The time when I loathed even the mere thought of driving an electric vehicle anywhere else but on a golf course from hole to hole has passed. Sure, the first ones I tested over a decade ago were as bad as I thought: they smelled, were ugly, and drove very badly. They also had very limited range.
In the ensuing years though the tech as improved, greatly. Today’s EVs are good vehicles with a decent range, nice features, and most importantly for me at least, when you drive them, you don’t actually feel like you are driving an electric vehicle; other than the lack of engine noise of course, something I always mitigate by cranking up the sound system, which like everything else EV, has also improved greatly.
Just how much EVs have come around has been evidenced to me in the last few months with my week with a Mustang Mach-E (though the name still has me scratching my fat head), and even more when Kia sent me its EV6 for turn recently.
I had a week with a Kia Niro a few months prior, but that was a plug-in hybrid so still has a powerplant that uses dinosaur blood which means the Save Mother Earth crowd is still looking down their collective pointy, crooked noses.
The EV6 is Kia’s first all EV that was built from the ground up to be just that. It’s a small sort of crossover/hatchback. The advantage, design wise, to being built as an EV from the start is the ability to not have to create a vehicle with batteries and electrical components that need to fit around a gas engine and such.
The EV6 can be had in four trim levels: Light, Wind, GT-Line, 1st Edition and the top-of-the-line GT (The Light trim is being dropped for 2023). The biggest differences between the models are the different combos of battery packs and electric motors that result in different power outputs and range.
The Light trim is rear wheel drive only with only a single rear-mounted electric motor delivering 1667 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft of torque with a single battery pack with 58 kWh of capacity, with a full charge range around 232 miles; the Wind and GT-Line models can get rear wheel, or all-wheel drive with the AWD getting a second motor up front which when combined with the rear motor delivers 320 hp, 446 lb.-ft of torque. The 77.4 kWh battery pack gets 310 miles of range (RWD) or 274 miles (AWD). The 1st Edition is the same as the Wind, GT-Line AWD configuration.
The GT just came out and delivers 576 hp so is the sportiest in the lineup.
Unlike the early era EVs the Kia EV6 has a nice array of standard features like, keyless entry and start, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, and driver’s seat memory settings. There’s also a slick looking digital instrument panel, a 12.3-inch touchscreen, navigation system, wireless charging pad, front and second-row USB ports, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
And that’s just the base trim.
Moving up the line adds such things as gloss black exterior accents, a hands-free liftgate, a power-adjustable passenger seat, ventilated front seats, a 14-speaker Meridian premium audio system and a heated steering wheel.
You also get some cool tech like front and rear parking sensors, a vehicle-to-load (V2L) port that gives the EV6 to ability to supply electricity to other items, such as portable camping gear or even other electric vehicles, and a heat pump that heats the cabin more efficiently than normal heater, though sort useless here in Florida.
For the Wind version you can add a Technology package with an automated parking system you can use to park when you are standing outside, a surround-view camera system, the same blind-spot camera you get on other Kia’s and rear automatic braking.
I had the GT-Line which until the full GT comes out is the sportiest version in the lineup. The Technology package is standard here and you also get automatically deploying and retracting door handles, a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated steering wheel and heated rear seats, automated lane-change assist, evasive steering assist, and a more advanced versions of the forward collision mitigation system and adaptive cruise control systems.
The 1st Edition is limited to 1,500 units and only made for the 2022 model year. It’s based on the AWD GT-Line (and all the upgrades that come with it) and adds unique exterior and interior color combinations (Glacier White exterior/dark green seats; Urban Yellow exterior/black seats; Steel Matte Gray exterior/black seats), 20-inch wheels (up from 19), unique doorsill plates, and a plaque with the production number.
The first thing I thought when I saw the EV6 in my driveway was how modern and futuristic it looks on the outside with the retractable door handles and flat matte finish. The EV6 is sleek design that to me, anyway, actually looks like an EV. Inside without all the traditional gas vehicle junk, there seems to be a great deal of room, especially given the size of the outside. The interior matches the outside with a clean sleek, almost minimalist look.
On the road, as expected, the EV6 is a fun drive with plenty of power, and a very comfortable ride. And the range seemed reasonable. Overall, I really enjoyed it.
There was just one tiny, well maybe not so tiny, issue.
I currently don’t have an EV charging port at my house. I’m considering getting one, but that’s in the future (probably near). Despite this, I normally can charge up an EV on my house current. I did this with the Mach-E and an all-night charge on 120 household power gave me about 30 miles range. This was perfect for what I needed to do with it.
It seems you can’t do that with the EV6 has it is delivered.
You see, someone, somewhere in Kia’s executive offices decided not to include a charging cord with EV6. The Niro? Yes, the EV6? No.
This means you can only charge up at a commercial charging station and pay the price. You do get 1000 kWH of charging credit from Electrify America when you buy the EV6, but if you want a cord from the dealer, it will cost you another $1400. Seriously. Others say you can get a cord for less than $500, but get a cord is something you will have to do.
To me that’s a problem.
The nearest public charging station from me is about 15 miles away, and there’s only one charge point so good luck finding It empty, especially if you want to go during normal daylight hours. With all the new EVs being sold there is normally a line at the charging station, and in my case one that has more than one charge point is nearly 25 miles away.
Yes, I could go ahead and install a charger at my house, and if I was buying an EV6 I would probably do just that. However, having a charging cord to me would give me piece of mind if I was taking a trip, and needed to charge up from even a 120-volt power source in an emergency.
And what about someone who rents? Someone who doesn’t have a charge point close by would have think twice about buying an EV.
Beyond the lack of a charging cord annoyance the EV6 is a great example of how far EVs have come in the last decade. Now if only the infrastructure would catch up, (or Kia give up a charge cord) we’d be in fine shape.
The 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line
MSRP (as tested): $53,405
Base Curb Weight (pounds): 4255
Maximum Horsepower: 225
Maximum Torque: 258
Transmission: 1 speed automatic
Exterior Dimensions (Inches)
Width, without mirrors: 74.4
Front Track Width: 64.2
Rear Track Width: 64.6
Minimum Ground Clearance: 6.1
Passenger / Seating Capacity: 5
Total Passenger Volume (cubic feet): 103
Front Head Room (inches): 36.8
Front Leg Room (inches): 42.4
Front Shoulder Room (inches): 57.8
Front Hip Room (inches): 54.9
Second Row Head Room (inches): 38
Second Row Leg Room (inches): 39
Second Row Shoulder Room (inches): 55.6
Second Row Hip Room (inches): 53.2
Cargo Space/Area Behind Front Row (cubic feet): 50.2
Cargo Space/Area Behind Second Row (cubic feet): 24.4
Cargo Space/Area Behind Third Row (cubic feet): 24.4
5 Basic Years / 60,000 Basic Miles
10 Drivetrain Years / 100,000 Drivetrain Miles
5 Corrosion Years / 100,000 Corrosion Miles
5 Roadside Assistance Years / 100,000 Roadside Assistance Miles
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