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Kia Teases All New EV3 Compact Electric SUV Ahead Of Release, Later This Year

Last week Kia teased select views of its next all electric vehicle, the EV3. It is due in US showrooms late this year. Considering the popularity of other Kia EVs, they may have a hit on their hands and it should be in short supply, at least initially.

Who wouldn’t want such a compact, confident and sporty looking, racing pod of a car? The EV3 is Kia’s entry into the compact EV SUV segment. And while we don’t know for sure what its dimensions will be yet, likely it will be of similar size to Kia’s other compact SUV or crossover models, the Niro and the Seltos. This means it will likely be a bit smaller than Kia’s EV6 model, and that may mean 6 - 12 inches shorter, 1 - 3 inches narrower, and perhaps an inch or so taller than its curvier, lower slung sibling. And perhaps this answers my question about who wouldn’t want it: people who want a larger vehicle with more interior volume. Kia has such electric SUVs and crossovers of course, in their flagship EV9 and the aforementioned EV6.

What else do we know about the EV3? Its exterior design is bold, robust and geometric, with boxy or angular haunches and a futuristic identity, according to Kia. It will likely be priced aggressively, perhaps becoming Kia’s lowest price EV, according to InsidEVs (it may start around $32,000) and its production form will be revealed on May 23rd. Sales of the Ev3 likely won’t begin before late 2024, in the US, at the soonest. Price alone could be the single most important determiner of its sales success in the US market. Why would I say that? Americans love SUVs and crossovers, we all know this, however Americans are not quite as gung ho for smaller SUV and crossover models. Take Kia’s own smallest SUV the Seltos and its smallest crossovers the Niro or Soul. Those 3 models, combined, narrowly outsold Kia’s single best selling SUV model (the Sportage, a larger compact SUV) in the US in 2023. Considering that Kia’s best selling electric model in the US, so far, is the EV6 and it only sells in the 18-20,000 unit range (annually) so far, it is not too much of a stretch to reason that the EV3 may only sell in the 10-15,000 unit range, annually (or possibly less). That may be an acceptable volume for its first year or two in production, but I would argue it isn’t sustainable long term and wouldn’t qualify as a “hit” with such sales figures when one considers the volumes of Kia’s 3 sales leading models: the Sportage, Forte and Telluride, each of which sold well over 100,000 units last year in the US.

Sales volume matters because if Kia can’t sell more than 10-15,000 units of its most affordable EV, after a year or two on sale, Kia won’t be able to achieve economies of scale and may no longer be able to produce it. At Kia’s recent and relatively modest annual growth rates for EV sales of a few thousand more EVs per year, the EV3 would likely be a failure, but I am certain that Kia’s EV sales for 2024 will see a more robust increase. That is because in addition to the EV3 going on sale, the EV9 will also have a full calendar year of sales this year too. And while the EV3 may eventually replace at least the Niro EV (if not the hybrid versions of the Niro), it won’t do so right out of the gate. Thus I predict that Kia’s EV sales will increase by about 10-20,000 additional units this year. Will that be enough to assure the viability of the EV3 and its Kia brethren? We’ll see.

Are you curious about the EV3? Are you a fan of smaller, compact or sub compact SUVs? Would you consider buying the EV3? Please leave your responses and questions below.

Images courtesy of Kia.

Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 15 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Torque News Kia or X for regular electric and hybrid news coverage.