Kia made a big splash back in March when it unveiled its first dedicated electric vehicle, the EV6. The futuristic crossover was unlike anything hitherto seen from the Korean carmaker, with its sleek design, advanced technologies and impressive performance figures. Now, the company has released details of the version destined for the United States, even though buyers there aren’t getting the car until early next year.
As previously reported, the EV6 is the first Kia to ride on the new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), which also underpins the Hyundai Ioniq 5. The long and low-slung body features Kia’s new “Opposites United” design language said to be inspired by the contrast between nature and humanity, blending organic contours with sharp lines and sculptural shapes.
Starting at the front of the car, the “Digital Tiger” design is a reinterpretation of the company’s trademark “tiger nose” grille, with arrow-shaped daytime running lights and sequential indicators flanking a slim, closed-off upper grille. Below it, a low and wide air intake emphasises the EV6’s broad stance.
Along the side, the prominent front and rear haunches add some muscle to the design, while a wraparound windscreen design and a gloss black C-pillar insert give the car a “floating roof” look that is all the rage in car design. A single character line at the bottom rises upwards towards the rear, connecting the front splitter with the sweeping full-width taillights that act as a rear spoiler in concert with the high tailgate wing. Wheel options measure between 19 and 21 inches in diameter.
In terms of dimensions, the EV6 straddles the space between the Sportage and Sorento – at 4,680 mm long, it’s about the same length as a Mercedes-Benz GLC. But the 2,900 mm wheelbase is actually longer even than that of the Sorento, which Kia says provides interior space equivalent to most mid-sized SUVs.
Inside, the EV6 is dominated by a curved display panel that sits atop a minimalist horizontal dashboard. This panel integrates two 12-inch displays and features a blue light filter to reduce eye strain and fatigue. An augmented reality head-up display is also available.
Space is further maximised through the use of slim front seats, which utilise an ultra-lightweight Giga Steel construction. Sustainability is a key theme on the inside, with the fabrics used being made from recycled plastic (equivalent to 110 PET bottles) and the leather on certain trim levels being 100% “vegan”. The boot measures 520 litres and can be expanded to 1,300 litres with the rear seats folded, while the front luggage compartment adds another 20 litres (in other markets, rear-wheel drive models get 52 litres).
The EV6 features the latest UVO infotainment system, featuring Kia Pay in-car commerce system, cloud-based navigation routing, enhanced voice control, smart speaker and smartwatch integration, last-mile navigation, over-the-air updates and an optional WiFi hotspot. Also offered are a Qi wireless smartphone charger and a 14-speaker Meridian sound system.
As you’d expect, the EV6 will be offered in the US with a comprehensive suite of driver assistance features, including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian, cross traffic and oncoming vehicle detection, adaptive cruise control with stop and go and navigation-based speed guidance in corners, lane centring assist, lane change assist and blind spot collision avoidance.
Other available features include reverse AEB, a rear seat reminder, a door opening warning and even remote parking assist that allows the driver to perform parking manoeuvres from outside the vehicle.
Under the skin, the EV6 benefits from a low-mounted battery to lower the centre of gravity and increase stability, a five-link rear suspension setup and a rigid body construction consisting of 75% high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels. The car also utilises the world’s first integrated drive axle that combines the wheel bearings and driveshafts to save weight and improve comfort and handling.
At launch, the EV6 will be available in three variants, most of them utilising a 160 kW (218 hp) rear electric motor. The base model utilises a 58 kWh lithium-ion battery (a lithium nickel cobalt manganese battery, to be precise) but restricts power to 167 hp, while a larger 77.4 kWh battery unlocks the full 218 hp. An all-wheel drive model adds a 70 kW (95 hp) motor to develop a total system output of 313 hp, with Kia estimating a zero-to-100 km/h acceleration time of 5.1 seconds.
From late 2022, Americans can have the EV6 in GT form. Here, the 218 hp motor is moved to the front, while the rear motor grows to a 270 kW (367 hp); the total output swells to 576 hp. So equipped, the GT is estimated to be able to sprint from zero to 100 km/h in under 3.5 seconds. Kia is also claiming a range of up to 480 km, with specific range figures for each variant to be confirmed later on.
The EV6 also features the world’s first multi-charging system that can support 400-volt and 800-volt DC charging, compatible of outputs ranging from 50 kW to an astonishing 350 kW. With the maximum available charging power, the EV6 can be charged from 10 to 80% in under 18 minutes and add nearly 110 km of range in less than five minutes. Meanwhile, a 11 kW on-board charger allows for Level 2 AC charging, juicing the 77.4 kWh battery from 10 to 100% in seven hours and ten minutes through a 240-volt socket.
As per the Ioniq 5, the EV6 comes with Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) functionality via an 110-volt socket underneath the rear seats (you can also use an adapter to draw power from the charging port). This allows the car to power electrical appliances, devices, tools and recreational equipment, and even charge another electric vehicle at a speed of 1.1 kW.