The new Kia EV6 just made its world premiere earlier. And with its introduction comes Kia’s promise of long-range, zero-emissions power, 800V ultra-fast charging and distinctive styling to the crossover SUV market. The Kia EV6 is the brand’s first car to be based on the company’s new platform dedicated to battery electric vehicles (BEV).
This is the first BEV crossover launched under the new Kia design philosophy, ‘Opposites United’. It showcases a future-oriented EV design characterised with high-tech details. Powered exclusively by electric energy, the EV6 comes with a choice of multiple long-range, zero-emission powertrain configurations. The 800V charging capability means the EV6 can go from 10% to 80% battery charge in just 18 minutes. Moreover, the more exciting GT version can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 260 km/h to offer a more exhilarating drive.
The EV6 is built on the all-new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) and forms the first part of Kia’s transition to the new era of electrification under the new brand slogan, ‘Movement that inspires’. It also begins the mid-to-long term strategy for BEVs, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid electric (HEV) vehicles to make up 40% of Kia’s total sales by 2030, with an annual sales target of 1.6 million units for these eco-friendly models.
As part of this objective, Kia aims to grow its BEV sales to 880,000 units in 2030 and become a top global seller. The EV6 represents the first of 11 new BEV models from Kia by 2026. Seven will be built on E-GMP architecture, and four derivative EVs will be based on existing models.
“EV6 is the embodiment of the new Kia. It is born to inspire every journey, through bold design, progressive engineering, innovative technologies, and exciting electric performance,” Ho Sung Song, Kia’s President & CEO said. “EV6 also represents the beginning of Kia’s long-term commitment to sustainable mobility, accelerating the transition not only to clean transportation, but also products, materials and manufacturing.”
The EV6 will be produced in South Korea and will go on sale in selected global markets from the second half of 2021. Kia will be taking preorders beginning from 30 March in some markets.
Designed to deliver something different in the crossover class, the GT version of the Kia EV6 offers a distinctive, impactful exterior with high-tech features, as well as unprecedented levels of performance from a Kia electric vehicle.
At the front, Kia’s ‘tiger face’ has been re-interpreted for the digital era. Forming part of this ‘Digital Tiger Face’, daytime running lights display a sleek, modern appearance and include a ‘sequential’ dynamic light pattern. Below this, a low air intake visually widens the front of the car, accentuating its high-tech image. Meanwhile, the side profile displays a crossover-inspired silhouette, which is modern, sleek and aerodynamic. A character line runs along the bottom of the doors, curving upwards towards the rear wheel arches to visually elongate the profile of the car.
Designed in part to realize ultimate aerodynamic performance, the rear displays a sloping C-pillar with an integrated black glossy insert which appears to extend the window glass. Above this sits a prominent wing-type roof spoiler that channels air downwards towards a raised lower spoiler, which sits atop the car’s unique rear light cluster.
Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design Center, elaborated: “EV6, as the first dedicated Kia EV, is a showcase of human-centred, progressive design and electrified power. We strongly believe EV6 is a compelling and relevant model for the new EV era. 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.”
The interior design also benefits greatly from the application of Kia’s dedicated E-GMP platform. Despite the EV6’s compact exterior dimensions, its 2,900 mm wheelbase results in a cabin space similar to many mid-size SUVs.
“People are first attracted by the exterior of cars, but they eventually fall in love with the interior – where they spend most of their time. So, designing an inspiring space for the EV6 was the most important thing for us. We believe EV6 can inspire customers by boosting their creativity,” commented Jochen Paesen, Vice President for Interior Design.
One of the most striking elements is a seamless high-tech curved infotainment screen. The simple form language of the wide screen and dashboard give the interior an open feel. Relaxation seats are slim, lightweight and contemporary, and clad in modern, visually interesting and robust fabrics created using recycled plastics – equivalent to 111 plastic water bottles.
Further, the EV6 offers intelligent and flexible interior packaging and an abundance of cabin storage areas, including 520 liters (VDA) of trunk space with the second row seats in place. When the second row seats are folded down, stowage capacity increases to approximately 1,300 liters. The car also features a front trunk which provides up to an additional 52 liters of stowage space for 2WD models and 20 liters for AWD models.
The Kia EV6 will offer several choices of fully-electric, zero-emission powertrain configurations including long-range (77.4 kWh) and standard-range (58.0 kWh) high-voltage battery packs. The Kia EV6 GT-line is available with both long-range and standard-range battery packs, while the EV6 GT features the long-range battery pack only. This is Kia’s first electric vehicle to be available with two-wheel (2WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) options – the latter offering enhanced dynamic capability in even the most challenging conditions.
The 2WD long-range 77.4 kWh EV6 can travel over 510 kilometers on a single charge, based on the WLTP combined cycle. With a maximum 605 Nm torque available on the AWD version, the EV6 can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.2 seconds. The 77.4 kWh battery pack is paired with a 168 kW (229 PS) electric motor powering the rear wheels, while for AWD models, a 239 kW (325 PS) electric motor powers the front and rear wheels.
Meanwhile, the standard-range 58.0 kWh EV6 can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.2 seconds, with a maximum 605 Nm torque available on the AWD version. The 58.0 kWh battery pack is paired with a 125 kW electric motor powering the rear wheels. While the AWD models use a 173 kW electric motor to power the front and rear wheels.
Kia’s new E-GMP platform also reduces complexity through modularization and standardization, allowing for rapid and flexible development of products with varied attributes. This flexible development can satisfy various customer needs for vehicle performance within a single model line like EV6.
As for the EV6 GT, it is equipped with 430 kW dual motors to take electric performance to another level. With a maximum 740 Nm torque available, the AWD GT accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.5 seconds, and can reach a top speed of 260 km/h (preliminary development targets). With the addition of electronic Limited Slip Differential software to the EV6 GT version, drivers will enjoy confident control and dynamic ride and handling in all conditions.
“The GT version of EV6 demonstrates our technological leadership through its combination of outstanding high-speed charging and acceleration performance like a super sports car. With our dedicated EV platform, there is no need for compromise between inspiring spaciousness and performance,” said Albert Biermann, President and Head of R&D Division for Hyundai Motor Group.
To replenish power, the EV6 offers 800V and 400V charging capabilities, without the need for additional components or adapters. The car is capable of a high-speed charge from 10% to 80% in just 18 minutes on all variations or a top-up charge of 100 km driving range in less than four and a half minutes (2WD with the 77.4-kWh battery option).
The car’s charging system is more flexible than previous generation BEVs thanks to an Integrated Charging Control Unit (ICCU). The ICCU enables a new vehicle-to-load (V2L) function, which is capable of discharging energy from the vehicle battery. The V2L function can supply up to 3.6 kW of power and is capable, as an example, of operating a 55″ television and air conditioner simultaneously for more than 24 hours. The system is also able to charge another EV, if needed.
With more than 35% charge left in the battery, the EV6 can tow items weighing up to 1,600 kg. Together with the V2L function, EV6 owners can take everything they need on an outdoor adventure with friends and family and do it all with zero emissions.
The EV6 is also fitted with energy-recuperation technologies to maximize driving range. This includes Kia’s latest-generation energy-efficient heat pump as a standard feature, which scavenges waste heat from the car’s coolant system. This ensures that at -7 degrees Celsius, the car can achieve 80% of the range that would be possible at 25 degrees Celsius.
Also featured is the latest generation of Kia’s smart regenerative braking system, which is operated by paddle shifters behind the steering wheel so drivers can quickly and easily slow the car and recuperate kinetic energy to maximize driving range and efficiency. Drivers can choose from six regenerative braking levels (none, 1 to 3, ‘i-PEDAL’, or auto mode), depending on the desired level of energy recuperation. The system’s ‘i-PEDAL’ driving mode also allows the car to harvest the maximum amount of energy from its brakes, and enables the driver to bring the car to a gentle halt without needing to push the brake pedal.
Additionally, the EV6 is designed to make travelling safer, easier and less stressful. The high-tech infotainment system includes 12″ dual screens. Curved displays applied to the EV6 have thin film panels that utilise new structure and advanced technology for reducing impact of light. The cluster and infotainment system are connected as if they were wrapped around one body with a reinforced glass. Extending from the steering wheel to the center of the car, it displays a digital cluster in front of the driver, and infotainment system above the center console.
The EV6 also features an augmented reality (AR) head-up display system, which projects driving information onto the base of the windscreen in the driver’s line of sight. The system displays alerts from the car’s Advanced Driver Assistance System, details of vehicle speed, and turn-by-turn navigation instructions.
Also fitted is the ‘Kia Connect’ system (previously named UVO) which features a range of Kia real time services and over-the-air (OTA) updates. Accessible through the touchscreen, Kia Connect allows users to find locations and pricing of EV charging points, view their vehicle’s charging status, plan smart charging schedules and check the range radius based on the remaining charge.
A powerful 14-speaker Meridian® surround audio system is also available, a first for a Kia BEV, to deliver a truly immersive sound experience. The 14-speaker audio system has been engineered by the experts at Meridian and features several of the British audio pioneer’s proprietary digital signal processing (DSP) technologies. Meridian’s core sound philosophy has been integrated into the EV6 allowing customers to enjoy natural, lifelike and authentic audio on the move.
The speaker system also offers Active Sound Design (ASD), a newly-developed feature by Kia which provides drivers with audible feedback to the speed that the car is travelling and controlled via a user interface.
Safety-wise, the EV6 offers its class-leading suite of driver assistance systems (ADAS). Safe Exit Assist (SEA) helps people avoid collisions with a rear side vehicle when exiting EV6. When the occupant opens the door to exit the vehicle after a stop, the system provides a warning if an approaching vehicle from the rear side is detected. SEA also helps keep the rear door closed through operation of the electronic child lock.
Lane Following Assist (LFA) helps center the vehicle in the lane. When driving, LFA can be switched on and off with the press of a button. Highway Driving Assist 2 (HDA 2) helps maintain a set distance and speed from the vehicle ahead when driving on a highway and also helps center the vehicle in the lane, even through a curve. In case of an adjacent vehicle driving in close proximity, HDA 2 assists to adjust the EV6’s path, so to avoid any possible risk of collision. Also, with the driver’s hands on the steering wheel and above a certain speed, a click of the indicator stalk will move the car into the corresponding lane. Last but not least, Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) helps remotely park or exit a parking spot with the driver operating EV6 from outside the vehicle.
Will the Kia EV6 land here? Right now, we seem to be still at the top of a top-down adoption of new tech i.e. the EVs are at the premium range. Kia is aiming to make the EV6 a mass market vehicle. So it will be a mismatch with our market at least in the short term. In the longer term, it will depend on the institutional and infrastructure support for the expansion of such a market. Furthermore, if carbon footprint is a concern, manufacturers may not want to set up production too far away from their supply bases.