Kia Announces EV3 Entry-Level BEV

With a starting price of $35,000 and a range of 350 miles, Kia’s EV3 could make the South Korean automaker a top-tier BEV producer.

Drew Winter, Contributing Editor

May 24, 2024

4 Min Read
EV3 shares distinctive design language of its stylish siblings.

If there is one thing the world can agree upon, it’s the fact that battery-electric vehicles are too expensive and high prices are slowing their adoption.

Kia, a company that has a long history of expanding its market share with entry-level products, has announced plans to launch an attractive BEV for global markets that will be priced from $35,000 to $50,000 and be able to travel up to 560 km (350 miles) on a single charge.

Dubbed the EV3, the compact crossover BEV follows Kia’s highly regarded EV6 and EV9 BEVs that share some of their design language and features and have won numerous product and industry awards, including Wards 10 Best Interiors and UX trophies.

“The EV3 underscores our determination to create world-leading electric vehicles that are accessible to all,” Ho Sung Song, Kia President and CEO, says during a Zoom meeting with journalists from around the world.

“The EV6 and EV9 established Kia as a key player in the EV market and the EV3 is poised to extend EV ownership to a much broader group of customers,” the CEO says. “It will do this by removing the barriers that have so far prevented some drivers from making the switch to electric mobility and will bring a fresh experience to the compact EV sector and set a new standard for exterior and interior design technology, customer experience, driving enjoyment and much more.”

Like all Kia vehicles, company officials say the EV3 will offer a lot of value to consumers that would not be expected in an entry-level vehicle.

In addition to the impressive range, the crossover has a rugged, SUV-like presence like its siblings, with a roof that slopes downward to the rear and a roomy interior for its size. The EV3 also features a big 30-in. (76-cm) widescreen display like its larger, more expensive siblings plus a 12in. (31-cm) head-up display and numerous sophisticated infotainment and technology features will be available, including a dedicated AI assistant.


EV3_base interior.png

Karim Habib, head of global design for Kia, says the most important part of the EV3 from the design point of view is based on the vehicle engineering and how the flat floor of the BEV (lacking of course a transmission tunnel) creates space for multifunctional center consoles. For instance, the center console can feature a fold-out table for a laptop that can be used while recharging.

Habib, who is 6-ft. (182 cm) tall, happily shows off one of the EV3’s qualities by seating himself in the back seat and showing how much legroom he has.

Kia CEO Sung Song saysBEV sales accounted for 11% of the total car industry in the first quarter: 12% in Europe, 7% in the U.S. and 24% in China.

“That means all other markets except China are still before the stage of early majority customers. But once we get to the stage of early majority customers the speed of the transitioning will be fast. And this is why we are trying to launch the volume model,” the CEO says.

The front-wheel-drive EV3 is based on the Electric Global Modular platform (E-GMP) that Kia shares with Hyundai models and can support rear-wheel, front-wheel and all-wheel-drive configurations.

The EV3 is on the front-drive, single-motor version which is lightest and least expensive, but numerous other configurations are expected in the future, including a sportier dual-motor GT with 400V architectures.

Kia is forecasting 400,000 sales of the new model worldwide including the U.S., Europe, Korea and other markets.

 The vehicle will be launched first in the South Korean market in July, followed by a launch in the European market later in the year. Sung Song is more circumspect about the launch timing in the U.S., saying it will be after 2025.

Kia clearly is building some of the best – and most affordable – BEVs in the world, along with Hyundai, with which it shares platforms. The future looks bright, and BEV sales continue to grow, but it still will be a while before Kia and the Hyundai Group become top-five volume players. Last quarter the Hyundai Group, which includes Kia, was eighth in global BEV sales.

However, with new high-volume vehicles like the Kia EV3 coming, it won’t be for long.

“The headlines confuse slower BEV year-over-year growth with declining sales, which is not the case,” says Haig Stoddard, Principal Analyst-Forecasts, Informa Tech Automotive Group.


About the Author(s)

Drew Winter

Contributing Editor, WardsAuto

Drew Winter is a former longtime editor and analyst for Wards. He writes about a wide range of topics including emerging cockpit technology, new materials and supply chain business strategies. He also serves as a judge in both the Wards 10 Best Engines and Propulsion Systems awards and the Wards 10 Best Interiors & UX awards and as a juror for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year awards.

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