Two weeks ago, we got our first look at Kia’s new design ethos on its first dedicated battery electric vehicle, the EV6 crossover. Now, on Tuesday, we get to peek beneath that sculpted surface to learn about the performance, range and technology that power not only the EV6, but its sport-tuned variant, the EV6 GT.
The EV6 isn’t Kia’s first electric car, but it is the first to be built on the Hyundai Group’s Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), alongside the new Ioniq 5. The EV6 will be offered with either rear- or all-wheel drive and with the choice of two battery capacities.
At the top of the lineup is the performance-oriented EV6 GT, which comes standard with the larger 77.4-kilowatt-hour Long Range battery and dual-motor electric all-wheel drive. Combined thrust is estimated at 577 horsepower and 546 pound-feet of torque. Mat the accelerator and the EV6 GT will sprint to 62 mph in just 3.5 seconds and onward to a top speed of 162 mph. Exclusive to the EV6 GT is an electronic limited-slip differential that improves traction and handling.
“The GT version of the EV6 demonstrates our technological leadership through its combination of outstanding high-speed charging and acceleration performance like a super sports car,” Albert Biermann, head of research and development for Hyundai Motor Group, said in a statement. OK, “super sports car” feels like a bit of a stretch, but Biermann is the mastermind behind the Kia Stinger GT, Hyundai Veloster N and other performance hits. With that track record, we’re inclined to at least take notice if he says the EV6 is that good.
The base EV6 and the sport-styled EV6 GT-Line models are also available with the Long Range battery and a single 255-hp rear motor making 258 lb-ft of torque. Upgrading to dual-motor AWD increases the combined output to 321 hp and 446 lb-ft, propelling the EV from 0 to 62 mph in 5.2 seconds. Keep the battery above a 35% state of charge and the EV6 should also be able to tow up to 3,527 pounds. The entry-level EV6 and GT-Line come standard with a 58-kWh Standard Range battery, stepping two-wheel-drive power down to 168 hp and AWD to 232 hp, while torque output is unchanged. With the smaller battery and AWD, the EV6 adds a tick to its 0-to-62-mph time, completing the sprint in 6.2 seconds.
Kia EV6 performance and range
||Net power||Net torque||WLTP range||0-62 mph|
|Standard 2WD||168 hp||258 lb-ft||317 mi||TBD|
|Standard AWD||232 hp||446 lb-ft||TBD||6.2 sec|
|Long Range 2WD||225 hp||258 lb-ft||TBD||TBD|
|Long Range AWD||321 hp||446 lb-ft||TBD||5.2 sec|
|EV6 GT AWD||577 hp||546 lb-ft||TBD||3.5 sec|
Kia estimates that, at best, a single-motor EV6 with the Long Range battery should cruise for up to 317 miles per charge when measured on the European WLTP combined cycle. Expect that range to shrink when put through the US’ more stringent EPA testing cycle. Still in the preliminary certification phase, ranges for the EV6’s other configurations are not listed, but with more power, a smaller battery or both, they’re sure to be slightly lower than Kia’s most optimistic estimate.
The EV6 features a customizable braking system that allows the driver to paddle between six regeneration modes, ranging from coasting on lift to a one-foot “i-pedal” mode that allows for full regenerative stops without touching the brakes. There’s also an Auto setting that handles all of regenerative decision-making for you.
Cold climates are an Achilles’ heel for most EVs. To give the best shot at real-world range, Kia outfits the electric crossover’s battery pack with its latest-generation heat-pump thermal management. Kia claims that the EV6 retains up to 80% of its optimal range even at -7 degrees Celsius (about 19 degrees Fahrenheit). The same thermal management tech contributes to the EV6’s fast charging time while helping increase the lifetime of the battery.
A new Integrated Charging Control Unit enables compatibility with up to 800-volt ultrafast charging infrastructure. That means that every EV6 will be able to rapid-charge from 10% to 80% in around 18 minutes at a powerful-enough station. On the 2WD Long Range model, that means adding up to 62 miles of range from just a short 4.5-minute session. The ICCU also enables the new vehicle-to-load (V2L) function that we saw debut on the Ioniq 5. This high-power, bidirectional charging connection means that a sufficiently charged EV6 can output up to 3.6 kW to power electronics, appliances and even recharge other EVs or e-bikes, if needed.
Inside, the EV6’s interior should benefit from the E-GMP platform’s long wheelbase and minimal cabin intrusions with better than average passenger volume for the class. The lack of a combustion engine opens up 0.7 cubic feet for frunk storage under the hood, while the tall-hatchback profile makes room for 18.4 cubic feet of rear cargo or 45.9 cubes when the second row is folded flat.
Kia’s UVO infotainment and telematics tech is now called Kia Connect for this generation and features dual 12-inch screens on the dashboard under curved glass. An available augmented-reality head-up display projects vehicle speed, driver aid info and turn-by-turn navigation into the driver’s line of sight on the windshield.
The EV6 also marks the arrival of Highway Driving Assist 2 to Kia’s stable, blending distance-sensing adaptive cruise with lane-centering steering assist. HDA2 also gains the ability to automatically change lanes while signaling — with the driver’s hands on the wheel, of course — and can even steer to avoid possible collisions. The automaker’s Remote Smart Parking Assist will also be available, which allows the driver to guide the crossover into or out of a parking spot from outside of the vehicle.
Not just a new look, the EV6 is also the first step in Kia’s larger plan to increase its electrified portfolio. The automaker is looking to launch 11 new BEVs — seven new E-GMP vehicles and four based on existing models — by 2026. By 2030, Kia expects that 40% of its total sales will be battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid electric vehicles. The new 2022 Kia EV6 will be built in South Korea with sales starting in the second half of 2021. Online reservations for the electric Kia will open to interested parties beginning March 30.
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