Kia set to export this all-electric SUV at a price that undercuts Tesla


South Korean automaker Kia has started production on its all-electric EV5 SUV for export in China, with the first markets targeted being Thailand and Australia, with Australia’s price expected to undercut Tesla’s Model Y. A global launch is set for next year, but will that include the US?

While the compact EV5 starts in China at around 149,800 yuan ($20,000) Australians are expected to get one for under $70,000 AUS (around $46,000). While Kia hasn’t set the price in stone, it is expected to launch the vehicle at an aggressive price point (which is Kia’s signature style) designed to undercut Tesla’s Model Y, Australia’s most popular electric car.

Showroom arrivals are slated for June, with the South Korean automaker targeting 10,000 units of the family-style SUV. For reference, Tesla delivered about 29,000 Model Ys in Australia in 2023, while BYD delivered 11,000 Atto 3 small electric SUVs, reports The Drive. Kia’s top seller in Australia is the Sportage hybrid SUV with around 15,000 sales.

Kia EV 5/Source: Kia

Australians can pick up three EV5 model grades, with the lower-cost Air and Earth due in June of this year, and the higher-end GT-Line between October and December. The standard Kia EV5 trim is equipped with a 64.2 kWh BYD Blade battery pack and 160 kW motor, providing up to 530 km (329 miles) CLTC range. The long-range model features an 88.1 kWh battery for up to 720 km (447 miles) CLTC range. Both battery options are produced by China’s BYD.

The entry-level Air version is expected to be cheaper than the lowest-price Tesla Model Y, which sells in Australian for $65,400 AUS ($43,160 USD). However, the GT-Line Kia EV5 should cost around $80,000 AUS ($52,790 USD).

The EV5 – which debuted in October of last year – made the rounds in Thailand at the Bangkok International Motor Show, with the price range there set at slightly lower than its EV6 in Thailand.

Kia builds the EV5 in South Korea for its domestic market, but exports are being built in Yancheng, China.  

Unlike the Kia EV6, the EV5 doesn’t use the 800-volt version of the E-GMP electric platform from Hyundai and Kia, but rather a 400-volt system. So while it’s cheaper than the EV6, Kia is claiming a 30-80% charge time of 27 minutes on DC fast charging at a peak of around 150kW. That’s compared to the EV6, which can handle 10-80% in just 19 minutes under optimal conditions.

Electrek’s Take

Despite the bummer about the 400-volt system, this is the style of car that is ripe for a US launch. As the world’s dominant SUV market, the US is, unfortunately, unlikely to see this vehicle in that Kia has reportedly already signaled that Inflation Reduction Act is the deal breaker for them, as Electrek has reported – but its arrival to Europe, where SUVs are surging in popularity, seems imminent, although no specific launch dates have been set. Still, with the expected “global” launch of the SUV slated for next year, perhaps the US will eventually be added to the list. We’ll see. And with Kia’s legendary aggressive pricing, it’s nice to see low figures being attached to electric variants. And small, electric SUVs like this can satisfy a lot of tastes without ruining it for everyone.

Photos: Kia

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