2024 Kia EV5 electric SUV may be cheaper than Tesla Model Y, targeting 10,000 annual sales - SUV VEHICLE

2024 Kia EV5 electric SUV may be cheaper than Tesla Model Y, targeting 10,000 annual sales

Kia expects to sell as many EV5 SUVs every month as it does EV6s in half a year, thanks to prices tipped to undercut a base Tesla Model Y.

The 2024 Kia EV5 electric SUV is estimated to be priced from less than $70,000 drive-away – cheaper than a Tesla Model Y, Australia’s top-selling electric car – when showroom arrivals begin in June.

Kia Australia has set ambitious sales targets for the Sportage-sized electric family SUV – 10,000 examples manually – which will be the South Korean car giant’s first model manufactured in China for Australia.

There will be three EV5 model grades, with the cheaper Air and Earth due in June 2024, ahead of the top-of-the-range GT-Line – with a slightly different appearance – between October and December.

MORE: 2024 Kia EV5 electric SUV spied in Australia

Australia will be offered a choice of 64kWh standard- and 88kWh long-range batteries – both produced by China’s BYD, and using lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry – as well as front- or all-wheel drive.

It is yet to be confirmed how those four possible combinations will be applied, but if the larger EV9 is a guide, there may be a 64kWh, front-drive Air alongside 88kWh, all-wheel-drive Earth and GT-Line grades.

Prices are yet to be locked in, however the entry-level Air is expected to undercut the cheapest Tesla Model Y ($65,400 plus on-road costs) – while the top-of-the-range GT-Line is estimated to cost less than $80,000.

“It needs to be competitive up against Model Y. The aim is to target mainstream type of [sales] volumes,” Kia Australia general manager of product planning, Roland Rivero told Drive at a local preview of the EV5.

“It’s important that we position it accordingly – at least at the entry-level – to even undercut the Model Y price on the road,” he said. The cheapest Model Y costs about $70,500 drive-away in NSW.

If Kia can deliver on its promises – which have previously included a $60,000 price target for the EV5 Air – it would be the first non-Chinese car maker in Australia to sell a Tesla Model Y-sized electric SUV for less than a Model Y.

The EV5 is smaller than the existing EV6, which is built on a more expensive, rear- and all-wheel-drive ‘E-GMP’ electric-car platform which runs at 800 volts – rather than the Chinese-made car’s 400-volt ‘N3 eK’ architecture.

Executives for the South Korean car giant told Drive the company aims to sell 10,000 EV5s annually – which would place it among both Australia’s Top Five selling electric vehicles, and one of Kia Australia’s most popular models.

For reference, Tesla delivered about 29,000 Model Ys in Australia in 2023 – followed by about 17,000 Model 3 sedans, and 11,000 BYD Atto 3 small electric SUVs. Kia Australia’s top seller was the Sportage, reporting about 15,000 sales.

The company says it intends to source about 850 examples of the EV5 per month – which is about half of the 2023 sales total for the larger Kia EV6 electric car.

“We think we’ve got the right product. There’s a lot of potential there. It’s competing in the biggest segment, so there’s a lot of scope for the car,” Kia Australia chief operating officer, Dennis Piccoli, told Drive.

“That market is very broad, so there’s a lot of opportunity both in private [sales], as well as in that fleet space.”

Australia is one of the few Western markets to sell the Chinese-built EV5 – so it does not need to compete with Europe and the US for production slots, as these countries will offer the South Korean-made version due to commence assembly in 2025.

Asked if Chinese production places the EV5 on a level playing field with BYD and Tesla – which build cars in China – Kia Australia CEO Damien Meredith told Drive:

“I think commercially it gives us that opportunity, but it also gives us volume opportunity because of the less pressures on a factory in China as compared to factory in Korea or elsewhere.”

Mr Meredith said the Tesla Model Y is “probably the only direct competitor [to the EV5], to be quite honest.”

Executives for the South Korean car giant assured the Chinese-developed EV5 has been engineered like any other Kia, and will go through local tuning and testing for Australian roadds.

“[Kia China] has built another proving ground … that’s basically a copy-and-paste of Namyang [Hyundai and Kia’s South Korean proving ground],” Graeme Gambold – the engineer who leads the tuning of the steering and suspension of new Kias for Australia – told Drive.

“It’s well resourced with all the roads and all the test courses correlated back with Namyang … Albert Biermann [former BMW M, Hyundai/Kia development boss] was involved in that process, and the whole research centre works like an arm of Namyang.”

The Kia EV5 will have more Australian influence than every other Kia model except the upcoming Tasman ute, Mr Rivero said.

“We had a very enthusiastic exporter in Kia China to really help us out and ensure this product is right for our market. Next to the ute, we’ve never had this many engineers come to Australia to support [us].

“It wasn’t just a ride and handling perspective, it was tuning for ADAS [safety systems] – which maybe some of our competitor products don’t get, that level of ADAS fine-tuning for our lane markings, our speed signs, our road conditions, our traffic conditions.

“It will really translate back to a product that won’t be as intrusive,” he said.

Mr Rivero said local attention was also given to the Kia Connect smartphone app – as well as compatibility with fast charging stations in Australia.

“The most recent team that visited [from China] was testing out all of the public charging infrastructure around metro and rural New South Wales and [the] ACT, to ensure that … whether it’s Ampol, NRMA, BP Pulse, et cetera, everything works just fine for this particular product.”

2024 Kia EV5 specifications in China

Model Standard Range FWD Long Range FWD Long Range AWD
Battery 64.2kWh LFP 64.2kWh LFP 88.1kWh LFP
Power 160kW front 160kW front 160kW front + 70kW rear (230kW total)
Drive type Front-wheel drive Front-wheel drive All-wheel drive
Range (CLTC) 530km 720km 650km
Range (WLTP) TBC 530km (est.) TBC

The post 2024 Kia EV5 electric SUV may be cheaper than Tesla Model Y, targeting 10,000 annual sales appeared first on Drive.

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