When Kia’s $55,000 car won’t have an electric battery, it will be electric in the back seat

Kia Motors America announced Wednesday that it will start selling the automaker’s first electric vehicle, the Kia Optima, later this year.

Kia said it expects to sell about 4,500 of the vehicles a month by the end of this year, with the rest being sold in Europe.

“We have made significant progress in the development of the Optima and its electric capabilities,” Kia CEO Carlos Ghosn said in a statement.

“We expect to deliver the vehicle in the first half of 2019.”

The car’s battery packs, the first to use solar technology, are designed to be compatible with Kia Solar Connect, the company’s plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

That includes the Optimas lithium-ion batteries and the Opti-Amps, a pair of lithium-polymer batteries that were released earlier this year and are the same size as those in the Optias’ gas-electric hybrid cars.

Kia will begin offering the Optimalis in the U.S. later this summer.

Kias main competitors include Tesla Motors, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota.

Kias solar-powered Optima.

Photo via Kia.

Kis solar-electric Optima sedan, which will be available with a range of 150 miles.

Photo by Kia in Europe, via Tesla Motors.

“While we are working closely with our suppliers to ensure our partners can deliver the Optimeas as efficiently as possible, we will be taking the Optimoas to dealerships to make sure they are ready for sale,” Ghosne said.

“As we continue to accelerate the rollout of the Kias new solar technologies, we are also looking to deliver new Optimapas in the coming months.”

The Optima is one of three new Kia vehicles to be announced this year that will have a solar panel in the front seat.

The other two are the Kies and the Kiso.

Both are designed for electric vehicles but have battery packs designed to meet the Tesla Model 3’s powertrain specs.

Kios first Optima was unveiled at the New York Auto Show in October.

It will be priced at $70,000.