Update: ‘Design’ section updated.
Kia plans to launch 8 electric SUVs following the EV6. While the EV9 is just out of the pipeline, the next launch is the Kia EV3, which will be introduced next year. An EVx SUV refers to the dedicated electric vehicle and not a conversion BEV such as the Niro EV or Soul EV.
Further details have now come to the surface in what is likely to be Kia’s most significant launch in 2024. Here’s what we know about the new Kia EV3.
Prototypes spotted in S.Korea, Europe, and the U.S.
Early spy shots of camouflaged prototypes from the S.Korean portals suggest the Kia EV3 will have a funky and futuristic exterior design, with a flattish roofline. The silhouette reminds us a bit of the Niro EV, but it looks sharper and boxier. Vertical daytime running lights, chunky five-spoke alloy wheels, a clean tailgate, vertical rear lights, a shark-fin antenna, and conventional side mirrors, are the exterior features observed on the production-oriented model.
Kia has recently started testing the EV3 in Europe. The wheels on the Euro-spec prototype look designed specially for EVs, and similar to the 20-inch units of the EV9, feature a triangular cover. The engineering prototype wasn’t equipped with a panoramic sunroof, but we’re certain that Kia will provide this feature upon the model’s launch.
Unlike the Niro and Sportage compact SUVs, the EV3 will likely have rear door handles integrated into the C-pillar. On September 6, 2023, X user ray4tesla shared spy shots suggesting that Kia has started testing EV3 prototypes in the U.S. as well. The test car spotted in the U.S. also revealed that the EV3 has flush-fitted front door handles, and like the Euro-spec prototype, it featured pillar-mounted rear door handles.
The EV3 will have C-Shaped LED light signatures which extend into the fenders, making it look quite unique from the EV9. From what we can tell, the EV3 will appeal to customers who prefer offbeat designs, as opposed to say, the Jeep Avenger EV. We aren’t implying that it’ll be a small SUV, though. Positioned within the same size category as the Niro EV, it would be differentiated by higher performance, longer range, shorter charging times, more space, and added comfort, connectivity, and convenience features.
The Kia EV3 will look “very close” to the Kia Concept EV3, Karim Habib, Executive Vice President, and Head of Kia Global Design Center, has confirmed, Autoblog stated in a report on October 12, 2023. The rear-hinged doors won’t be making it to the road-ready model, though, just as expected.
Habib said we will see suicide doors on a production Kia “one day” and we think he could be referring to a different, higher-segment model scheduled for release in the second half of the decade. The EV3 is supposed to be easy to manufacture and bear an affordable price tag, so, even though Kia is quite daring, it cannot afford to put fancy features of that sort on it. We think could be contemplating coach doors for a potential electric alternative to the Kia K8 large sedan.
The Kia EV3 should feature a modern interior with a minimalist theme. Similarities with the Niro EV and EV6 could include a sleek dashboard with freestanding but combined dual displays, a two-spoke steering wheel, slim AC vents, and a compact climate control system with almost all the functions operated via capacitive touch buttons.
Spy pictures have shown the EV3 featuring curvy front seats with bolsters designed to look like they wrap elegantly around the driver and passenger. The EV3 should offer more comfort in the rear than the Niro, as it seems to have more legroom, reclining seats, and a flat floor. Additionally, Kia has confirmed folding bench-type rear seat which can be folded upwards which will help drivers carry heavier items like kick scooters or bicycles.
The Kia EV3 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 EV3 could get the battery of the EV6, and comfortably deliver a range of around 300 miles.
On July 25, 2023, ET News published a report saying Kia will launch a small electric SUV codenamed ‘SV,’ which we think is the EV3. SV will be the smallest SUV based on the E-GMP and have a large-capacity battery pack and a high-efficiency, integrated thermal management system for a long driving range, as per the report.
The Kia EV3 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 EV3’s battery pack.
Kia should equip the EV3 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 EV3 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 EV3 could benefit from.
Kia may use two seamless displays in the cockpit of the EV3. 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 EV3 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.
Kia has confirmed that it will integrate generative AI technology into the EV3. Collaborating with leading generative AI model providers, Kia will use generative AI for schedule coordination, EV route optimization for efficiency, trip organization, on-the-go entertainment, and crucial emergency assistance – through interactions with the AI assistant.
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, it’s expected to be a Forte-like electric sedan, wearing the Kia EV3 nameplate.
From 2025, the European markets will likely source 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.
Kia has confirmed that the EV3 SUV will be released next year.
Generative AI technology will debut in the 2024 EV3 model, with subsequent integration into the EV4 and EV5, and continuous enhancements via over-the-air updates.Kia Corporation on October 12, 2023
The report ET News released on July 25, 2023, stated that the Kia SV, which is likely the internal codename of the Kia EV3, will be launched in H2 2024, further narrowing down the release date. ET News indicated in its report that Kia will conduct performance tests for the series production of a new thermal management system to be used in the EV3 in Q2 2024.
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, via The Korea Herald)
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 EV3 GT.
Kia EV strategy
Kia plans to build an EV line-up of 15 models globally by 2027, CEO Ho Sung Song said at the 2023 CEO Investor Day on April 5, 2023. In his presentation for the event, he revealed that 9 of these would be SUVs. The first of the new Kia electric SUVs came out in 2021: the Kia EV6. In 2022, the company launched the 2023 Kia Niro EV. This year will witness two electric SUV launches, including the Kia EV9 and the Kia EV5.
Kia plans to replace its current third-gen battery technology with 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 that arrived 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 EV3 will come into play, offering tech-savvy young buyers a no-compromise budget EV.
Kia EV3 FAQs
What is the Kia EV3?
What is the expected Kia EV3 release date?
Kia is planning the EV3 for 2024. It has confirmed one new electric SUV launch for next year.
What is the expected Kia EV3 price?
Kia could place the EV3 at sub-40,000 GBP levels in the UK. It is unclear if the EV3 will be sold in the United States.
Featured Image Source: Kia