The EV6 is Kia’s first dedicated electric vehicle—a model designed without allowing for engines, tailpipes, or fuel tanks. And Kia doesn’t shy away from seeing it as the best counterpoint to the Stinger, its model that flaunts its gasoline fire power.
“In a way, it’s like our Stinger EV,” said global brand boss Artur Martins, in a Q&A session just before the vehicle’s virtual reveal Tuesday from South Korea. That’s something design boss Karim Habib hinted in an interview last year, amid continued rumors of such a project.
Like the Stinger, which on its arrival four years ago challenged German sport sedans at a much lower price, the EV6 could spell trouble for Germany and for Tesla.
To put it bluntly, right out of the gate, Kia’s claiming quicker acceleration times for its top EV6 than what Ford has teased for the Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition or what Tesla currently claims for the Model Y Performance. It also charges in less time.
2022 Kia EV6
The EV6 is a five-seat hatchback. The two are on near-identical wheelbases of around 114 inches. And both provide rear- or all-wheel-drive performance that’s at the front of the Kia pack and most other sporty cars.
That’s about where the similarities end, though. The EV6 has a very different sense of proportion than the Stinger. Built on the E-GMP modular electric platform shared with Hyundai, its hood is short and the cabin is long.
It’s very closely related to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 that was revealed in February. At about 185 inches long, the EV6 is 2.3 inches longer than the Ioniq 5, even though its wheelbase is 3.9 inches shorter than its Hyundai counterpart.
2022 Kia EV6
Top performance, 800V fast-charging
The EV6 will be offered in six different variants. EV6 and EV6 GT-line models will offer a choice of 58.0-kwh or 77.4-kwh battery packs, with rear- or all-wheel drive. Power figures start at 167 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque with the small battery and RWD to 321 hp and 446 lb-ft with the larger battery and AWD. The top-performance EV6 GT version offers 577 horsepower and 546 lb-ft, and is capable of getting to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds. The EV6 GT version gets an exclusive software-based limited-slip differential for more able all-weather handling.
While the performance part of it depends on the battery and configuration, all versions are capable of charging from 10% to 80% in just 18 minutes, using 800V fast-charging (exact power not yet disclosed). It can recover 62 miles of range in less than 4.5 minutes (in rear-wheel-drive form, with the larger pack).
On the range front, there’s not a lot of news to report quite yet. The EV6 will get WLTP range results up to 510 km (317 miles). EPA-cycle results aren’t yet available, though based on other EV results it might equate to nearly 300 miles—meaning that it might also be on par with the Model Y Performance's current 303 miles.
Through a flexible charging system, the EV6 permits a new vehicle-to-load (V2L) function that can output up to 3.6 kw and power large tools or appliances or charge another EV. It might also have potential compatibility with home-energy systems, but just as with its Hyundai Ioniq 5 cousin, Kia is thin on details as of yet about whether it sees this as a future business.
2022 Kia EV6
A new look for the brand
Kia describes the silhouette of the EV6 as “crossover-inspired” and “designed to deliver something different in the crossover class,” so it’s an entry that, at first look, might appear like a car or a utility vehicle. In front there’s a new version of Kia’s “tiger face” theme, with a wide, low air intake and very rakish front pillar.
Just as with the Hyundai model Kia says that it permits the cabin space of a mid-size SUV. Two 12.0-inch displays side by side in compound glass, and the whole dash sits low and forward, with a simple, clean look.
Habib pointed to the floating console that with the flat cabin floor, allows “very natural and instinctive” storage area. With the dedicated EV platform, engineers packaged the climate control under the hood, allowing a “very lean dashboard,” he explained, amplified by stretching air vents along a beltline.
As Kia has previously noted, the EV6 starts a new design direction for Kia. According to Ho-sung Song, its president and CEO, the 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.”
Kia also hits all the sustainability marks, noting that the interior uses a total of 111 plastic water bottles for its fabrics.
Inside the cabin, Kia is fitting the EV6 with a 14-speaker Meridian sound, and a Kia Connect system helps find chargers and schedule charging. A series of active safety and driver aids includes Highway Driving Assist 2, which keeps the vehicle in its intended lane, spaced a set distance behind the next vehicle, with a turn-signal-activated lane change possible.
2022 Kia EV6
Kia has mass-market EV plans, but this is only the pre-runner
The same platform is due to underpin seven of the 11 battery electric models from Kia due by 2026, as Kia targets 880,000 annual global sales of battery electric models by 2030—with hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery electric models together adding up to 40% of its sales by then.
Meanwhile Kia disclosed that it expects to sell about 100,000 EV6s annually, with just 20,000 of those headed to the U.S. (30,000 will be sold in its home Korea, and 40,000 will go to Europe).
You connect those dots, and the EV6 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting of these electric models but not the mass-market entry that will give Kia hundreds of thousands of U.S. EV sales annually.
What is that model? For now, like the EV6, it’s the future.
Kia notes that it will be available for online reservations starting March 30 in some markets. The company revealed that first deliveries won’t happen until early in 2022. Exact U.S. details are yet to come.