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Kia solves EV supply problems, can deliver on 3,000 Niro EV pre-orders in Europe

Kia Motors UK this week announced that it has sufficient supply to clear an existing waiting list for 3,000 Niro EVs in Europe. It will take the company six months, through the middle of 2020, to make those deliveries.

Customers not already on the existing waiting list will take delivery starting in July 2020.

The first deliveries of the new and improved 2020 Kia Soul EV will begin in Europe in April. The Soul’s powertrain and battery system are shared with the “e-Niro,” as it’s called in Europe.

Paul Philpott, CEO of Kia Motors UK, said:

Since launching e-Niro at the beginning of the year, we have received unprecedented demand, which has been a challenge to fulfill. As we enter 2020 with the Soul EV and e-Niro, we and our 190-strong dealer network are ready to meet customer demand for all-electric cars.

We won’t see the new Kia Soul EV in the United States until about fall 2020. The outgoing 2019 model with just 111 miles of range has been mostly unavailable this year. The second-generation electric Soul bumps driving range to 243 miles. It’s also faster, bigger, and gets a visual upgrade.

Kia said that the Soul EV’s delay was due to a limited battery supply.

Kia sells EVs in about a dozen states, which could expand by the time the Soul EV arrives in late 2020.

In March 2019, I spoke with Alper Celik, senior product manager for Kia Motors Europe, about the company’s supply problems with e-Niro. He said:

The demand is much higher than our capacity. This year’s capacity for the electric Niro, more than 10,000 cars, have owners. It’s done.

Production is limited mainly because the battery supply is very limited. There are only a few suppliers of batteries in the world, including LG Chem, SK Innovation, Panasonic, and Tesla. These are the major suppliers, and their capacity is limited. That’s also because the minerals are limited. We are in discussion and negotiation with all the suppliers, but they are supplying to many other OEMs as well. And they have their own Tier 2 suppliers. All of this is making the supply chain very difficult.

Electrek’s Take

It’s great to hear that Kia is slowly solving its battery-supply issues.

But c’mon. Job one of an EV maker is to secure a supply of batteries. That’s why Tesla builds giant battery factories.

Kia has compelling, long-range electric vehicles in the Niro EV and Soul EV. If it believed in its electric cars, the company would plan ahead to line up battery supply, make the vehicle available in all 50 states, and sell, sell, sell. Let’s hope this week’s announcement moves Kia in that direction.

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Avatar for Bradley Berman Bradley Berman

Bradley writes about electric cars, autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and other tech that’s transforming society. He contributes to The New York Times, SAE International, Via magazine, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and others.