Update: ‘Release date’ section updated.
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 could take the form of a Forte-sized model and be launched as the “Kia EV3,” according to South Korean reports. Here are the details:
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.
The new Kia electric sedan should either use the Hyundai Motor Group’s Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) or the eM platform, which is its evolution. The EV should have a streamlined design and special aerodynamic measures that make it more aerodynamically efficient than the Forte or Sonata. It’s still early to predict specifications, but we think 325 miles of EPA-est. range should be easily achievable, considering where HMG’s current technology stands. 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 EV3 GT could also be on the horizon, featuring a dual-motor setup and customized vehicle settings to cater to driving enthusiasts.
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, which reports say will be a crossover smaller than the EV6, could be launched as the Kia EV4 in 2024.
According to a Hankyung report published on May 29, 2023, AutoLand Gwangmyeong Plant 2 will start making EVs in June 2024. It doesn’t say whether the first model will be the Kia CT or Kia SV, but previous reports indicate the latter has a stronger chance. However, the Kia CT may also join the production line later next year. Kia’s official product roadmap confirms that the Koreans plans to unveil one electric car, which could be a sedan, and one electric SUV, in 2024.
The Kia CT 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.
There’s no word on the U.S. launch of the Kia EV3, but we think it could happen by early 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)
The new Kia electric sedan 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 design 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: YouTube/Kia Worldwide