New Kia EV3: concept version set to reveal more

Kia is set to expand its all-electric lineup with a new small SUV

We’ve caught Kia testing its new EV3 out on the road already, but before we see it in production form there will be a concept model to show us what we can expect of the latest member of Kia’s EV range.

Teased in shadowy images alongside five other EVs for Kia’s EV Day, the EV3 Concept is the second car from the right, sitting between the new EV5 and EV9. The other new addition is the EV4 saloon on the left.

The Kia EV3 Concept should follow the same path as the EV9 Concept and EV5 Concept, essentially showcasing a near production-ready model. The front headlight signature is similar to the EV5’s, without the LED strip along the bonnet’s leading edge. 

Despite extensive camouflage on the test car we spotted, we can see the EV3 sitting on a set of futuristic ‘triangular’ wheel designs that point to an extrovert look, while there appear to be nods to the larger EV5 and EV9, and the rear has strong hints of the EV6.

As the exclusive images of the Kia EV3 we had drawn up in 2022 suggest, there is likely to be a full-width LED rear light bar, as well as muscular surfacing and Kia’s new logo.

The spy shots, taken in Germany, also seem to indicate that the dark ridge on the EV6’s C-pillar has made its way over, as have the black wheelarches. And it would appear that the model is close to production, given it is now out on public roads with no temporary testing components or add-ons.

Kia EV3 technical details

We first became aware of plans for the EV3 last year, when Kia announced its intention to launch 14 new EVs by 2027. These plans are gaining momentum, with the EV5, EV6 and EV9 now all unveiled, and the EV3 set to follow, sized as a rival for the Volvo C40, Mercedes EQA, and the BMW iX1.

The EV3 is based on the Hyundai-Kia Group’s E-GMP platform for electric cars. A slightly downsized wheelbase compared with the EV6 (2,900mm) means its dimensions are close to those of Kia’s European-spec, fifth-generation Sportage SUV.

Clever packaging made possible by the versatile platform  maximises cabin space, with fewer compromises than in a combustion-engined car. And even with a shorter wheelbase, the EV3 is likely to make use of the EV6’s battery technology.

That means 58kWh and 77.4kWh could be offered for a maximum range of just over 300 miles. Expect dual-motor powertrains, too, giving four-wheel-drive capability and potentially up to 321bhp, although a 226bhp single-motor version is also expected to be available, lowering the entry price.

With the E-GMP set-up offering 800-volt electronic architecture and a maximum 350kW rapid-charge rate, the bigger battery should charge from 10 to 80 per cent in a mere 18 minutes, or take 62 miles of range in only five minutes.

While the E-GMP platform will form the basis of many future Kia EVs, European product boss Sjoerd Knipping previously outlined that it “won’t serve all segments, in particular some smaller sectors.” He added: “Not all cars need 800V tech, so could we use our 400V tech in places? We need to see if the market segments we serve can be with derived platforms [such as the e-Niro], or will there be a new platform?”

Kia plans to have a line-up of 11 electric cars by 2025; six standalone EVs, with five “derivative” EV models. Knipping said: “We have to work out what is the priority; the sectors where to push EV, and where you can lean on ICE platforms.”

As the full-electrification charge gathers pace, the EV3 could make its official debut later this year or early in 2024.

What do you think of the EV3? Can Kia continue its hot streak of electric car products? Have your say in the comments...

Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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