Automotive

Published on March 30th, 2021 | by Joshua Chin

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Kia EV6 Makes Global Debut, The IONIQ 5’s Sleeker Cousin

This newly launched EV6 marks Kia’s first big step in its ambitious Plan S electrification strategy. 

After much teasers and hype, Kia has finally recently revealed its all-new EV6. The marque’s first dedicated all-electric car (that incidentally shares the same E-GMP platform as the IONIQ 5) this first model in the automaker’s ambitious Plan S electrification product strategy has an equally bold aim in being the ‘most reliable and valuable EV in the world’.

Now this statement may be a tad bit too bold for the South Korean automaker to claim, especially considering the current competition. Credit where it is due to Kia though, the EV6 may actually pull it off as it turns out to be quite a well-rounded EV package.

Kicking things off with its exterior design first and starting at the front, this new EV features a sleek ‘Digital Tiger Face’ front fascia topped off with the automaker’s new logo. Supposedly an evolution of the firm’s current Tiger Nose corporate face, this new slender grille flanked by stylish LED headlights give way to a sleek silhouette moving down the side of the EV6. 

Much like its IONIQ 5 cousin, the EV6 does blur the line between being a conventional hatchback and crossover. Unlike the IONIQ’s more upright, boxy side profile however, Kia has instead gone down the path of a more swoopy, muscular silhouette for its first dedicated EV with its rounded arches, thick sloping C-pillar and a floating roof which gives it a more sporty look. 

This sporty aesthetic of the EV6 culminates round the back with a distinctive wraparound LED light cluster that runs along the tailgate with its integrated ducktail spoiler. Up top too lies another wing-type roof spoiler with integrated LED lights on either side of it, just to further add to the pizzazz of this all-electric Kia.  

Stepping inside, Kia’s ambitions to place this particular EV squarely in the premium electric car market is clearly evidenced by the upmarket cabin design that is topped off with all the gadgets that one could want. Sitting atop the sleek dashboard are twin 12-inch displays housed within a curved display, as well as an augmented reality (AR) head-up display system. 

Moving further back meanwhile, a 14-speaker Meridian Surround Sound system is available, along with a vehicle-to-load (V2L) device-charging functionality. A feature that is the staple of the E-GMP platform and could also be found in the IONIQ 5, other similar practical features shared between these two South Korean EVs includes a flat floor layout, a movable centre console and lightweight ‘relaxation seats’ made of recycled plastic bottles. 

Speaking of those seats, some of the interior images seen of the EV6 may feature some snazzy bucket seats. Those seats belong in the GT variant of this new Kia EV, which is incidentally also the most powerful of the three trim levels offered at launch. 

Equipped dual 430 kW electric motors and electronic-Limited Slip Differential software, this particular hot variant of the EV6 is easily the fastest Kia ever made by a huge margin. Outputting an impressive 740 Nm of torque, the AWD GT rockets from 0-100 km/h in just 3.5 seconds and maxes out at a rather healthy 260 km/h. 

All this power does come at a penalty to range though, as despite being equipped with the long-range 77.4 kWh battery pack, the GT variant will only manage a claimed 405 km of range. For those who want maximum range, the standard 2WD EV6 equipped with the long-range battery pack then could perhaps be the one to buy, as it supposedly has a WLTP claimed all-electric range of 510 km while still managing to output a reasonable 168 kW and 350 Nm of torque. 

As for the topic of charging, the EV6 offers both 800V and 400V charging capabilities. Using the 800V ultra-fast-charging, Kia claims that a charge from 10 to 80 percent can be done in 18 minutes on all variations, while 100km of driving range can be added in less than four and a half minutes when topping up 2WD with the 77.4-kWh battery option. 

Other things worth noting about the new EV6 is it is equipped with the latest generation of Kia’s smart regenerative braking system. Operated by the paddle shifters behind the two-spoke steering wheel, drivers can choose between six regenerative braking levels, with the system’s ‘i-PEDAL’ driving mode calibrated specifically for one-pedal driving. 

Additionally, the Kia EV6 naturally features all the active and passive safety tech as part of its enhanced suite of driver assistance systems (ADAS). The highlights of which include Safe Exit Assist (SEA), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Highway Driving Assist 2 (HDA 2) and Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA). 

Production of the EV6 will begin in Kia’s Hwaseong plant in July, with first customer deliveries in South Korea and various European markets expected to be occur later in September. Prices have yet to be announced, though it should be similar to the IONIQ 5 that currently tops out at £45,000 (RM 260,000) in the UK. 

PRESS RELEASE: The new Kia EV6 brings long-range, zero-emissions power, 800V ultra-fast charging and distinctive styling to the crossover SUV market. The EV6 is Kia’s first car to be based on the company’s dedicated new platform for battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

This pioneering crossover – the first dedicated BEV launched under the new Kia design philosophy ‘Opposites United’ – displays a future-oriented EV design characterized by high-tech details. It is powered exclusively by electric energy, with a choice of multiple long-range, zero-emissions powertrain configurations. The 800V charging capability means EV6 can go from 10 to 80 percent battery charge in just 18 minutes, while the GT version, engineered to inspire consumers with exciting driving performance, can accelerate from 0-to-100 km/h in 3.5 seconds with a top speed of 260 km/h.

The EV6 is the first dedicated BEV produced by Kia using 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 percent 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, Kia aims to grow its BEV sales to 880,000 units in 2030 and become a top global seller. Kia plans to strengthen its EV lineup with 11 new BEV models by 2026 – seven built on E-GMP architecture, and four derivative EVs 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. It will go on-sale in select global markets starting from the second half of 2021, with online reservations beginning from March 30 in some markets.

New Kia design direction

New design language strikes a balance between contrasting forces

The EV6 was designed under the brand’s new design philosophy ‘Opposites United’, which takes inspiration from the contrasts found in nature and humanity. At the center of the design philosophy is a new visual identity evoking positive forces and natural energy, with contrasting combinations of sharp stylistic elements and sculptural shapes.

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 dedicated EV aiming to define our future.”

Designed to deliver something different in the crossover class, the GT version of the 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.

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.

Inspiring space

Versatile and spacious inside thanks to the flat battery under the floor

A distinct product of the EV era, the interior design benefits greatly from the application of Kia’s dedicated E-GMP platform. Despite the EV6’s compact exterior dimensions, its 2,900mm wheelbase results in a cabin space similar to many mid-size SUVs.

Jochen Paesen, Vice President for Interior Design, commented: “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.”

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.

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. With the second-row seats 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.

Electric Power

Long-range, all-wheel drive and zero-emissions

The EV6 offers buyers a choice of multiple fully-electric, zero-emission powertrain configurations, including long-range (77.4 kWh) and standard-range (58.0 kWh) high-voltage battery packs. EV6 GT-line is available with both long-range and standard-range battery packs, while 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 77.4 kWh EV6 can travel over 510 kilometers (316 miles) on a single charge 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 (229ps) electric motor powering the rear wheels, and for AWD models a 239 kW (325 ps) electric motor powers the front and rear wheels.

The 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, and for AWD models a 173 kW electric motor powers the front and rear wheels.

Platform flexibility for electric performance

Kia’s new dedicated E-GMP reduces complexity through modularization and standardization, allowing 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.

Equipped with 430kW dual motors, the EV6 GT takes electric performance to another level. With a maximum 740Nm torque, the AWD GT version accelerates from 0-to-100 km/h in an eye-watering 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 only, 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.

800V Ultra-Fast Charging

80 percent charge in just 18 minutes; new vehicle-to-load (V2L) function

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 percent in just 18 minutes on all variations or a top-up charge of 100km of driving range in less than four and a half minutes when pairing 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 3.6kW of power and is capable, as an example, of operating a 55-inch 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.

Energy recuperation

Maximizing driving range and efficiency

The EV6 is fitted with energy-recuperation technologies to maximize driving range. This includes Kia’s latest-generation energy-efficient heat pump, which scavenges waste heat from the car’s coolant system. This ensures that at minus seven 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.

Technology

New connectivity and infotainment features for the EV age

EV6 introduces a suite of technologies that enhance safety, connectivity and infotainment. They are designed to make travelling safer, easier and less stressful.

The high-tech infotainment system includes 12-inch dual screens. Curved displays applied to EV6 have thin film panels that utilize 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.

The latest version of Kia’s innovative connected car system ‘Kia Connect’, previously named UVO, is included, featuring 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 and delivering 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 and Convenience

Advanced Driver Assistance system with Remote Smart Parking Assist

The EV6 offers class-leading levels of safety and convenience thanks to its enhanced suite of driver assistance systems (ADAS). They help to reduce many of the inherent hazards and stresses of driving, protecting occupants and other road users on every journey.

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.

Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) helps remotely park or exit a parking spot with the driver operating EV6 from outside the vehicle.

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About the Author

Automotive journalist. Professional work on dsf.my and automacha.com. Personal writing found at driveeveryday.me. Instagram: @driveeveryday



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