Like many major cities around the globe, New York is studying the idea of limiting traffic and may ban most vehicles, especially those using internal combustion engines.
So, it would seem, Times Square was the perfect spot for Kia to introduce its first long-range battery-electric vehicle, the EV6. The midsize SUV is the first in what will become an extended family of BEVs for the Korean brand — and a key part of the electrification program parent Hyundai Motor Group is pulling together.
Kia already offers several battery-electric vehicles, including the Niro and a version of its popular Soul crossover. But, “The EV6 marks a new and transformative era in Kia electrification,” said Sean Yoon, president & CEO of Kia North America and Kia America. “This innovative crossover leverages the many benefits of its advanced platform to offer a level of technological excitement and convenience that will provide a superb ownership experience.”
The next big thing
The Kia EV6 features a 114.2-inch wheelbase, roughly the same as the automaker’s conventionally powered Telluride SUV. But by adopting what has quickly become the industry norm, a skateboard-like platform with batteries and motors below the floorboards, it offers additional space for passengers and cargo. The flat floor design means 102 cubic feet for occupant and 27.7 cf for cargo. That nearly doubles to 53.5 cf with the second row folded down.
The platform itself, dubbed E-GMP, will be shared with other Kia BEVs to come, as well as models coming from sibling Hyundai, starting with the new Ioniq 5. Eventually, the high-line Genesis brand also will utilize the E-GMP architecture.
The layout provides significant flexibility in terms of the way a battery pack and motors can be laid out. The Kia EV6 will be offered with a choice of either rear- or all-wheel drive. The RWD package will be available with either a standard-range 58-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion pack and motor producing 167 horsepower, or a 77.4 kWh pack with output bumped to 218 hp.
All versions of the all-wheel-drive package use the extended-range battery which can deliver up to 300 miles between charges. But the motor output ranges from 313 to 576 hp. That translates into 0-60 times of 5.1 and 3.5 seconds, respectively.
Fast vehicle with fast charging
The EV6 will come with an 11 kilowatt onboard charger that, using 240-volt AC, can fully recharge a drained battery in just over seven hours, according to Kia.
The new battery-electric SUV also boasts what the Korean carmaker bills as the “world’s first patented multi-charging system,” capable of handling both 400-volt and 800-volt public quick chargers. At the higher level, and utilizing the latest, 350 kW chargers, it can add 70 miles of range in less than 5 minutes, and up to 210 miles in under 18 minutes.
The EV6 features “Vehicle-to-Load” functionality. In plain English, that means it can sub as a rolling source of power, whether for a picnic or to power up appliances and lights should your household grid go down.
“Electricity flows from the high-energy battery to an Integrated Charging Control Unit (ICCU), providing 1,900 watts of power to electrical appliances, devices, tools and recreational equipment,” Kia explains, adding that there are two ways to access 110-volt power, starting with a standard outlet in the cabin. One also can use an adaptor to plug into the BEV’s charging port.
A familiar look
There are some familiar design cues, the EV6 picking up on Kia’s latest “Opposites United” design language used for the brand’s updated Stinger model. But it pushes things a step further, much of that to enhance range-extending aerodynamics.
The familiar Kia “tiger nose” grille becomes the new “Digital Tiger” design. The reality is that there’s little need for airflow under the hood of an electric vehicle, so what little remains of the grille is actually sealed off and largely for show.
The EV6’s headlamps now offer a sequential dynamic light pattern. The exterior door handles are now flush to reduce wind drag. A high rear deck doubles as a wind-cheating spoiler. And there’s a new, cross-car rear light cluster. Overall, the EV6 adopts a very coupe-like body shape.
Inside, the Kia EV6 features a modern, minimalist layout with some manual controls but many functions handed off to its larger infotainment touchscreen. The gauge cluster is digital, as well. And an augmented reality, or AR, head-up display, projects graphics to help make it easier for a driver to understand the navigation system’s directions.
Cool on the inside too
The “leather” in the cabin is actually vegan and there’s been an effort to use recycled plastics, where possible. Slim front seats, meanwhile, help boost passenger space while reducing weight.
Access to the rear cargo compartment is made easy with a power liftgate and there’s also a roomy “frunk” where a conventional engine would go.
There are plenty of other high-tech features, including a 14-speaker Meridian Premium Audio system, wireless smartphone charging, an available WiFi hotspot and the ability to use Apple and Android smart watches to track vehicle information, such as charge status.
Add a “roster” of advanced driver assistance systems, such as forward-collision warning with auto braking, remote smart-parking assist, blind-spot assistance and highway-driving assistance, among others.
The first EV6 models will go on sale in all 50 states early next year, with the 576-hp GT model to follow in late 2022. Kia plans to start taking orders for a limited-run EV6 First Edition model on June 3. It will feature the 313 hp AWD system, extended-range battery, augmented-reality HUD and other features. Just 1,500 copies will be produced. The automaker has not yet revealed pricing.