Kia has used its annual EV Day to reveal two new electric vehicle (EVs) concepts: a small SUV called the Concept EV3, and a sedan called the Concept EV4.
The company says that, now it has established itself as an EV brand with the EV6 and EV9, it’s illustrating how it’ll broaden its line-up further with more accessible small- to medium-sized electric models.
The production EV3 and EV4, as well as the mid-sized EV5 SUV, will have prices ranging from US$35,000 to $50,000 (A$54,516 to $77,880).
They both feature the brand’s latest Opposites United design language, and have a clear visual kinship with the EV6 and EV9.
While Kia has confirmed the EV5, EV6 and EV9 use the Hyundai Motor Group’s E-GMP architecture, it hasn’t detailed what underpins the Concept EV3 and Concept EV4. It also hasn’t released any powertrain or battery details.
Kia wants to sell one million EVs annually by 2026, increasing to 1.6 million by 2030.
Kia says it has designed the Concept EV3 to offer the technology, practicality and design of its flagship EV9 in a compact and accessible form.
It’s a little less boxy than the grand EV9, but design details like the daytime running lights and bulging fenders closely resemble those of the brand’s flagship, as does the ‘disconnected’ C-pillar treatment that gives the EV3’s roof a floating look.
Inside, there’s a minimalist dashboard with essentially no physical switchgear. The digital instrument cluster and infotainment touchscreen are situated in the same assembly.
The EV3 avoids looking too austere inside, however, thanks to a dash finished in a pale green, fabric-look material and soft mood lighting throughout the cabin.
The front seats flank a prominent centre armrest, which sits above a commodious storage shelf with a distinctively patterned inlay.
Kia says the cabin also includes mini tables that rotate in length, position and angle. In conjunction with the movement of the seats, Kia says the EV3 offers four “customer experience-enhancing modes”: Focus, Social, Refreshing and Storage.
The rear bench can be folded upward to help load bulky items like e-scooters.
Kia incorporated an unusual material for the Concept EV3’s console table: mycelium, which is derived from mushroom roots and promises “excellent strength with an extremely soft surface”.
The company has used natural fibre structures for the seats, with 3D Knit technology used for the seat covers. The latter promises a “visually stunning 3D effect”, a soft surface, zero waste material, and reduced stitching.
The EV3 will debut generative AI technology for Kia, which will then be rolled out to the EV4 and EV5.
This technology will include EV route optimisation and travel planning, entertainment, and emergency support which can be accessed by engaging in conversations with the generative AI assistant.
The Concept EV4 isn’t the rumoured electric Stinger replacement, but it’s the lowest and sleekest of Kia’s new-generation EVs.
“Its four-door format might suggest it should be categorised as a sedan,” Kia says in its press release.
“However, the model’s potent and impactful lines represent not just another sedan, but an entirely new type of EV sedan that stands as a symbol of innovation.” So, it’s not a sedan, but a… sedan.
Kia says the low nose, long-tail silhouette and technical roof spoiler are all attributes reminiscent of sports and racing cars.
The EV4’s interior closely resembles that of the EV3, down to the patterned insert of the centre console shelf, though the concept’s cabin is finished in a two-tone off-white/apricot colour scheme.
The digital instrument cluster and infotainment touchscreen are located in the same assembly, and Kia designers have aimed to make the EV4’s interior feel as sleek and spacious as possible, with as little to obstruct the view of the road ahead as possible.
The air-conditioning control panel can be neatly stored in the centre console when not in use, while “pin-style” air vents offer the flexibility to change patterns.
A ‘Mind Modes’ function allows you to adjust the ambient lighting and animated ventilation patterns, with available Perform and Serenity modes.
Kia has used 100 per cent recycled cotton in the interior, with natural dyes derived from madder roots and walnut shells. Fabric strips were applied by hand to the car’s storage area and dashboard, with a 3D Knit finish like that used on the Concept EV3’s seat covers.
Hemp fibres were used for the Concept EV4’s console table, with the material said to be highly sustainable, highly moldable, and allowing for rich colours.
This isn’t the first time Kia has deployed sustainable materials in its EVs, with the company listing 10 must-have sustainable items.
These include bioplastic produced from biomass sources such as vegetable oils, corn extract, sawdust and sugarcane, which can be used for components such as dashboards and consoles.
Kia says Bio Polyurethane (PU) is an ideal replacement for leather, while carpets can be made from 100 per cent PET.