Kia Australia has confirmed that its first dedicated electric crossover, the EV6, will be launched in early 2022 after overcoming delays imposed by supply constraints and the ongoing pandemic.
The EV6 will initially be available in a long-range format, with 77.4kWh battery and in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The latter dual-motor option will only be available in the GT-line option, while the single-motor will be available with or without.
However, facing a limited availability for electric models (as with other carmakers), just 500 units have been earmarked for 2022 so far.
Kia Australia is working with its South Korean headquarters to secure more, and the top-of-the-line performance EV6 GT is expected by early 2022 at the latest, the carmaker added.
Although the e-Niro faced major delays with the South Korean automaker citing a lack of EV-supportive policy in Australia resulting in prioritisation of inventory for overseas markets, Kia says with the EV6 it is driving home to consumers its commitment to provide all-electric options for drivers.
Along with the EV6 will come other electrified options, says Kia Australia COO Damien Meredith.
“With the imminent arrival of our first EV6 variants, Sorento Hybrid, next-generation Niro and the much talked about performance EV6 GT variant, Kia will well and truly be making its mark on the electric vehicle offering available in Australia,” he said in a statement.
If you’ve been travelling in Victoria, it’s possible you may have already seen the EV6 on the road, as Kia subjects it to its rigorous handling program.
And according to Kia’s ride and handling engineer Graeme Gambold, the EV6’s wide body combined with its low centre of gravity makes it a pleasure to drive.
“Personally, as a chassis dynamist, I think the biggest part of that enjoyment is the width of the battery in the car,” he said in a note.
“A typical ICE vehicle has an engine and a drivetrain that has a high centre of gravity but it’s all in the centre of the vehicle therefore it works like a moment in roll. But with a dedicated BEV, it has a big flat battery in it, so it has to lift the energy on the inside to actually upset the car, creating a very flat roll dynamic.
“This makes the EV6 feel very light, nimble and responsive,” he said.
He says that because of this, electric cars make an ideal choice for those driving often on country roads.
“One of the things we are always tuning for in Australia is large body movements on country roads at 100kms per hour and that is always manifested with a high centre of gravity roll dynamic in conventional cars,” he says.
“Electric cars don’t have as much of that, they have a lot of vertical movement, because of the weight but they don’t have the lateral roll, so we can use that as a bit of a tuning tool.”
A long-term relationship with Kia’s handling team from Namyang has enabled Gambold’s team to work during lockdown with the South Korean office despite the Namyang team being able to travel to Australia.
Kia says that with just 500 units in both base and GT-line trims secured for the local market so far, it will ensure a fair allocation across its dealerships – 90% of which it says are ready to sell and service EVs – and continue to press for more inventory according to interest.
Pricing and final specifications for Australia have not yet been announced, but an early 2021 announcement confirmed that the electric crossover, which will be built on the same electric e-GMP platform as the Hyundai Ioniq, will likewise offer an 800-volt architecture for ultra-rapid charging adding 4.100km in as little as 4.5 minutes.
Pending local homologation, the single-motor option with 77.4kWh battery delivers 168kW power with 350Nm torque, while the dual-motor option delivers 239kW power with 605Nm maximum torque. The US-based EPA rating the former with up to 499km driving range and 441km range for the latter.
Both offer 52 litres in the “front trunk” – or, frunk – and 520 litres cargo space in the back and with seats folded down this increases to 1300 litres.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.