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Kia's New EV3 And EV4 Concepts Evolve Kia's Materials Sourcing And Electrification Strategies

Earlier this week, Kia showcased two new EV concepts, the EV3 and EV4, at its EV Day event in South Korea. These new EVs may represent Kia’s ambitions better than the midsize SUV EV9 because they will likely be produced in larger numbers.

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Kia’s latest EV concepts showcase smaller footprints and price points which suggests Kia is targeting global markets, rather than North American markets specifically (we do tend to favor larger vehicles) so we may not see both of these vehicles in the US in the next few years when they go on sale. Hopefully we’ll see at least one of them though, perhaps the EV3 since we also like smaller SUVs here, or vehicles smaller than the 3 row EV9 anyway. The EV4, a fascinating model blending sedan/4-door coupe/wagon, looks kind of like an EV6 with a stretched out rear end. It suggests a voluminous cargo capacity and better aerodynamics (which would translate into better range than the blockier design of the EV3), but the North American market isn’t particularly fond of sedan-ish vehicles anymore, sadly, so of the two vehicles it seems less likely that the EV4 would wind up being sold here.

In addition to the avant garde designs of the two new electric concept vehicles, Kia has showcased interesting, more renewable materials design that include “grown” interior components that are mold formed from mycelium (from the roots of mushrooms) and hand woven plant based hemp fiber fabrics for seats. These may only have been hand woven for the concept vehicle application, but they represent Kia’s ambition to develop more carbon neutral, zero waste manufacturing technology and approaches. Kia intends to grow more of its components, in what is known as “bio fabrication”, in order to “mimic the processes we see in nature and leverage it to design more sustainable solutions”. Bio fabrication literally allows them to grow materials in any shape they want, using a mold, and eventually (once the process is simplified) Kia will be able to adapt its forms to grow most interior components in a way that is “closer to nature”. Kia also employs (not only in its concept vehicles) other sustainable approaches to manufacturing interior components such as: natural dyes from madder roots and walnut shells, recycled cotton, use of bioplastics and fibers from sugar cane and other vegetable sources, and 100% recycled PET carpet fiber. Other manufacturers also employ similar approaches and it is encouraging to read about, but certainly we would need to do this at a massive scale in order to affect the kind of change we need to clean up our environment and achieve more sustainable manufacturing patterns.

EVs like the EV3 and EV4 also offer some innovative features and designs that are sure to appeal to buyers around the world, including slide-out climate control panels, movable backlit trim pieces that direct airflow in the cabin, and flip-up rear bench seats (in the EV3) that provide a flat load floor. Of course these vehicles will continue Kia’s trends with their most recent production EVs by offering vehicle-to-load capability too (i.e. internal electrical outlets for running appliances in camping or power outage scenarios as well as charging larger batteries for things like electric bicycles, laptops, etc.). All of these things combined offer potential buyers a lot of functionality and utility that may not be available in non electrified vehicles. 

What do you think of these two new EVs? Are either of them appealing to you as a potential vehicle, based on their design and feature set as we know them at present? What appeals to you in particular? Please leave your questions and comments 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.

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