Kia's EV Day Unveils EV3 and EV4 Concepts, EV5 Production Model

Kevin Williams
by Kevin Williams

Kia showed off three new EVs, but it’s not clear if the most production-ready one will head our way.

Kia flew a gaggle of international car journalists, including more than a few from North America, to South Korea for its event called “EV Day.” Unfortunately, we didn’t get the memo, but the photos and information are out; the Kia EV3, EV4 and EV5 are the next steps in Kia’s electrification journey.

Kia EV3

Starting off is the smallest of the three – the Kia EV3 Concept. This bulldog-like small crossover is near the bottom of Kia’s electrified lineup, slotting under the compact EV5 crossover. Think, Kia Soul-sized, albeit with far different styling. Given the name and sizing of the EV3, it’s meant to be a budget offering, and would likely serve as one of the cheapest EVs from the brand if it makes its way to North America.

The EV3 is satisfyingly funky inside and out. The front and rear fascias are sleeker variations o f the same themes we’ve seen on the EV9. The side surfacing is delightfully chunky, complete with grey plastic that gives the EV3 a bit of attitude. The interior is cool too, the center console table is made of a mushroom-based material; this bio-hacking natural material idea is will be present in other Kia EV concepts. As a whole, the cabin is light and airy. The long gauge cluster and the infotainment screen are thin, and the cabin is adorned with a light-colored tweed material that looks both futuristic and inviting. We hope the production model stays true to this design.

Kia EV4

Thankfully, Kia hasn’t given up on sedans. The EV4 is distinctly a car-shaped EV, not a crossover. It’s long, somewhat low, and supposed to “shift the paradigm of sedan typology,” whatever that means. It’s sleek, and stylish, and it offers a rear hatch liftgate, unlike the sedan body of its Hyundai Ioniq 6 sister model. Like the EV3, the EV4 features a bright and airy interior with materials essentially grown from natural sources.

Interestingly, the EV3, EV4, and EV5 will all use the E-GMP platform in use by the EV9 and EV6, but it won’t have the 800-volt features. Kia insists the 400-volt architecture is enough, and will keep costs down for these models.

Kia EV5

We’ve already reported on the EV5 before, but Kia’s finally released more concrete specifications for the model. It’s a little more complicated than a cut-down, restyled Kia EV9. Although they’re both on the same E-GMP platform, the Kia EV5 is actually front-wheel-drive based in single motor form. Kia says the EV5 will come in 214-horsepower single-motor (FWD) form, or 308-horsepower dual-motor AWD guise, with batteries ranging from 64 to 88 kWh. It’s clearly a production-ready design, it’s boxy body would could finally be a credible competitor to cars like the Tesla Model Y.

Here’s the thing though, it’s not clear if the model is headed here. Several sources at the event said that Kia’s representatives initially confirmed that the EV5 was headed to America. Later, Kia reneged somewhat and said the model was “under consideration,” for North America, and was candid that the Inflation Reduction Act may make the EV5 less attractive. Kia said it doesn’t have any plans to make the EV5 in Georgia alongside the EV9, so it would be imported from South Korea. If it does make it to “America,” and it sounds like a very big “if”, it may just end up in Canada or Mexico, skipping the United States entirely. No matter what happens, the EV5 won’t show up on this side of the world until 2025.

If the EV5 skipped Canada and the United States, it would be a real fumble on Kia’s part. The EV5’s chunky two-box unmistakably SUV styling would be a breath of fresh air for EV buyers in search of crossovers that actually look like crossovers. Kia bills its EV6 as a crossover, but it is long and low-slung, not all that convincing compared to the EV5. Likewise, although the EV9 looks to be a great product, the EV9’s physical size and third row may limit the appeal for EV buyers who don’t want something so family-oriented. If the EV5 could match the Tesla Model Y in price and content, Kia could have a real hit on its hands.

It seems like all three concepts are in the air for US and Canadian consumption, but we don’t think Kia would fly North American journalists all the way to South Korea for nothing. At least one of these concepts will likely make its way to US and Canadian roads very soon.

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Kevin Williams
Kevin Williams

Kevin has been obsessed with cars ever since he could talk. He even learned to read partially by learning and reading the makes and models on the back of cars, only fueling his obsession. Today, he is an automotive journalist and member of the Automotive Press Association. He is well-versed in electrification, hybrid cars, and vehicle maintenance.

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