The base rear-drive EV6 Light starts at £42,115, and the top-of-the-line all-wheel-drive EV6 GT-Line model starts at £57,115.
The rear-wheel-drive version of the EV6 has an estimated range of 310 miles with a larger 77.4-kWh battery, and the more affordable 58-kWh version has a range of 232 miles.
It’s been more than two years since Hyundai’s executive vice chairman Chung Yishun announced that by 2025, the company’s three brands – Hyundai, Kia and Genesis – will launch 23 new pure electric vehicles. Hyundai broke the deadlock with the Ioniq 5. Now, Kia is coming to the Electric Vehicle party with the Kia EV6.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is an angular SUV with a sci-fi vibe, while the Kia EV6 is designed to be broadly appealing. It uses traditional curves to convey a sporty feel in a more saloon-like crossover. Both companies rely on the same powertrain, charging system and battery pack – provided by the Hyundai Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). Beyond that, it’s a battle to see who can more effectively win over consumers who say they want Electric Vehicles but have been on the sidelines. Kia executives believe about 70 percent of Kia EV6 buyers are new to electric vehicles.
Media images of the stylish Kia EV6 give the impression of a taut, muscular hatch. But getting close to Kia in person would dispel that notion. Yes, the Kia is a few inches lower and a few inches shorter than its modern electric sibling. It’s also lighter. However, the EV6 is surprisingly long and roomy. The scale and proportions are perfect for the family responsibilities that previous generations of Estate cars took on.
From the inside, the EV6 doesn’t feel like an SUV. There are no high places in the driver’s seat. Instead, there is a shorter front end – with a generous passenger space in the rear. There’s plenty of room for adult second-row passengers.
If you’re going to score against its main rivals, the Kia EV6 is 4.3 inches longer, 1.1 inches wider and has a 5.3-inch longer wheelbase than the Volkswagen ID.4. The EV6 is almost shorter and narrower than the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y.
Kia’s strategy is to offer plenty of space, performance and high tech, while maintaining a strong focus on what consumers say their first electric car must have: maximum range. The more SUV you add to a car, the less estimated range you get. If Kia beef up the front end, give it more ground clearance and bigger tyres, the range is cut. Getting to the 300-mile mark comes down to the right balance.
Kia beat that bogey, with an estimated 310 miles in the rear-wheel-drive version with the larger 77.4-kWh battery. Forget that 300 miles is far more than any driver’s daily needs, or that the all-wheel-drive model slips to 274 miles — the more affordable 58-kWh version gets a 232-mile rating. Marketing of the 300-plus-mile option is an invitation to worry-free electric vehicles.
Likewise, the EV6’s 800-volt architecture means the Kia can add about 217 miles of range in 18 minutes — when plugged into a 350-kilowatt superfast highway charging station. This is practically the same time as the petrol station’s highway stops. Never mind, about 90% of charging happens at home. With the EV6, Kia eliminates objections to Electric Vehicle adoption.
Kia is the second automaker to offer 800-volt capability. The Porsche Taycan electric sports car is the first.
If you want to enjoy the rocket launch from a Tesla Model S Plaid or Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance vehicle, the pedal mapping that delivers the EV6’s 320 horses is tame. The EV6 isn’t slow, but it unleashes its power with care, again protecting the most important range.
Electric cars are automatically equipped with high torque, which most petrol or diesel car drivers will find excellent. So instead of delivering acceleration punch, Kia lets the exterior design convey a sporty feel. A jet fighter soundtrack piped into the cabin during rapid acceleration completes the impression.
Some of Kia’s styling tries too hard, too. For example, the “road blade” line of sight from the door sills to the rear spoiler won’t be to everyone’s taste. The dashboard’s busy graphics and interface design also emphasize visual dazzle over refinement and ease of use. Kia, on the other hand, deserves credit for equipping the EV6 with the ability to power appliances like a laptop or blender through an internal socket and charging port. This add-on might come in handy.
If the EV6 is designed to appeal to the masses, you might be wondering about the price tag. The small-battery, 232-mile variant starts at £42,115, nearly £1,200 more than the Hyundai Ioniq 5’s starting price. But the more desirable and possibly more popular 310-mile GT-Line RWD version starts at £52,415 and climbs with more goodies.
Tracking the average EV price shows that a decade ago, a non-Tesla EV, such as the Nissan LEAF, sold for around £30,800. At the time, the average selling price for a Tesla was about £92,000. With the arrival of the Model 3, Tesla’s average transaction value fell to just over £60,000 in 2019, before settling at around £56,600 in 2021. Meanwhile, non-Tesla electric vehicles are trading up to £49,700 in 2021 as other automakers roll out electric vehicles.
The average Electric Vehicle transaction price across the market is approaching £55,000, just slightly above the typical price tag for all vehicles.
In other words, the long-held belief that Electric Vehicles will become mainstream only when long-range models are priced at £30,000 is no longer true. Electric cars are now priced between £50,000 and £55,000, and no one blinks. That’s where most Kia EV6s are likely to sell — especially if supplies are limited.
The global production capacity of EV6 will reach 100,000 units in the first year, and competition in other markets is fierce. It’s doing well in Korea. It’s doing well in Europe and it’s expected to do well here.
The Kia EV6 represents a bold shift from Kia to electric vehicles, just as the sporty Kia Stinger showed a few years ago how the brand is moving away from its economy-box heritage. Furthermore, the EV6 shows that the brand can offer a very competitive, stylish, long-range, fast-charging battery-powered vehicle in the most popular crossover segment.
All signs point to Kia porting the EV6’s attributes and capabilities to a larger all-electric full-size SUV over the next few years, followed by a smaller zero-emissions hatch. (Maybe EV9 and EV3, respectively.) The EV6 gives Kia a place in the most important electric market. They believe there’s a void in the EV6, and think it’s different from a Hyundai, a Volkswagen or a Ford Mustang Mach-E.
Kia hopes they have found something that appeals to a younger, more affluent audience.
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