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Kia Is Bringing An All Electric Pickup To Market, And It Should Be Coming To The US

Kia has a lot of new vehicle development going on. One such vehicle is their first electric pickup truck. It seems to be a mid size, crew cab likely to compete with similar trucks from Toyota, Nissan, Chevy, Rivian and Ford.

I’ve previously called out that Kia is working on a mid size EV pickup and now a prototype has been spotted cruising around the freeways of Southern California. Does this mean Kia is imminently planning to bring an all electric pickup truck to market in the US? My guess is yes.

Here’s why I believe that: Kia isn’t selling any pickups in the US, currently. That means Kia has zero market share of this highly lucrative vehicle segment in the US. While it might make sense for Kia to sell a hybrid (HEV) or plug-in hybrid (PHEV) pickup truck as well or instead, there is presently only one mid size EV pickup available in the US: the Rivian R1T. Thus, Kia wouldn’t have a lot of competition if it built a mid size EV pickup (at least until one or more of the other brands launches theirs). Kia’s manufacturing capacity for EVs and batteries is limited, so it makes sense for Kia to opt for a lower volume entry into the nascent EV pickup market. The mid size pickup market in the US is smaller than the full size market and mid size trucks also better “translate” to international markets too. Finally, by choosing to produce an EV pickup model for the US, Kia may position itself as the new value leader in electric pickups. Kia’s new EV pickup may start $10,000 - $20,000 less than the base Rivian R1T. Such an EV would immediately garner some fans among the truck loving population. This would also help Kia meet their EV growth targets while drawing in new customers to the brand.

Not much else is known about the forthcoming Kia EV pickup besides its likely stature and possibly its name: the Tasman. That name may be what Kia uses for a different model not destined for the US however, and it may not be an EV pickup. Note, comparing the pickups shown in the and the links above is difficult due to camouflage, but they appear to be the same truck. They could be intended for the same platform too, potentially, or these may simply be test mules and not representative of what the final product will be. 

We can speculate a little about performance specs for Kia’s forthcoming electric pickup. It is reasonable to think that Kia would try to use the same battery pack or modules in this pickup as it uses in its other large EVs, especially its current largest model the EV9. The EV9 has two sizes for its battery packs though: 76.1 kWh and 99.8 kWh. The smaller size might not be big enough for an EV pickup as it would be less aerodynamic than the EV9 and possibly heavier, which would mean an even lower range. That said, by the time Kia’s pickup goes on sale in the US, the EV9 pack may be on its next generation (and would likely increase its capacity by 10% or more). So it is possible Kia might use an 80-90 kWh pack in the lower priced trims for its new EV pickup, but I would think only if they are offering what might be considered a work truck model with a range of less than 200 miles per charge. 

Kia may want to simplify matters and opt to only offer a single battery pack in its pickup. If so, it would most likely be the larger 99.8 kWh pack if not a new/revised version of that pack with over 100 kWh. Since electric mid size pickups (using the R1T as a comparison) might optimistically average about 2 - 2.3 miles per kWh when not towing, if Kia opted for a 100 kWh pack their pickup may barely break into the 200 mile range. That would not be particularly competitive though (for anything other than a work truck perhaps). As such I expect the smallest pack Kia’s EV pickup might be offered with at launch will be the 99.8 kWh pack from the EV9. More likely, Kia’s EV pickup will offer a 110 - 130 kWh battery at launch, at least optionally. That would mean ranges anywhere between 220 and about 300 miles on a full charge (and less while towing or mostly at freeway speeds). 

It may be safe to say Kia would target at least 90% of the towing capacity (if not greater) that other mid sized EVs have, or about 10,000 - 12,000 lbs. (again based on the R1T). Acceleration times may be slightly less than what Rivian offers too (3.5 to 4.3 seconds to 60 MPH) if we consider how other Kia EVs compare in this metric to say Tesla’s Model 3. I estimate we might see 4.5 - 5.0 second times for Kia’s truck at the aggressive or sporty end, and 5.5 - 6.5 seconds at the lower end.

Are you interested in Kia’s forthcoming EV pickup or in mid size electric trucks generally? Why are you interested and how would you expect to use one? Are there any concerns you have about such a vehicle's range and might you be more inclined to favor a hybrid or plug-in hybrid mid size pickup instead? Please leave your questions and comments below.

Image 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.