport a driving range just over 300 miles, but that's on the super liberal and outdated New European Driving Range cycle. If the car were to land in the US, a range in the lower 200-mile area would be realistic on the EPA cycle. Reportedly, this car will use a 56.5 kilowatt-hour battery and make 181 horsepower.

A plug-in hybrid variant is also reportedly in the pipeline for China and it should share a lot of its running gear with the Niro we know well.

Kia told Roadshow it's not ready to share details on the US-market Forte at this time, so we'll just need to remain patient.

But, when it does arrive, it seems like a safe bet that we'll see some sort of hybrid technology applied. After all, the new Elantra will come with a hybrid powertrain for the first time, and of the group, it's shaping up to be the sportiest with a dual-clutch transmission rather than a CVT.

Even if we don't see an electric Forte, we're getting electric Kias. The company previously outlined its future strategy and said the first EV for the US will arrive in 2021. Beyond that, Kia has another 10 electric cars coming by 2025 and hopes to sell 500,000 EVs globally come 2026.

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