South Korean automaker Kia is reportedly on track to kick off the production of its new EV3 and EV4 models after successfully converting its traditional car factory to an electric vehicle manufacturing plant.
As soon as the upgraded factory launches operation, Kia’s upcoming entry-level EVs will start rolling in the production line.
Kia’s second vehicle factory in Gwangmyeong will finally resume production next month after an eight-month retooling to support electric vehicle manufacturing, The Korea Herald reports, citing industry sources’ remarks on Tuesday.
The local publication indicated a Hyundai Motor official already verified the news. However, the source omitted to share any details about the plans.
Nonetheless, the company official mentioned that the “smaller EV3 and EV4 will diversify Kia’s current EV lineups.” The new models will join the brand’s current portfolio, which includes the EV5, EV6, and flagship EV9.
In addition, these new models will be more affordable than the Kia EV6 to attract more budget-conscious buyers. Recent reports estimate the Kia EV3 and EV4 to cost around 40 million won ($29,900) and 30 million won ($22,500).
Interestingly, the upgraded factory will reportedly have an annual production capacity of 150,000 next-gen electric vehicles, including the Kia EV3 and EV4.
About the Gwangmyeong factory conversion
Kia reportedly established the Gwangmyeong factory’s production lines in 1973. It used to produce the brand’s traditional Pride and Stonic vehicles.
Now that Kia has completed the factory’s eight-month retooling, the production lines are ready to kick off electric vehicle manufacturing.
The successful electrification also enabled the Gwangmyeong factory to advance as the brand’s first facility dedicated to electric vehicles. According to Kia CEO Song Ho-sung, the factory will employ parent company Hyundai’s latest production technology developed by its new innovation hub in Singapore.
These technologies incorporate Artificial Intelligence, robots (even robotic dogs), and data-powered operating systems, among others, to improve the factory’s product quality. The CEO aims to have 95% of the vehicles from the factory pass quality tests during production.
What’s currently known about the new models?
Kia introduced three new electric vehicle concepts on its recent EV day in October 2023, including the EV3, EV4, and $35,000 EV5.
The Kia EV3 will arrive as an all-electric crossover. It will reportedly feature the EV9’s technologies, design, and practicality but incorporate them into a smaller package.
On the other hand, the EV4 is expected to launch as an “entirely new type of EV sedan.” It will offer eco-friendly interior features and two digital screens.
Hyundai and Kia have yet to reveal more details about these upcoming models in the latter’s lineup. What we know for sure is that these models will support Kia’s target of selling 1 million EVs in 2026 and 1.6 million+ in 2030.
Kia’s strategy to launch smaller and lower-cost EV models will be crucial for the company to stay competitive amid the price war Tesla and BYD initiated. It is also worth noting that Tesla is currently developing a $25,000 model that will ride on its next-gen platform, making it more significant for Kia to boost its efforts in the rapidly growing market.