The upcoming new 2024 Kia EV3 small electric SUV has been revealed at last. Well, this is a concept, but it's bound to look a lot like this.
- Small Seltos-sized electric SUV revealed
- Technical details and pricing unclear
- Australian launch not confirmed, but expected
In both cases, much of their concept styling translated fairly faithfully to their final forms (say that five times fast), with little changed but for some smoothed edges and more functional lighting.
When it goes into production next year, the EV3 will join the sedan-like EV4 as Kia's smallest new-generation electric models – which is an odd thing to say, considering the second-generation Niro EV was only unveiled last year.
There's also the Kia Soul EV still available overseas, but this will likely be retired when the EV3 debuts.
As their designs suggest, the EV3 will enter the range as a practical offering with exterior dimensions that belie its interior space, while the EV4 will be targeted at buyers looking for style first, practicality second. (Although, like the EV3, we'd expect its interior space to be surprisingly capacious.)
What does the EV3 mean for the Kia Niro?
What the EV3's launch will mean for the Niro is currently unclear. An early retirement, in some markets if not all? A price repositioning below the EV3? The most likely outcome is that the electric Niro will be dropped, leaving the hybrid and plug-in hybrid EV models to satisfy those segments.
Details, where are the details?
Nope. For now, Kia would like you to focus on design.
No technical details for the EV3 have been offered, although we expect both it and the EV4 to be built on the Hyundai Motor Group's new eM architecture.
This will make the EV3 and EV4 unique even to the still unreleased EV5, which will be built on the existing the E-GMP platform that debuted in 2020.
Models built on the eM platform are expected to be more budget-focused – as far as affordability goes in the EV world – with a lower-voltage 400V or 500V electrical system, rather than the fast-charging 800V design found in E-GMP models.
Oh, and no, the EV3 isn't related to the new K3 sedan.
H-AI, how can I help?
The EV3 will also be the first Kia to launch with an AI-powered voice assistant, available in both the car and in a new app called, wait for it... the Kia App.
Among its features will be a new E-Routing function, offering a Tesla-like ability for monitoring battery status to then suggest best routes and nearest chargers as needed.
The EV3 and EV4 will follow the bigger new EV9 and EV5 models into a more sustainable cabin space, with a number of reclaimed materials used throughout.
The brand hasn't yet specified how that will play out in the EV3 and EV4, but the debut of the EV9 came with what Kia calls its 10 "must-have sustainable items", to be applied to all future models.
"With this action, we guarantee the implementation of sustainability at scale," Kia says.
Switching to recycled plastics and 'bioplastics' – made from sources like vegetable oils, corn extract, sawdust and sugarcane – will see them replace conventional oil-based plastics in dashboards, consoles, pillars, and trim.
Kia will also phase leather out of its new models, to be replaced with Bio Polyurethane. Likewise, carpets will be made from recycled plastic, including fishing nets.
Will the Kia EV3 come to Australia?
Officially, the brand hasn't confirmed anything yet about the production version of the EV3 – but the local arm has its hand up for every EV it can get.
Where the EV3 will be built is unclear, although Kia has confirmed the bigger new EV5 will come from China. That doesn't mean the EV3 will as well, but clearly it could.
As for pricing, don't expect it to start with a 5, let alone a 4. it's unlikely we'll see any electric Kia fall below $50,000 – just about all legacy brands have confirmed they'll leave that space to the Chinese.
The incoming new Hyundai Kona EV will likely be priced above $60,000 and we'd bet on the EV3 not being far off that point either.
But! With Hyundai recently announcing a new $64,500 entry variant of the big Ioniq 5, we could conceivably see the Kona EV enter below $60,000 – or perhaps right on $60k, with a higher level of standard trim than the entry Ioniq 5.
We'll know for sure in the coming weeks, with a fourth-quarter launch confirmed.
Kia might need to do something about its Niro EV in the meantime, too. A few months before Hyundai brought down the price of its entry-level Ioniq 5, Kia increased Niro EV pricing by $1250 to $66,590 plus on-roads. Awkward.