Kia’s EV5: The future of electric crossovers and where in North America it will be sold

KIa EV5 (

KIa EV5 (

Kia’s latest EV creation, the EV5, aims at redefining electric crossovers, but will it reach U.S. shores?

Kia, the South Korean automaker, has been making waves in the electric vehicle (EV) market with its new offerings. The EV5, a compact electric crossover, was initially showcased in China in August, but during Kia’s recent EV Day event in South Korea, more details about this exciting EV emerged. While it’s clear that the EV5 is headed to North America, the exact locations within the continent where it will be available are still shrouded in uncertainty.

During the EV Day presentation, Kia’s President and CEO, Ho Sung Song, confirmed that the EV5 is destined for “America” with a planned arrival in mid-2025. However, Kia later issued a statement clarifying that the EV5 is confirmed for North America but won’t be sold in the United States. This decision might raise eyebrows, but it’s essential to remember that North America encompasses more than just the United States, including Canada and Mexico. So, it’s likely the EV5 will find its way to those regions while bypassing the U.S. market.

The reasoning behind this decision is complex. One factor could be the sluggish sales of two-row midsize crossovers like the Honda Passport in the United States. American customers tend to prefer three-row models, such as the EV9. Additionally, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) introduced a new $7,500 tax credit for EVs. Since Kia doesn’t plan to manufacture the EV5 in North America, it could be ineligible for this tax credit, potentially raising its cost. However, keep in mind that circumstances may change over time, as 2025 is still several years away.

The EV5 is built on Kia’s flexible E-GMP architecture, shared with other Kia EVs like the EV6 and EV9, as well as the recently unveiled EV3 and EV4. Its size is comparable to a Sportage, but it boasts a boxier and more futuristic design. Inside, it features a similar layout to the EV9, including a prominent screen spanning the dashboard with dual 12.3-inch displays and a 5.0-inch screen for climate control functions. The center dash houses flush-mounted backlit buttons. Additionally, the unique squircle-shaped steering wheel from the EV9 makes an appearance in the EV5.

One notable distinction is the seating arrangement. The Chinese-spec model features front seats that resemble a raised bench, a design exclusive to the Chinese market. In contrast, the rest of the world will have a more conventional two-seat layout. The reasoning behind this unique design remains somewhat unclear, especially considering that there is no seatbelt for a potential middle passenger.

Details about the powertrain for the U.S.-spec model are yet to be confirmed, but it’s known that the EV5 will utilize a 400-volt vehicle architecture, unlike the EV6 and EV9. This limits its compatibility with 350-kilowatt DC fast-chargers. The maximum charging speed has not been officially disclosed, with a Kia representative mentioning “more than 150 kilowatts.” This 400-volt version of the E-GMP platform is a cost-effective choice that will influence the final pricing of the EV5.

The Chinese version of the EV5 will offer standard, long-range, and long-range all-wheel-drive models, each with different battery capacities and power outputs. The estimated driving range for the long-range model is around 447 miles, albeit on a different testing cycle than the EPA’s, which would translate to approximately 290 miles under EPA guidelines.

Kia mentions that the Korean version of the EV5 will come with different battery options, tailoring driving ranges to meet market demands. The SUV will feature vehicle-to-load (V2L) charging capabilities, and it will include Kia’s suite of driver-assistance technologies.

Excitingly, Kia has confirmed the development of a higher-performance EV5 GT. However, for those eagerly awaiting its arrival, it’s essential to remember that the U.S. market may not be among the first to receive this exciting EV. The final destination for the Kia EV5 in North America remains a question mark, with potential availability in Vancouver and Merida as hopeful possibilities. Kia enthusiasts will be eagerly awaiting official announcements in the near future.