Categories: News

Electric for less than €20,000: Kia has done it!

While in Europe, Volkswagen, Renault and Stellantis are battling to offer an electric car for less than €25,000. In South Korea, Kia is unveiling an electric model that is as livable as it is practical, displayed at just over €18,000…

Keijidoshas are truly a standout in the automotive industry. These small cars, literally translated as “light vehicles”, are essential and exclusive to the Japanese car market. They emerged after World War II. At the time, the country was looking to make cars accessible to as many people as possible. These cars benefited from more advantageous taxation than vehicles of higher categories. But they were also limited in terms of size, displacement and power. These restrictions have not changed since 1998, and are as follows. A length (maximum) of 3.40 meters, a height of 2 meters, a width of 1.48 meters, a displacement of 660 cm³ and a power of 64 horsepower. These constraints often result in original, cubic and vertical shapes, in order to maximize the interior space and the entry of light.

From Japan to South Korea

Affordable, economical and fuel efficient, these models are very successful in Japan. In 2022, out of the 4.2 million vehicles registered in the country, 38% (i.e. 1.6 million units) were kei-cars! “Japanese-Japanese” models, sold mainly in the archipelago, which is very protectionist in terms of automobiles. In 2022, foreign manufacturers only granted themselves a 6% market share! Of the top 5 selling designs in Japan, four of them were keijodoshas. The Honda N Box dominated the market, followed by the Nissan Note (the only “normal” model, Toyota Roomy, Daihatsu Tanto et Suzuki Space. The kei-cars are therefore a success story of which the Japanese have the secret!

But this fashion effect also had a favorable echo in a neighboring country: South Korea ! Since 1983, the government of the peninsula has implemented a similar system, which advantage of compact models over small engines. THE Daewoo Tico, Kia Morning (Picanto), and the last Hyundai Casper belong to this specific category.

A new electric Kia for less than €20,000

It is following this trend that was launched in 2011 the Kia Ray. This cubic city car (based on the Kia Morning/Picanto) bears a strong resemblance to Japanese keijidoshas. Everything in its design has been made for maximize space and modularity. Generous trunk, sliding doors without a central pillar, flat floor… It is also a historic model for the Koreans, in that it was a question of the first national electric car! Marketed from 2011 to 2018, it had not met with great success due to lack of sufficient autonomy.

Kia has learned from its mistakes and unveils today a whole new version: the Kia Ray EV is back ! She offers this time 210 kilometers of autonomy which is honourable. Above all, its selling price is contained there under €20,000 : €18,800 exactly! The Koreans, with this novelty, prove that it is possible to do a smart and affordable electric model. Renault, Volkswagen and Stellantis would do well to follow this example for Europe…

Read also :

Toyota: the future novelties expected for 2023

Suzuki: 5 electric models in preparation

Nissan Max-Out: a sci-fi electric convertible

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