“Kia EV Day”: World premiere of the EV5 and two EV studies

Korean carmaker Kia has unveiled a new electric model and two concept studies at "Kia EV Day," all positioned below the familiar EV6. Kia's global electric vehicle strategy now includes the growth of its charging infrastructure.

Image: Kia

The three new electric cars are small to medium-sized vehicles. The production model is the EV5, for which the design is already known – but not yet the technical data. New are the Concept EV3 as a preview of an electric compact SUV and the Concept EV4 for a mid-size electric sedan. With the EV5 and the following models EV3 and EV4, Kia wants to cover the electric car market at prices between 35,000 and 50,000 US dollars.

Let’s look first at the EV5, which will be built in both China and South Korea – in slightly different versions. However, both versions are based on the E-GMP, i.e. Hyundai-Kia’s 800-volt platform.

Three variants are announced for China: The “standard” model has a 64 kWh battery and a 160 kW drive on the front axle, which should result in a range of up to 530 kilometres in the CTLC standard test. The “Long Range” has an 88 kW battery and the same 160 kW motor for 720 kilometres in the Chinese test cycle. And there is a “Long Range” with all-wheel drive, with 230 kW system power and 650 CLTC kilometres.

Kia says three variants “are in development, with potential adjustments being considered.” The 58 kWh battery known from the EV6 will be installed in the standard version, combined with 160 kW on the front axle. For the Long Range and Long Range AWD, on the other hand, the battery will have an energy content of 81 kWh. The 160 kW motor on the front axle is supplemented by a 70 kW motor on the rear axle, which should result in 225 kW. The performance data is similar to other E-GMP models. Only there, the more powerful electric motor sits on the rear axle, and the 70 kW unit is additionally installed on the front axle. With the EV5, however, Kia has opted for front-wheel drive as the basis. Later, there will also be a particularly powerful Kia EV5 GT, but the carmaker has yet to give more details.

Kia has not yet given any information on charging performance – at least not for the Korean model. For the China version, a charging time of 27 minutes is mentioned to charge from 30 to 80 per cent. That would be very slow compared to the previously known charging rates with the 800-volt system. That raises the question as to whether the EV5 is based on a 400-volt version of the E-GMP, but Kia has not mentioned this so far. With a 400-volt system, the ten to 80 per cent in 18 minutes known from the previous models would not be possible, but the vehicle could be offered at a much lower price.

However, Kia announced that it plans to expand the V2L function (external devices can be operated with electricity from the battery) into a full vehicle-to-grid system (V2G). In introducing V2G, Kia will focus on regions with the necessary infrastructure to feed battery energy into the grid.

The EV5 will also have a heat pump. Kia says the battery has been designed “to function effectively throughout all four seasons, even in extreme hot and cold weather.” Especially the cold weather characteristics were a point of criticism with the first E-GMP models.

With the Concept EV3, Kia “aims to deliver the Kia EV9’s benefits in a compact SUV.” Thus, like the EV9 and the EV5, the study has a somewhat angular design that has become distinctive for electric Kias. The only difference is that Kia already has an electric compact crossover in its range with the Niro EV. Whether the production version of the Concept EV3 will complement or replace the Niro is not mentioned.

Despite the same segment, there are some differences. Since the Concept EV3 is based on an all-electric platform with the E-GMP, it does not have to consider the combustion engine components necessary for the HEV and PHEV versions of the Niro. The front of the Concept EV3 is thus shorter, and the windscreen has been pushed further forward. This results in more space inside with the same exterior dimensions. Kia speaks of “exceptional practicality with transformative cabin ambience and design.”

However, technical data on the study – also as a comparison to the EV5 and Niro EV – are not mentioned. A battery with 58 to 64 kWh and 160 kW of power will likely be the minimum, given the portfolio already available today and the new Kona electric from Hyundai.

With the Concept EV4, Kia is also venturing into the mid-size sedan segment. However, the model is not only supposed to be the Kia version of the Hyundai Ioniq 6, but with the “potent and impactful lines”, it makes clear that it is “another sedan, but an entirely new type of EV sedan that stands as a symbol of innovation.” But again, there is no specific data on the powertrain. With the Ioniq 6, Hyundai has shown what is possible in a saloon based on the E-GMP. Whether Kia will adopt or possibly vary the concept (see front-wheel drive from the EV5) is unknown.

What is clear, however, is that other parts of the electric strategy will be expanded. Kia is now committed to “actively expanding global charging networks” to “help address the ongoing challenge of reliable and available charging infrastructure.” Kia is referring to its recent announcement that it will use Tesla’s NACS charging system in North America. However, it actively contributes to the expansion through the North American manufacturer alliance with six partners (the goal is 30,000 fast-charging stations by 2030) and its participation in Ionity in Europe.

The “customer journey” will also be adapted in the electric world, “thus ensuring the adoption of EVs is as convenient and effortless as possible.” The new “Kia App” with a release date in the first half of 2024 and various initiatives for the offline customer experience will contribute to this.

“The EV market is expanding from one catering to the smaller early-adopter group to a more broader mass majority of customers,” says Spencer Cho, Head of Global Business Planning Sub-Division at Kia. “As a leader in the great EV transition, we have quickly expanded our EV line-up beyond the EV6 and EV9 to include a variety of small- and medium-sized models such as the EV5. Our competitive, growing EV line-up will accelerate the popularization of electric vehicles and provide consumers with more options from which to choose.”

Incidentally, Kia now plans to hold an “EV Day” every year, showcasing new electric models, studies and pioneering technologies. In addition, the event will be used as a platform to “future EV strategy and […] commitment to accelerating the worldwide transition to EVs.”

kianewscenter.com, kianewscenter.com (EV3 and EV4)


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