Update: ‘Production’ section added.
Kia plans to launch several electric SUVs following the Kia EV6. As per a report from Auto Express filed in August 2021, a compact model called the Kia EV4 developed for Europe is in the pipeline. An EVx SUV refers to the dedicated electric vehicle and not a conversion BEV such as the Niro EV or Soul EV.
The Kia EV4 could offer the space levels of a Sportage. Thanks to the E-GMP, the former won’t need the dimensions of a combustion model to offer the same interior space. For reference, the new Sportage is 177.8 in./183.5 in. long, 73.4 in. wide, and 65.4 in. tall, and its wheelbase measures 105.5 in./108.5 in. The 114.2-inch-long EV6 has the same wheelbase as the flagship Telluride – 114.2 inches.
The E-GMP platform enables a high system voltage of 800 volts, double the usual (400 volts). So, customers can rapidly charge their E-GMP-based EVs at up to 350 kW. In the EV6, which is available with 58.0 kWh and 77.4 kWh battery pack options, charging from 10 to 80% SoC takes less than 18 minutes. Just five minutes of charging can provide a range of nearly 70 miles. The EV4 could get the battery of the EV6, and comfortably deliver a range of around 300 miles.
The Kia EV4 will likely have an Integrated Charging Control Unit (ICCU) that enables a vehicle-to-load (V2L) function. V2L allows offloading power to external equipment like domestic appliances, power tools, and electronic devices at the campsite or worksite. A vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) charging function would be possible, meaning customers can rescue charge-depleted EVs using the EV4’s battery pack.
Kia should equip the EV4 with a heat pump that reuses waste heat energy from the battery, power electronics, and other propulsion components to keep the cabin warm in cold weather without compromising range and help the battery charge quicker by maintaining its temperature during winters.
The EV4 will likely get i-Pedal, which is Kia’s branding for the one-pedal driving mode. i-Pedal would allow for recuperating maximum energy from braking. Not needing to push the brake pedal would make driving more convenient and reduce brake wear.
Showcasing the Concept EV9 at the LA Auto Show in November 2021, Kia offered a glimpse of how the interiors of its future EVs would feature an eco-friendly design and use sustainable materials. The EV9 Concept electric SUV uses recycled fishnets for flooring. The seating fabric is made of recycled plastic bottles and wool fibers. Vegan leather is used throughout the interior, and gradually, Kia plans to reduce the use of animal leather in all vehicles. This ecological approach from Kia is something that even the Kia EV4 could benefit from.
Kia may use two seamless displays in the cockpit of the EV4. They could be 10.25-inch screens or 12.3-inch high-definition screens wrapped around one body with reinforced glass. The left-side panel would be the instrument cluster, and the right-side unit would be the central display that combines the navigation, infotainment, and menu systems, running Kia Connect.
The EV4 could feature an advanced head-up display with Augmented Reality (AR) technology. The AR-HUD system projects 3D images of the key driving information like speed, navigation directions, and ADAS data onto the windshield. One can also expect a premium Meridian audio system.
According to reports in the South Korean media, the upcoming Kia electric SUV, slotting below the Kia EV6, will be manufactured at the AutoLand Gwangmyeong production facility in South Korea. AutoLand Gwangmyeong houses two factories: Plant 1 and Plant 2. The EV9 is made at Plant 1, while the new electric SUV positioned below the EV6 will be manufactured at Plant 2.
TopElectricSUV.com has seen a regulatory disclosure dated May 31, 2023, in which Kia confirms it will convert AutoLand Gwangmyeong Plant 2 into a dedicated EV factory. The company said it will suspend production from June 1, 2023, till December 31, 2023, to make the necessary changes. AutoLand Gwangmyeong Plant 2 was responsible for the Rio hatchback and Stonic. The latter will reportedly go to contract manufacturer Donghee Auto, while the fate of the former is unclear.
AutoLand Gwangmyeong Plant 2 will manufacture two EVs. The production of the first model, which almost certainly will be the Euro-focused electric SUV covered in this story, reportedly begins in June 2024. As for the second, there are different rumors. Some say it’ll be a sedan, while others claim that it’s another SUV.
From 2025, the European markets will likely get the new SUV positioned below the EV6 from Kia’s plant in Žilina, Slovakia. Kia has confirmed that it will manufacture small and mid-sized EVs in the Slovakia factory from 2025.
According to the Auto Express report, the Kia EV4 may go on sale in 2023. However, Automotive News, in a story filed on August 21, 2022, says that the EV4 is expected in late 2024. The company has penciled in one new electric SUV for 2024, as per the product plan revealed last year, which is most likely referring to the EV4. We don’t anticipate the compact SUV coming out later this year, as the only new Kia EVs for 2023 are the EV9 and EV5.
The EV4 will belong to the same vehicle segment as the Mercedes EQA and Volvo C40. Expected to carry a premium price over the Niro EV, it could compete with these luxury models as its budget alternative. Kia has said that every model in the EV series line will receive a GT variant, which opens the door for a future performance compact electric SUV like the Kia EV4 GT.
Kia EV strategy
Kia plans to build an EV line-up of 14 models by 2027, CEO Ho Sung Song said at the 2022 CEO Investor Day on March 3, 2022. In his presentation for the event, he revealed that 8 of these models would be SUVs. The first of the 8 Kia electric SUVs available in the market by 2027 came out in 2021: the Kia EV6. In 2022, the company launched the 2023 Kia Niro EV. This year there will be two electric SUV launches, including the Kia EV9 and the Kia EV5.
Another development revealed at the 2022 CEO Investor Day that could be relevant to the EV4 through its lifecycle was that Kia will replace its current third-gen battery technology with the fourth-gen battery technology by 2025. By 2030, it will switch to fifth-gen battery technology. Between now and 2030, it aims to reduce the cost of battery packs by 40% and increase their energy density by 50%. The company is working on making software an even more integral element of its EVs and concurrently expanding the scope of OTA updates for technical changes after delivery.
Kia America EV strategy
Kia America plans to gradually expand its EV portfolio and the share of EVs in its sales. Eric Watson, Vice President – Sales Operations, Kia America, said that the company will launch one new EV every year until the end of the decade, Automotive News reported on June 17, 2022.
Eight EVs will be present in the Kia U.S. line-up by 2029, including the EV6 that went on sale in February 2022, the 2023 Niro EV arriving in fall 2022, and the EV9 due in H2 2023. Watson said that Kia America wants EVs to constitute 30% of sales by the end of the decade and then increase their share to 50% in the early 2030s.
Being more expensive, and bigger than a compact SUV, the Kia EV6 leaves room for a high-riding model that’s smaller, economical, but one with advanced features. This is where the Kia EV4 may come into play, offering young European family car buyers a no-compromise budget EV.
Kia EV4 FAQs
What is the Kia EV4?
It is expected as a compact SUV and to play the role of a budget alternative to the Mercedes EQA and Volvo C40, targeting Europe.
What is the expected Kia EV4 release date?
Looks like Kia is planning the EV4 for 2024. It has confirmed one new electric SUV launch for next year.
What is the expected Kia EV4 price?
Kia could place the EV4 at sub-40,000 GBP levels in the UK. It is unclear if the EV4 will be sold in the United States.
Featured Image Source: Kia