Forte-like Electric sedan to be released as the Kia EV4 in late-2024

  • Will be a dedicated compact electric sedan like Toyota's China-only bZ3
  • Could deliver an EPA-est. range of 325+ miles
  • To be launched in S.Korea late next year; Could reach the U.S. in 2025
  • Media report says that it will be manufactured in South Korea

Update: ‘Interior’ section added.

Kia plans to expand its EV line-up to 15 models by 2027. Most of these electric vehicles will be SUVs, though at least three are expected to be low-roof models, including two sedans. The first of Kia’s future electric sedan models is to be launched as the Kia EV4 in 2024. Here are the details:

Background

New Kia EV product pipeline
The Kia CT, branded as the Kia EV4, will be one of 15 EVs Kia plans to have in its global line-up by 2027. Image Source: Kia

On February 24, 2023, Asia Economy published an exclusive piece stating that a new Kia electric sedan codenamed ‘Kia CT’ is on the roadmap. The Kia CT will be a semi-midsize model by South Korean classification, comparable to the Hyundai Avante and Kia K3, the report said.

For those unfamiliar with the global auto scene, Avante and K3 are the names of Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte in Asian markets. In China, customers today can buy Kia’s compact sedan as an EV. However, while the K3 EV is a China-only offering, the Kia CT will have global aspirations.

Design

The Kia EV4 will have different proportions as compared to gas-powered Kia sedans. Kia presented its electric sedan as a concept at the Kia EV Day, held in S.Korea on October 12, 2023. Based on the concept, we’ve constructed the production model with realistic elements.

Kia EV4 grey production electric sedan render
The Kia EV4 will be designed to look different from the company’s gas-powered models, but will have the same DNA as the EV9 and EV6, as shown in our exclusive rendering.

The production EV4 is expected to feature a strong, muscular appearance, with a robust hood and a curvy nose. Kia designers have adopted unique LED signatures for every EVx product, with a vertical arrangement for the sedan. The softly sloping roofline will meet a raked D-Pillar to create a sporty greenhouse.

The sedan will have ample ground clearance, and the production car is expected to have an aero-optimized wheel option. Overall, its sleek low nose and long-tail silhouette will give it a distinct look, different from the three-box designs of today.

Interior

We expect the Kia EV4 to feature an upscale interior with a light color scheme, multi-color mood lighting, a sleek dashboard, and a floating center console. Based on a bespoke EV platform, it will likely have a flat floor that increases storage space in the front of the cabin and passenger space in the back. Kia may not use animal leather anywhere in the cabin and may deploy sustainable materials like recycled PET fabric and Bio-PU leather coverings instead.

The EV4 should have a compact steering wheel with a manually adjustable tilt and telescopic column, push-back buttons, and toggle switches. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 5-inch climate control touchscreen, and a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen will likely be paired to look like one seamless ultra-wide panel behind the steering wheel. Further back, there could be a head-up display, available as an individual option or as part of a package.

Kia EV4 sedan interior (concept)
Soft mood lighting, environmentally friendly materials, and clean shapes and dashboard surfaces are sure to be incorporated in the EV4’s interior. Pictured is the Concept EV4. Image: Kia

The three cockpit displays may feature the same user interface for a uniform look and ease of use. The infotainment system will likely include Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto compatibility, and OTA software update support. It could come with touch-operated capacitive home, map, search, setup, media, and favorite buttons built into the dashboard. A knurled scroller should allow the user to conveniently adjust the stereo volume without creating much distraction.

Kia may equip the EV4 with a three-zone climate control system that features push-up/down switches to adjust the temperature, increase or decrease fan speed, change the direction of airflow, and turn it on or off. These switches would be in addition to the aforementioned 5-inch touchscreen sandwiched between the instrument cluster and infotainment system.

Specifications

The new Kia electric sedan will use the Hyundai Motor Group’s Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). While it is still early to predict specifications, it has been confirmed that the EV4 will use a front-wheel drive layout of the E-GMP, which was introduced in the EV5.

“The development of the EV5, EV4, and EV3 based on FWD is aimed at implementing electric vehicles at the right cost because the price barrier must be lowered to popularize electric vehicles,” said Cho Sang-woon, Kia’s Global Business Planning Division Executive Director, at the 2023 Kia EV Day in October 2023 (translated via Danawa).

Similar to the SUV, the EV4 could use a 64 kWh battery pack and a ~160 kW motor in the base variant. The long-range model could use a larger 88 kWh battery and the same ~160 kW motor, whereas the performance-oriented GT-Line could develop around ~230 kW from its dual-motor system.

We think 325 miles of EPA-est. range should be easily achievable in the long-range variant. We expect the Kia electric sedan to feature ultra-fast charging (10 to 80% SoC in around 20 minutes), Plug & Charge support, and bidirectional charging. The Kia EV4 GT could also be on the horizon, featuring a beefier dual-motor setup and customized vehicle settings to cater to driving enthusiasts.

Manufacturing

Production of the Kia CT sedan will take place at AutoLand Gwangmyeong, in Plant 2. Kia shut down Plant 2 on June 1, 2023, and it will stay closed till December 31, 2023. Previously home to the Rio hatchback and Stonic, Plant 2 is undergoing upgrades to be a dedicated EV factory. In the future, it will roll out two EVs: Kia CT and Kia SV. The latter, a crossover smaller than the EV6, would be launched as the Kia EV3 in 2024.

U.S. production

The Kia EV4 could be made in the U.S. as well, eventually. Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) is making huge investments for EVs in the region, as the American government is forcing automakers to adopt localization measures if they want to reap the benefits of its Clean Vehicle Credit program. The Kia Autoland Georgia (KaGA) factory or the upcoming Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America (HMGMA) plant will make future EVs from HMG.

U.S.-built HMG EVs will consist of battery packs and cells produced locally. HMG is coming up with two cell production factories, one in a joint venture with SK On and one in a joint venture with LG Energy Solution, both 50:50 owned, in 2025. Hyundai Mobis will assemble battery packs using the cells made at these plants and supply them to HMG’s vehicle plants in the U.S.

Release date

Kia will launch the EV4 in S.Korea in the end of 2024, as confirmed by Kia Motors CEO Ho Sung Song, at the 2023 Kia EV Day.

Kia EV4 white production electric sedan rendering
The “agile and dynamic machine” Karim Habib, Head of Kia Global Design Center, teased during the Kia brand showcase event on January 15, 2021, was likely the Kia CT.

There’s no word on the U.S. launch of the Kia EV4, but we think it could happen by mid-2025. Kia will likely ensure the electric sedan stays accessible for it to sell in reasonable volumes. We’re expecting the price to fall between USD 35,000-45,000.

During Kia’s Q2 2023 earnings conference call on July 27, 2023, CFO Joo Woo-jeong said that the company should focus on increasing market share more than profitability when it comes to EVs, The Korea Herald reported the same day. If needed, it may have to lower prices (of existing EVs), Woo-jeong added. During the conversation, the CFO brought up the upcoming electric sedan:

Releasing the EV9 and EV5 this year, we have a strong point in that we will launch a C-SUV and a sedan next year to set up a full lineup. So we have a competitive edge over other brands who have to face price competition with a few models.

Joo Woo-jeong, CFO, Kia (Q2 2023 earnings conference call on July 27, 2023)

TopElectricSUV says

The Kia EV4 should have the potential to be a solid option for young buyers and small families on the market for a stylish and technologically advanced three-box design at an affordable price point. It certainly can appeal to the segment, and to customers who are bored of SUVs. Kia could configure it as one of the most energy-efficient electric cars in the U.S. market, potentially surpassing the Hyundai Ioniq 6 in this respect.

Featured image: TopElectricSUV’s exclusive rendering of the Kia EV4.