Tesla Model 3’s re-establishment of a viable sedan market creates space for Kia to release its own four-door electric car
At the brand’s inaugural EV Day event in South Korea this week, a late-stage Concept EV4 was revealed previewing the proportions and design elements of the production model.
Unlike Tesla, which used a relatively conventional shape for the popular Model 3, Kia has adopted a far more radical aesthetic for the EV4, blending cues from both crossovers and saloons.
At the front, a short and low bonnet is framed by thin and tall headlights. Prominent cladding and large wheels are features of the side profile while the boot-lid is dramatically high-set.
The interior of the concept iteration of the EV4 is the furthest element from being finalised, still sporting a highly futuristic fitout.
The concept cabin has been used as a test bed for sustainable materials that Kia might roll out in the more distant future, including the mushroom root filament mycelium—a plastic and leather replacement.
The technology on display, including twin 12.3-inch screens and slide-out climate controls are more realistic.
Despite its sports sedan proportions, the EV4 will not utilise Kia’s most sophisticated 800-volt architecture, instead utilising a more affordable 400-volt derivation of the brand’s e-GMP electric car chassis.
It is probable that the EV4 sedan will be based around a dominant front motor—meaning it will not follow the tradition set by the cult-hit Kia Stinger in being rear-wheel drive (RWD).
But the FWD nature isn’t quite settled yet and it is mechanically possible that the EV4 will end up with RWD. “We are thinking about the best options for [that car],” said Min Woo Park, Kia global product planning manager.
If Kia adopts a primarily front-wheel drive (FWD) strategy for the EV4, single motor versions are expected to produce about 160kW of power and 350Nm of torque.
But dual-motor all-wheel drive (AWD) will almost certainly be an option. Selecting this adds a weaker 70kW motor to the rear axle for around 200kW combined power.
The electrical architecture to be used by the EV4 sedan can support either nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) or lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) battery chemistries.
Battery capacities for the EV4 sedan are expected to top out around 80kWh in long-range form, and the saloon’s slippery aerodynamics should see range claims above 600km (WLTP).
It hasn’t yet been announced where Kia will build the EV4. Sedans remain popular in China, South Korea and the United States—all countries where this brand operates car-making facilities.
Key subsidies in the US market require production to occur in the Americas, increasing the probability that the EV4 could be made in that region.
With its 2025 release date, the EV5 arrives the year before Kia’s self-imposed deadline of selling 1 million electric cars annually hits.
The sedan will arrive in Kia showrooms alongside a range of forthcoming battery-electric Kia models.
The brand’s current EV6 and Niro electric cars will be joined by the EV4, plus the EV3 small SUV and EV5 midsize SUV that has been confirmed for a 2024 Austarlian release date.
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