After giving us a brief glimpse last week, Kia officially debuted its new EV6 compact crossover on Tuesday. As suspected, the first dedicated BEV built on the company’s new E-GMP platform will offer a bevy of all-electric powertrain choices as well as the option for AWD.
“EV6, as the first dedicated Kia EV, is a showcase of human-centred, progressive design and electrified power,” Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design Center, said in a statement. “We strongly believe EV6 is a compelling and relevant model for the new EV era.”
When it hits dealer show floors, buyers will have their choice between the standard EV6 and a high-performance version, the EV6 GT. The regular EV6 comes equipped with either a 58 kWh or 77.4 kWh battery while the GT will only offer the larger 77.4 kWh pack. Similarly, the EV6 will have both RWD and AWD options whereas the GT will exclusively be available as an AWD with an electronic limited slip differential. As such, a 2WD EV6 with the 58 kWh battery offers 167 HP, 223 HP for the 2WD 77.4 kWh version, and 231 - 320 HP for the AWD 58 kWh and 77.4 kWh versions, respectively. The GT overpowers them all at 576 HP with 545 ft lbs of torque and a target range of 230 miles.
According to Kia, an EV6 with 2WD and the 58 kWh battery can accelerate from 0 - 100 km/h in a respectable 6.2 seconds. With the 77.4 kWh pack, a 2WD EV6 can do the same in 5.2 seconds, as well as travel up to 316 miles on a single charge — roughly the distance between LA and Las Vegas. The GT version, on the other hand, can hit 100 km/h from a standstill in just 3.5 seconds and tops out at 260 km/h. The EV6 can also tow up to 1,600 kilograms for long as the batteries remain above 35 percent capacity.
Both the standard and GT versions sport a burly 800V electrical architecture most often seen in luxury EVs. This will enable the vehicles to use both 400V and 800V charging stations without the need for additional power adapters. Refilling a 77.4 kWh pack from 10 to 80 percent battery capacity should take just 18 minutes using a DC fast charger, per Kia, while adding 100 kilometers of range will require less than 5 minutes. Using Kia’s connected car system, dubbed “Kia Connect,” drivers can find nearby charging stations through the vehicle’s infotainment screen.
The EV6 also boasts an Integrated Charging Control Unit (ICCU) which will allow for bidirectional charging. That is, the vehicle can both draw electricity from the grid as well as serve as a mobile power supply, discharging the onboard battery to deliver up to 3.6 kW to other devices — including another EV.
To minimize electrical expenditures, the EV6 utilizes a number of power recuperation features such as a highly-efficient heat pump that scavenges excess energy from the coolant system so even when outside temperatures drop below freezing, the vehicle will retain 80 percent of its standard range. The EV6 also offers an advanced six-level regenerative braking system. Drivers can select how aggressively the system will harvest kinetic energy using paddle shifters mounted behind the steering wheel. When the system is set to maximum, dubbed “i-PEDAL” mode, the EV6 can be operated without you ever touching the brakes. Simply letting up on the accelerator will cause the vehicle to gently slow to a halt.
Thanks to the E-GMP platform’s skateboard-style design, the EV6 boasts a spacious, flat-floored cabin with 1,300 liters of rear trunk storage (once you lay the back seats down) and 20 additional liters available in the frunk. For all that room, the EV6’s cabin is surprisingly uncluttered. The dashboard controls and instrument cluster have been replaced with a pair of 12-inch curved touchscreens designed to minimize reflections and glare. Drivers will also enjoy a steering column-mounted augmented reality HUD that displays pertinent information — such as vehicle speed, navigation directions and alerts from the ADAS.
In addition to the standard fare of driver assist functions found throughout the market, the EV6’s ADAS includes a new Safe Exit Assist feature, which will warn you of oncoming traffic when stepping out of the vehicle. Additionally, the Remote Smart Parking Assist will pull the vehicle into and out of spots even if you’re not behind the wheel, and Highway Driving Assist 2, which not only keeps the EV6 cruising at a set speed but also ensures it stays centered within its lane.
The EV6 will be available in select markets starting in the second half of 2021 and could arrive in the US early next year. There's no word yet on pricing.