Kia has released the first official images of the new EV6, the Korean carmaker’s first model based off a dedicated battery-electric platform.
Set to make its formal debut later this month, the EV6 will be followed by six other all-electric models Kia plans to bring to market by 2027. The company also plans to launch an assortment of plug-in and hydrogen-powered products. CEO Ho Sung Song in January set a target of achieving 25% of Kia’s global sales with its various plug-based models by 2029.
“EV6, as the first dedicated Kia EV, is a showcase of human-centered, progressive design and electrified power,” said Karim Habib, senior vice president and head of Global Design Center. “With EV6 we aimed to create a distinctive, impactful design by using a combination of sophisticated, high-tech features on pure and rich volumes, while providing a unique space as a futuristic EV.”
Kia and Hyundai share the same BEV platform
Kia has so far sold about 100,000 battery-electric cars worldwide, products such as the Soul EV using platforms capable of handling a variety of different powertrain configurations. The EV6 is the first to go with a dedicated, skateboard-style platform. Dubbed the E-GMP, or Electric-Global Modular Platform, it is shared with the sibling Hyundai brand that also will use it for products like the new Ioniq 5 BEV.
A quick glimpse of the Kia EV6 immediately reveals some significant changes in design philosophy, starting with the lack of the brand’s familiar “Tiger Nose” grille. With no engine to cool or fill with an air/gas mixture, there’s far less need for air under the hood, so the EV6 doesn’t need much of a grille at all.
Kia describes its new design language as “Opposites United,” hinting that the basic theme will be used “for all future vehicles.” There are several key elements to the look. It’s meant to be bold yet adopt an organic shape, for one thing. It “embraces new technologies and innovations,” Kia said in a statement. And it’s meant to find a “design equilibrium” by introducing tension to the surfaces of the EV6 yet finding a “serene” balance overall.
The overall look blends the Imagine concept Kia revealed at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show with the more familiar Kia Soul, though its not nearly as quirky as either of those models.
All three of Kia’s global design studios — in California, Germany and Korea — cooperated on the EV6 project.
“We want our products to deliver an instinctive and natural experience that improves the daily lives of our customers. Our aim is to design the physical experience of our brand and to create original, inventive and exciting electric vehicles. The ideas of our designers and the purpose of the brand are becoming more connected than ever, with our customers at the center of what we do and influencing every decision that we make,” added Habib.
Kia planning a mix of BEVs, PHEVs
Kia currently offers all-electric versions of the Soul, as well as the Niro. The latter is a green machine capable of using different drivetrain options. It’s also offered as a plug-in hybrid, as is a version of the K5.
Kia isn’t saying anything about the EV6 drivetrain, holding that for the global reveal later this month. We can get some ideas about what will come by checking out the new Hyundai Ioniq 5 sharing the same platform.
Details to follow
The base Ioniq 5 will rely on a single, rear-mounted motor producing 218 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, Hyundai revealed last month. That’s enough to launch from 0 to 100 km (0-62 mph) in 7.4 seconds. A twin-motor, all-wheel-drive package bumps that to 306 hp and 446 lb-ft and cuts launch times to 5.2 seconds.
Two battery packs will be available, one at 58 kilowatt-hours, the other at 72.6 kWh. The bigger pack, with the rear-drive motor layout should yield around 295 to 300 mile range, according to Hyundai. But that figure is based on the WLTP test cycle and will likely come in closer to 250 miles using the American EPA test process.
Charging can be handled using anything from a 120-volt outlet to the latest, 800-volt public quick chargers. Using the high-voltage system the battery packs can go from 10 to 80% state-of-charge in as little as 18 minutes, or add more than 60 miles of range in about 5 minutes.
With the Kia EV6 sharing the same E-GMP platform it’s quite likely it will share many of the same specifications as Hyundai’s first dedicated BEV.