Kia Corp unveils three small to mid-sized EVs to widen its appeal

By Heekyong Yang

SEOUL (Reuters) -Kia Corp on Thursday unveiled three new small-to-medium sized electric vehicles (EV) to try to attract a wider range of customers and accelerate its electrification drive.

The South Korean automaker said it planned to offer two electric compact sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) – EV5 and EV3 – and an electric sedan – EV4 -, making an all-out push to achieve its sales target of one million EVs by 2026.

Kia said it intended to develop a wide-range of EV models priced from $30,000 to $80,000 and aimed to launch smaller EVs like the EV5, EV4, and EV3 priced from $35,000 to $50,000.

In a presentation to reporters, Kia said it planned to launch the EV5, the third dedicated EV in its line-up after the EV6 and EV9, in South Korea in 2025.

Production of the EV5 will take place in China and South Korea, Kia said, adding it would have different battery types in those two markets.

EV5s sold in China would use lithium-phosphate-iron (LFP) batteries, while those in South Korea would have more expensive nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) batteries, said Kia President Song Ho Sung.

The EV5 in China would have a maximum driving range of 720 kms (447 miles) based on City Light Test Cycle (CLTC) standards, Kia said in a statement, adding the model would offer fast-charging capability, allowing the battery to be charged from 30% to 80% capacity in 27 minutes.

Kia did not disclose the detailed driving range of the EV5 for South Korea, adding it would be tailored to meet market demands.

“The EV market is expanding from one catering to the smaller early-adopter group to a more broader mass majority of customers … Our competitive, growing EV line-up will accelerate the popularization of electric vehicles and provide consumers with more options from which to choose,” said Spencer Cho, head of the Global Business Planning Sub-Division at Kia.

Analysts said Kia’s push to launch more affordable EVs was timely.

“While those early adopters have preferred more expensive premium electric vehicles, as EVs have become more popular among more general public, consumer needs for more affordable EVs have significantly grown,” said Lee Jae-il, an analyst at Eugene Investment & Securities.

(Reporting by Heekyong Yang; Editing by Sharon Singleton and Mark Potter)