Updated: Feb 1, 2022
You love the Kia EV6 but thought that it's simply too big? Kia brings you just the right EV at the right price and size! It is also expected to introduce the brand-new battery!
WATCH THE FULL VIDEO: https://youtu.be/FOWk0R0PJGI
You could be interested in Kia’s first-ever dedicated electric vehicle EV6, which ousted top European brands to become the newest German car of the year in the premium car class, but thought that it was just too much of a car? As desirable as it is, the starting price of $45,000 for the most basic standard range rear-wheel-drive model, going up to $60,000 for the most sought after all-wheel-drive long-range model, coupled with the deceptively large size, that rivals that of the 3 row Sorento SUV, may not be an ideal EV for many. Especially if you are looking for your first electric vehicle. Well, you might be in luck. Because there is a new EV on its way that features the EV6’s advanced EV technology, highlighted by its 800-volt EGMP electric platform with the ultra-fast charging capability, packed in smaller packaging at a much affordable price.
To bring down the price of the vehicle to less than $35,000 as targeted, it’s likely that Kia would utilize the lithium iron phosphate battery or LFP battery instead for the first time.
It’s no secret that Kia is planning for a smaller version of the spectacular EV6 dedicated EV, as Sjoerd Knipping of Kia Europe has already admitted in a recent interview, that we are to expect two different SUV models, each developed for two different markets. The first one, which is a large 3-row SUV in the size of Chevy Tahoe, and targeted mainly at the North American market, has already been unveiled to the public as the futuristic concept EV9.
The second one is the smaller and more affordable model designed primarily for the European market. Known as the EV4, working prototypes of the compact crossover, in the size of Kia Seltos have been lurking in the streets around Kia’s development center in Korea for some time now. Although heavily camouflaged, it’s easy to tell that the newest EV to join the lineup will take on more of a sport utility vehicle body shape, as opposed to a low-slung coupe-like crossover profile of the bigger EV6. It’s not to say that the new smaller electric SUV is boxy or unattractive. Appearing to be an oversized Kia Soul in design details, the exposed prototype presents a stylish and smooth compact body with an extended greenhouse, to offer the maximum interior space possible.
Kia EV4 Prototype in its final developmental state (P1)
It seems that just as Kia Seltos has garnered a solid foot holding as a popular premium compact SUV, the EV4 is replicating the formula for success by offering a similar useful SUV form factor, at the same time as the sharp and trendy styling inside and out. And this design direction is very evident in Kia’s latest compact crossover offering. A vehicle formerly known by the code name KY and newly christened Kia Caren’s (the vehicle was known as Kia Rondo in the North American market before discontinuation) is making a comeback with a brand-new body also based on Kia Seltos.
Reported to be have been developed alongside the EV4, the newest compact crossover people mover for the burgeoning Indian market will share many of the design details including the overall size. Although won’t be offered as a 3 row, 6, or 7-seater configuration as the Caren’s, the EV4 is expected to offer even more cavernous space inside, relative to such compact dimensions, especially with the over-extended wheelbase and a flat floor typical of an EGMP based electric vehicle. The all-new Kia EV4, the second model in the EV series of electric vehicles, is to utilize not only the state-of-the-art EGMP platform from the EV6 sibling but also the existing power electric system that ranges from 168 hp to 320 hp.
Kia Carens developed for the Indian Market as a 3-row crossover
It’s also targeted to achieve the range of 220 to 300 miles or 350 to 482 km. The EV4 would have access to the 58-kWh or 77.4 kWh lithium-ion battery with NMC chemistry to attain such range, but to bring down the price of the vehicle to less than $35,000 as targeted, it’s likely that Kia would utilize the lithium iron phosphate battery or LFP battery instead for the first time.
Sensationalized by Tesla’s use of such a battery, the LFP is now the hottest thing in the EV scene right now.
As it uses relatively cheaper materials such as iron instead of Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt, or NMC used in the battery of the current lineup of Hyundai motor group EVs, it’s known to be 20-30% cheaper per kWh compared to the lithium-ion NMC batteries, however, it has lower energy density too, which is about 60-70% of the NMC battery. Therefore, while a lithium-ion battery would render between 400 km to 500km, the equivalent LFP battery would only render 300-400 km.
LFP vs NMC Comparision
However, there is a newly developed technology that packs the battery cells more densely, such as cell-to-pack, which directly integrates cells into a battery pack, without being packaged into modules first, as used in most current battery designs. This process of reducing the packing volume and weight effectively increases the energy density of the battery by 10-15%. Also known as the blade battery, a name coined by the Chinese battery and EV manufacturer BYD, is what has been introduced in Tesla’s Model 3 standard range variant for the Chinese market. and beginning to reach international markets such as the UK.
With the added benefits such as being a safer battery as it’s more heat tolerant and longer-lasting, up to 4 times more cycle life than typical NMC batteries, LFP batteries are now finding places in other premium EVs, such as Mercedes Benz, in its more basic EQA and EQB models in the near future.
For these reasons, it’s not a coincidence that BYD’s biggest competitor in native China, CATL has recently signed a partnership and license agreement for its cell-to-pack technology with the Hyundai group to supply its version of the blade battery to the Korean auto giant, as well as to transfer the license to Hyundai’s parts arm Mobis so that Hyundai is able to eventually produce LFP battery itself. This is significant as the deal will allow for use of this tech in electric cars and other products for global markets, and not limited to the Chinese market, as the patent associated with it only permitted the use in China until now.
NMC vs LFP Compositions
What this means is that the new LFP battery with the latest structural element can be used to reduce the price and maintain adequate performance in entry-level electric vehicles such as the EV4, destined for most of the international markets. The LFP cell to pack battery will definitely be a huge factor in reducing the price of the EVs in general, as the battery is known to account for up to 50% of the cost in a typical EV.
Also, the LFP battery will surely find its place in the other entry-level EV models such as the upcoming Hyundai IONIQ 3, a platform sharing sibling of the EV4, which will make its introduction around the same time, as well as even smaller models such as the IONIQ 1 city car, already being developed using 400-volt Borg-Warner sourced power electric system to even further reduce the cost.
However, it’s doubtful that The LFP cell-to-pack battery will be the norm for the bigger and more sophisticated Hyundai group EVs requiring longer range and faster charging, as Hyundai is busy working on the next-generation lithium-ion battery such as lithium-metal technology, which would increase the effective range of the EV by at least 30% while reducing the charge time to 12 minutes, 10 to 90%.
Hyundai IONIQ 1 features 400V architecture (watch the full video: https://youtu.be/qMlabWnfCcc)
The EV4’s expected launch is to take place in 2023, along with the much bigger EV9. However, as earlier mentioned, as the EV4 is primarily developed for Europe, it’s not entirely certain whether all markets will receive the new small dedicated electric vehicle. A case in point is the native Korean market, where the consumers generally favor bigger cars, it’s uncertain that Kia would field another car in the relatively small compact crossover segment, especially when newly developed EVs such as Niro EV already has a strong presence. The same goes for the North American market, which has a similar disposition towards smaller compact cars as Korea. However, as seen in the increase in popularity of small crossovers such as Seltos and Kona in recent years, the EV4’s presence in the fast-growing EV market doesn’t seem so unlikely, especially in such a huge car market like the US.
The Kia EV4 with an attractive styling as seen in the Kia Carens, with one of the most advanced 800-volt EV platforms that offers blazing charging speed, a range similar to the EV6 at 220 miles to 300 miles. and the affordability attained by the new LFP battery, sounds like a match made in heaven that could break open the sales for Kia, not only in Europe but globally for people looking for a great entry-level electric vehicle to get into the EV game.
WATCH THE FULL VIDEO: https://youtu.be/FOWk0R0PJGI