On the 30th of March, Kia delivered their world premiere for the EV6, their first electric vehicle to utilise the company’s E-GMP architecture that the South Korean firm hopes will completely transmute the face of the brand into a proponent of innovation in sustainable manufacturing and of e-mobility. The first EV6 models can be ordered for UK deliveries at some point in May, although Kia are allowing consumers contemplating buying an EV6 to place £100 deposits in order to reserve an EV6, which are able to be refunded. Kia, as was made transparent in the recent premiere, want the EV6 to secure them a holdfast in the incipient and rapidly evolving electric vehicle market, and summarise their motives for the future as they delve into this exhilarating region of the motoring industry: they are dedicated to electrification and the EV6 is only the start.
The EV6 will be available in both rear wheel and four wheel drive variants and will also be offered with a 58 kWh or 77.4 kWh battery, although only the 77.4 kWh, rear wheel drive variant will be obtainable for customers in the UK at launch. This particular version will be capable of 316 miles of range, whilst its single electric motor will produce a sufficient 225 brake horsepower. However, the four wheel drive, 77.4 kWh EV6, will produce a total of 321 bhp and 605 Nm of torque, and will manage 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds. As mentioned, there will also be two 58 kWh variants, though both will not be available until after launch, with the rear wheel drive version producing 168 bhp, whereas the four wheel drive rendering, with its two motors, will produce 232 bhp and a maximum of 605 Nm of torque, and will accomplish 0-60 mph in a time of 6.2 seconds. Kia are yet to reveal range specifications for any of the 58 kWh versions, however, it seems logical that they will be able to travel further than their 77.4 kWh counterparts due to their smaller and less energy demanding batteries.
Kia will also eventually offer the EV6 GT, which has clearly been designed and oriented to give even some of the most high performance and fastest accelerating sports cars a run for their money. Its two electric motors produce a combined 577 bhp that enables the EV6 GT to leap from 0-60 mph in a blisteringly quick 3.5 seconds. Moreover, a four wheel drive system will come as standard on the EV6 GT, which will have a top speed of 162 mph, and may even be available at the launch of the first edition of the regular EV6 due to the nature of the E-GMP platform and its components.
The 800V “high-speed, multi-charging” architecture boasted by the EV6 makes it compatible with 270 kW chargers that will restore the battery from 10 to 80% in 18 minutes, which equates to 62 miles of range in 4 and a half minutes. Moreover, a vehicle to load function enables the EV6 to supply 3.6 kW to various electrical appliances that Kia suggests could be used “on an outdoor adventure”, when taking into account that the vehicle will be able to tow a maximum of 1600 kg when its charge exceeds 35%.
Like many electric SUV style vehicles, the EV6 takes advantage of the absence of a combustion engine vehicle on its flat platform, to maximise available interior space, which has become an increasingly important consideration for those responsible for vehicle design, with the multiplying capabilities and sophistication of integrated autonomous technologies. As the roles a driver has previously been required to perform have been delegated to computer software and their expectations have thus diminished greatly, the need for other occupations to prevent a driver and their passengers from succumbing to boredom has been imperative. Kia have tailored their first dedicated electric vehicle to satisfy the demand for practicality that is prevalent amongst electric vehicles, particularly SUVs, with the EV6’s 2900 mm wheelbase providing it with a capacious interior that is comparable to mid and large SUVs above its class, despite maintaining a compact shape in terms of dimensions. Boot capacity stands at 520 litres, which can be extended to 1300 litres when the seats are folded, with a surplus 52 litres in the front of rear wheel drive variants, and 20 litres in the front of four wheel drive models.
The interior itself has also been a primary focus for the EV6, which features two 12 inch screens, one for driving display and one for infotainment (any software updates will occur over the air ad independent of the driver), situated on curved panels intended to provide a more immersive driving experience by covering a vast portion of the dashboard. There is a separate console devoted to climate control, which can be regulated and adjusted manually by LCD soft keys that can be customised at a whim to make the cabin more personalised and convenient for the driver.
There are myriad other features worth mentioning concerning the EV6 interior. There is a regenerative braking system that helps harvest energy from the road to replenish a depleting battery, which comes with six unique settings such as the “i-Pedal” that enables the vehicle to be driven with a single pedal by automatically bringing it to a stop without the need for manual intervention. Additionally, the EV6 contains zero gravity seats that can optimise body pressure distribution to enhance a feeling of comfort, in which upholstery is offered in the form of recycled PETs, vegan leather, or flaxseed oil tanned leather, all of which are sustainable alternatives to conventional fabrics and materials used in car seats. In fact, the number of recycled materials that have been incorporated into the interior is equal to approximately 111 empty plastic bottles. A heat pump also salvages any waste heat produced by the coolant or other systems and instead retains it to somewhat mitigate the hindrances of cold weather by allowing the EV6 to achieve 80% of its claimed range at normal temperatures, even at -7 degrees Celsius. Finally there are numerous integrated autonomous systems in the EV6, including an augmented reality head-up display that projects specific information onto the windscreen so they are visible to the driver, remote smart parking assist, adaptive cruise control, lane follow assist, safe exit assist, autonomous emergency braking, and automatic lane changing.
The first edition rear wheel drive, 77.4 kWh EV6 will cost £40,895 and will come furnished with all the technological and safety features that have become essential in modern vehicles. The EV6 GT-Line will be slightly more expensive at £43,895 and, despite sharing an identical powertrain, has been styled to compromise a sportier physique and will possess a LED ambient lighting system, suede upholstery, and a power-operated driver’s seat. The GT model will cost, as would be expected, a steep £58,295, although it will come equipped with 21-inch alloy wheels clad in Michelin tyres, neon green brake calipers, enlarged brakes, a sports steering wheel, and a more premium stereo system. Kia have not yet disclosed price information regarding the less powerful models and it remains unknown whether these, unlike their more powerful cousins, will qualify for the revised UK government grant for electric vehicles under the price threshold of £35,000.
So the EV6 clearly has the potential to transform Kia as a brand and steer them in the direction of e-mobility and sustainable motoring due to its emphasis on innovation, practicality, and comfort yet not at the expense of performance. However, Kia have indicated that they want the EV6 to inspire their customers and tempt them with the lure of the future for driving, and time will only tell if this objective is realised.
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