- Kia debuted three small EVs today, expanding its electric lineup with the EV5, Concept EV3 and Concept EV4.
- As of now, the midsize EV5 SUV is not planned for the U.S. market, which has us scratching our heads.
- While the EV3 and EV4 are still considered concept cars, we have every indication that they are extremely close to final products and will come stateside.
- With these new additions, the Kia EV range will span from roughly $35,000 to $80,000.
Kia Unveils Three New Electric Models, Says EV Lineup Will Start at $35,000
The company showed off the new EV5 along with the Concept EV3 and Concept EV4
Kia just announced plans to greatly expand its all-electric lineup in the near future. We traveled to the company's global headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, for Kia’s first annual EV Day press conference. During the festivities, Kia showcased three new models, the EV5 crossover, Concept EV3 and Concept EV4. These small-to-medium-sized electric cars will target a new demographic and, more importantly, bring down the cost of entry for Kia’s electric lineup.
The EV5 (with one huge caveat)
The most significant debut of the day was the new Kia EV5, a midsize electric SUV that packs the right style and the right size for the U.S. There's just one problem: Kia does not currently have plans to bring it to our market. As of now, Kia plans to build the EV5 in South Korea and China, meaning that any government incentives to bring down the price in the States would be off the table. Apparently, that is enough to scare the automaker away from putting it on sale in the States. Whether or not Kia shifts its plan and tries to build the car domestically could still happen, but we're not counting on it.
Roughly the size of the other popular electric SUVs such as the Volkswagen ID.4 and Ford Mustang Mach-E, the EV5 looks (to our eyes) like a more modern version of the Seltos crossover. It features strong LED light signatures in the front and rear, with some truly wild wheel options that give it a distinct flavor.
The EV5 is built on Kia’s E-GMP platform that is capable of 800-volt architecture, which is nerd speak for “it can charge very quickly.” In a move that likely has to do with trying to keep costs low, the EV5 instead uses a 400-volt rail, and that has a negative impact on its maximum charging speed. Kia says you can expect to charge from 30% to 80% capacity in roughly 27 minutes. That’s quite a bit slower than what the EV6 can do: 10% to 80% in 18 minutes.
In South Korea, the EV5 will offer two battery sizes, likely 58 kWh to start and a bigger 81-kWh pack for long-range models. An entry-level single-motor version should deliver roughly 215 horsepower, while a more powerful dual-motor variant (with all-wheel drive) could have up to 308 hp. The EV5 will also be the first E-GMP car to offer front-wheel drive.
The “concept” EV3 and EV4
At the risk of being snarky, it’s hard to believe that these two models are pie-in-the-sky concept cars. Kia has a track record of making cars close to production-ready and labeling them as concepts, but the reality is that the EV3 and EV4 will very likely look just like this when they go on sale. And it was confirmed to us by multiple sources within the company that — unlike the EV5 — the production versions of the EV3 and EV4 will be slated for the American market.
Kia Concept EV4
The Concept EV3 makes one big promise right off the bat. Kia says it will cost roughly $35,000 to start — and like the EV5, if the automaker can accommodate building it domestically that could mean a starting price south of 30 grand with government incentives. Affordability is a major concern with electric cars, and the EV3 could be a remedy.
Kia was shy with details on this car, but the design alone offers plenty to discuss. It resembles the Volvo EX30 both in terms of size and futuristic styling. The wheels are impossible to ignore, especially surrounded by the blocky body cladding. The cabin is full of fun details like climate controls that slide into the dash when you’re not using them and a center console table that changes its angle for multiple uses.
Kia Concept EV3
If the EV3 just looks too normal for you, then Kia has a solution for that in the form of the Concept EV4. Kia says this is its attempt to rethink the traditional sedan, and the result is one of the strangest-looking cars we’ve seen in years. Its short and wide front end looks sleek in the metal, but the side profile is downright bonkers — including the wheels with their ornate triangle design. This car could be the electric Stinger reincarnation we didn’t know we needed, and whether or not it will catch the attention of shoppers is anyone’s guess.
We’ll save you from speculation on powertrains for the the two concepts, but it’s reasonable to assume they are both underpinned by the E-GMP platform and its modular battery packs. Following the recipe of other Kia models with single- and dual-motor options and various power and range figures is more than likely. We expect to see these concepts in their full production forms as early as next year.
Kia Concept EV4 interior
Kia believes that the two biggest barriers preventing people from buying EVs at the moment are price and public charging. While the latter is coming together much slower than we’d like, the three cars announced today bring Kia’s electric lineup down in price. That said, we're still unclear why the EV5 isn't planned for our market. It seems like the right size to do big things.