In just a few years, Kia has established itself as one of the global leaders in electric vehicles, but now it has to consolidate and expand that position with new and even better EVs. It has trademarked all the model nameplates from EV1 to EV9, and it expects to build most of them, but one in particular seems destined for greatness.

*Update 5-23-2024: This post has been updated with specs and information released by Kia following the debut of the new EV3.

*Update: The EV3 will debut at 6 AM Eastern on May 23rd. InsideEVs will livestream the debut and cover the newest electric Kia in full detail, so stay tuned for more on this upcoming affordable electric vehicle.

The Kia EV3 is a direct rival to the Volvo EX30 or the electric version of the Alfa Romeo Junior, and it is expected to cost around $32,000. It is about the same size as today’s Kia Niro EV launched way back in 2017, which the EV3 will probably serve as the de facto replacement for once it enters production but it won't immediately replace the electric Niro.

It rides on a cheaper, lower-voltage front-wheel drive version of the Hyundai-Kia E-GMP platform, which runs at 400 volts instead of 800 volts, like in the EV6 and EV9. It will still charge quickly and offer good performance, but not on par with the manufacturer’s bigger electric offerings.

What Does The EV3 Look Like?

Kia EV3 GT-Line

The production EV3 looks a lot like the concept. Some details are different, though, and it loses the study's rear-hinged rear doors while adopting a more conventional interior. It has a tall and upright SUV-style body, closer in style to its big brother, the EV9, than the sportier, more hunkered-down EV6.

Its front fascia looks similar to the EV9’s, but it has unique V-shaped headlight clusters that help differentiate it. The prominent wedge-shaped fender flanks stick out from the side, making it look considerably sportier than the e-Niro. The production-spec rear lights follow the shape of the C-pillar like the ones on Volvo SUVs or the Honda CR-V, but with an additional horizontal element that goes onto the hatch.

No official dimensions have been announced, but we expect the EV3 to be about 169 inches (4.3 meters) long, or about as long as the Volvo EX30.

EV3_Base_INT_02

Inside, the EV3 concept featured a very cool rear bench that lifts to accommodate taller items like a bicycle. This is akin to the Magic Seats that Honda used to offer in many of its cars. We don’t know if Kia will actually bring this feature into production, but it would certainly give the EV3 an edge over rivals—the people who buy small crossovers would certainly appreciate a feature like this.

The dashboard retains much of the concept’s minimalist look and its array of two 12.3-inch screens, but the steering wheel is more conventional. It gets more traditional climate vents, not fancy jets like the concept. The infotainment is expected to be an improvement over what Kia offers today, and it will support both over-the-air updates and feature-on-demand services (basically optional features that will be locked if you don’t pay the subscription).

It also has an AI-powered voice assistant that uses ChatGPT to give complex answers to your questions.

How Much Range Will The EV3 Have?

Kia EV3 GT-Line

The EV3 will be available with two battery pack sizes: 58.3 kWh and 81.4 kWh. The latter is big for a vehicle this size (almost as big as the long-range pack in the EV6) and it should provide 560 kilometers of range or about 300 miles on one charge on the EPA cycle.

However, given the change from 800 to 400 volts, Kia could choose to create a new battery for the EV3, and if it does, its capacity will fall somewhere between the two aforementioned packs. The manufacturer is a global EV leader, and it doesn’t want to compromise this position by offering an electric crossover with a lower range than what is expected to be its main rival, the EX30.

The EV3 runs at a lower voltage, so it won't be able to charge as quickly as 800-volt E-GMP cars. There are plenty of EVs on the market that run on 400 volts and can charge at 250 kW, but the EV3 is limited to 128 kW of charging power, enough for a 10 to 80% charging time of 31 minutes. It also features vehicle-to-load bidirectional charging capability.

How Much Power Does The EV3 Have?

Kia EV6 At The 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show: E-GMP platform

We haven’t seen any applications of the front-wheel drive E-GMP platform turned down to 400 volts, so we can’t say how much power the EV3 will have since motor output is dependent on voltage, and that has changed. The base model could use the 167 horsepower / 258 lb-ft motor that powers the entry-level variants of the EV6.

Kia has so far only confirmed that a 150 kW (202 hp) single-motor version, but more will follow. It allows the EV3 to accelerate to 60 mph in 7.5 secons.

Dual-motor all-wheel-drive variants haven’t been confirmed, but they are coming since the platform supports it. The top model, the EV3 GT, could have over 300 hp combined from its two motors.

When is the EV3 Coming To Market?

Gallery: Kia EV3 Live Impressions

The production Kia EV3 was revealed on May 23, and its availability has been confirmed in the US and Europe. Production will first begin at one of Kia’s plants in South Korea and it should meet the needs of the Korean and part of the Asian markets. If the EV3 also goes on sale in China, it could also get localized production.

Rumor has it that Mexico will build the EV3 for the American market, potentially making it eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit. That would bring its price down to $24,500, making it one of the most affordable EVs around.

EV3s sold in Europe will roll out of the plant in Žilina, Slovakia. This means the EV3 could be manufactured in three different factories simultaneously, maybe even more if it proves as successful as the hype built around it would suggest.

The first Kia EV3 deliveries should kick off in the next couple of months in Korea and it will reach Europe by the end of 2024. US buyers will have to wait until 2025 to take delivery of an EV3.

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