Kia unveils its new EV6 electric vehicle - Here's what it means for the SA market

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All-new Kia EV6
All-new Kia EV6

The EV6 is Kia's first BEV built on a new dedicated EV platform.

• The line-up comprises a choice of multiple zero-emissions powertrain configurations; with over 510km from a single charge.

• The EV6 GT accelerates from 0-100km/h in 3.5 seconds and has a 260km/h top speed.

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Kia unveiled its take on electric mobility with its new EV6 electric vehicle (EV). The vehicle, as Kia says, is aimed at providing long driving ranges without foregoing power and performance. The EV6 crossover SUV is the first vehicle built on Kia's new platform for battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

The EV6 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% battery charge in just 18 minutes, while the GT version can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 3.5 seconds with a top speed of 260km/h.

This new car is an important one for Kia, as it is the genesis of the automaker's transition towards electrification. Kia also begins the mid-to-long term strategy for BEVs, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid electric (HEV) vehicles to make up 40% of its 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. The EV6 is the first of 11 new BEV models from Kia by 2026.

Power and range

The EV6 offers buyers a choice of multiple fully-electric, zero-emission powertrain configurations, including long-range (77.4kWh) and standard-range (58.0kWh) 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 available with two-wheel (2WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) options.

READ: Kia teases images of its first-ever electric vehicle

The 2WD 77.4kWh EV6 can travel over 510km on a single charge on the WLTP combined cycle. With a maximum 605Nm torque available on the AWD version, the EV6 can accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 5.2sec. The 77.4kWh battery pack is paired with a 168kW electric motor powering the rear wheels, and for AWD models, two electric motors, powering the front and rear axles, produce a total of 239kW.

The 58.0kWh EV6 can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 6.2sec, with a maximum 605Nm torque available on the AWD version. The 58.0kWh battery pack is paired with a 125kW electric motor powering the rear wheels. AWD models feature two electric motors, powering the front and rear axles and producing a combined 173kW.

Kia EV6
All-new Kia EV6

South African case study

Speaking to Kia South Africa about the EV6, the automaker confirmed that at least one of the EV6 models would make its way to South Africa as a case study. In this regard, the vehicle will undergo media and marketing responsibilities, with Kia SA using comments and feedback from industry experts to better prepare for an electric future.

An aspect Kia SA was pressed on was the availability and accessibility of infrastructure. As it stands, South Africa is far from ready for the switch to electric mobility. And with 2030 just nine years, it will take a monumental effort for the country, as a whole, to prepare for the new era.

READ: Leaf, i3, I-Pace driven on a SA electric road trip: Here's what could go wrong

According to Kia SA, the local government has been more open to discussions on electric mobility and has there, in the last 12 months, been more discussions on the topic than ever before. The South African government has been actively engaging with automakers to make the future accessible to the South African motorist.

On their side, Kia South Africa has been in talks with the head office in Korea, consulting the head office about putting energy behind adapting the local automotive sector to electric mobility. And though it's still too early for Kia SA to give a comprehensive answer about infrastructure, this is an aspect they've earmarked as a critical point.

Kia EV6
All-new Kia EV6

The future is electric

Earlier in 2021, Kia South Africa mentioned that they are intensely and seriously looking into electric mobility. Globally, Kia's first mission will be to have 11 BEV models on showroom floors. These are seven models built on its new electric architecture, with a further four based on existing models.

The popular Picanto could be one of these four earmarked models, given that it could provide Kia with the ideal platform to make electric mobility accessible to a more significant share of the car-buying public. If this is the case, the next-generation Picanto could see it adopt an all-electric model line-up, or, at least, have an electric-powered model in the arrange.

DRIVEN: Kia Picanto X-Line arrives in SA as a new entry-level crossover

Given that each global market is unique, South Africa, and the broader African continent, is not as developed as first-world countries. As such, we could see production lines for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles being erected, and slightly more developed markets, like South Africa, selling electric and ICE vehicles. Whichever way the dice fall, the automotive industry is fast-adopting alternative ways of powering vehicles, and it's happening in South Africa, too.

Kia EV6
All-new Kia EV6
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