The electric vehicle market continues to expand, with models that are both more expensive and more affordable than ever becoming increasingly available.
On the affordable side of the spectrum, South Korean automaker Kia just made a surprising announcement: Its new EV5, soon to be released in China, will be much cheaper than initially expected, according to Electrek.
Initially expected to cost around $40,000, the actual starting price of the EV5 — set to become available to Chinese customers on Nov. 17 — will be a little more than half that, at around $22,000 (159,800 yuan).
The EV5 is the compact version of Kia’s EV9 (which is an amped-up version of the more affordable EV6). The EV9 is expected to become available to customers in the United States as early as the fourth quarter of 2023 for around $60,000, while the EV6 is available starting at $42,600. As of early September, there was no confirmation yet of what the EV5 would cost or even if it will be released in the U.S., according to Electrek, though it would hopefully be comparable to the price in China.
The $22,000 price of the EV5 significantly undercuts Tesla’s Model Y, which starts at about $36,000 (263,900 yuan) in China. With the refreshed Tesla Model 3 (aka Project Highland) on the way, such moves could help to trigger an EV price war that may result in even more affordable, environmentally friendly options for consumers.
There have long been rumors about Tesla eventually releasing a model that costs U.S. customers as little as $25,000, but some industry experts are not optimistic about that possibility becoming a reality.
“At this moment, a $25,000 [battery-powered EV] is difficult without compromising driving range,” Hyundai said in a statement quoted by CNBC.
“If [a $25,000 EV] materializes … and customers aren’t left feeling like they’ve compromised on all other aspects of rideability — including adequate range — that would be a minor miracle,” another industry insider told Forbes.
Nevertheless, commenters on Electrek were excited to learn about the much-cheaper-than-expected Chinese offering.
“Incredible starting price. Of course they haven’t revealed battery size, range, or other specs yet — which are critical. Based on size alone, it’s a good bet that the EV5 is aimed one segment below the Model Y,” wrote one commenter.
“Thanks for bringing more affordable EVs to the market but we also need them in the US market,” wrote another.
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