2024 Kia EV5 due in Australia mid-year, from China


The first Chinese-built Kia sold in Australia is due in showrooms in June or July, pending any delays. But Kia says it won’t be as cheap as a BYD Atto 3 or MG ZS EV.

The 2024 Kia EV5 is tipped to become the South Korean car giant’s best-selling electric car when it arrives in Australian showrooms in June or July this year.

Kia Australia says it is not concerned about any negative perceptions of building its latest electric car in China – and says it will be manufactured to the same build-quality standards as Kia cars from South Korea.

However executives have warned it will not be as affordable as Chinese-built rivals from BYD, MG and GWM – even though the EV5 will be powered by battery packs sourced from BYD.

The new electric SUV – which has the footprint of a Kia Sportage, and is slightly smaller than the Korean-made EV6 – is due to arrive in June or July 2024 in more affordable Air and Earth variants, ahead of the GT-Line at a later date.

The EV5 range was previously confirmed for sometime this year.

Australia will be one of the first markets to receive the EV5, thanks to right-hand-drive production in China.

“We’ve recently visited, saw the facilities, we saw the proving ground and interestingly enough, the proving ground looks like a copy-paste of the Namyang proving ground,” Kia Australia product planning boss Roland Rivero told Drive at the media launch of the facelifted Kia Sorento SUV.

“Looking at the product that’s coming through that is built in China, there might be [differing quality] perceptions out there in the marketplace, but we’re fairly confident of what we say is Kia quality, Kia build quality.

“Whether it’s built in Mexico, built in China or built in Korea, the key quality remains and we’re not at all worried about the products coming through.

“If we continuously just rely on Korean sourcing, we’re always going to run into problems of supply.

“So we need to look at diversifying where we source product from and hopefully with that we’re able to get better supply moving forward.”

While it will be built in China – and may become Kia’s most affordable electric vehicle yet – Mr Rivero said the EV5 may not be as affordable as Chinese-built electric vehicles from BYD, GWM and MG, which have dropped the price of entry into electric motoring.

“We’ve always said that we’re not really targeting the lower end of the [electric-vehicle] EV market, so we don’t have a product that we’re going to peg directly at, say a BYD.

“But at the same time we think it’ll be still very competitive in terms of its price point and the features that it’ll have.

“It’ll sit very comfortably in that medium category and will be something that we can throw almost a dual attack against Model Y. It will be one of our well-priced, or if not, the best price EV in our range for now.”

The Kia EV6 is priced from $72,590 plus on-road costs, or about $75,000 drive-away – while a Tesla Model Y starts from $65,000 plus on-road costs, and a long-range BYD Atto 3 is $51,000 plus on-road costs.

Mr Rivero said the company is planning to offer three model grades: Air, Earth and GT-Line, matching the EV9. Not all models are due at the same time.

“[The launch] is split up into two parts and what we’re trying to do is make sure that if we’re going to launch [the EV5], let’s have as many of them available to us at the same time,” he said.

“So we’re looking at a three-trim strategy: Air, Earth, and GT-Line. Unfortunately for us, the GT-Line variants with the most amount of semiconductors and most amount of features … [will come] a little bit later.

“We’re trying to find just the optimal point where we don’t have too big a gap between one and the other… it’s probably mid-June, if not July [for Air and Earth].”

The three-trim strategy mirrors the recently-launched Kia EV9 seven-seat electric SUV, which arrived late in 2023 in Air and GT-Line forms, ahead of the Earth in the coming months.

Local specifications are yet to be locked in, however Australian-bound EV5s could offer an 88kWh lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery in the long-range dual-motor variant.

To help lower its price, the Kia EV5 uses a 400-volt electric architecture – rather than the 800-volt technology available in the more expensive Kia EV6 and EV9 on the same E-GMP underpinnings.

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MORE:Search Used Kia Cars for Sale

Tom started out in the automotive industry by exploiting his photographic skills but quickly learned journalists got the better end of the deal. With tenures at CarAdvice, Wheels Media, and now Drive, Tom’s breadth of experience and industry knowledge informs a strong opinion on all things automotive. At Drive, Tom covers automotive news, car reviews, advice, and holds a special interest in long-form feature stories.

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