EV6 Light 58 kWh RWD
An overall great EV for those on a budget. The least expensive trim in the USA at $42,000 in April 2022. Not a slow car in this trim level but certainly not one to win drag races. Is being quicker worth $20-30k more to you? Also here’s another thing to consider for the small battery version of the car. It’s light, as in 3900 lb or 1770 kg. Maybe this is not light compared to a Lotus Super 7, but it’s in line with the weight of internal combustion vehicles in 2022. So that means everything is better in terms of ride, handling, acceleration (from the 125 kW/175 hp motor). In regards to the small battery, it’s usable capacity is 54 kWh and it’s a 600 volt pack (vs 800 volt nominal for the large pack) and in my experience chargers equally well on a properly spec’d 150 kW station as it does on a 350 kW station. After a dozen road trips including 10 stops at EVgo, 30 stops at ElectrifyAmerica, and 20 stops at ChargePoint a good charge is over 100 kW and a great charging session is over 150 kW (averaged over the whole session). Given the infrastructure in the real world right now this means sessions tend to be 10-30 minutes and even though the voltage and capacity are smaller, on a great session it’s less than 20 minutes to go from 10% state of charge to 80% and 20-70% is closer to 10 minutes. This car almost charges too quickly if you’re not paying attention.
Now, throw out everything good I’ve just said about charging if you’re expecting to drive and DC fast charge this below 59 F/15 C. It slows down to 40 kW max charging when the minimum battery temperature is below 59 F/15 C. And of course you may not fully know that it’s the car or the DCFC limiting things unless you’re running an ODB2 dongle with Car Scanner on a smartphone. Now since the battery is small you might be able to keep the temperature of the pack up during a road trip at lower temperatures. The winter mode might help there. But this is something to keep in mind as negating this car’s main superpower, charging speed. Now during a DCFC session if the battery temperature climbs above 68 F/20 C then normal fast charging speeds resume I’ve attached a session from EVgo and you can see a charging session where the battery started out at 52 F/11 C and 40 kW step only lasted for a few minutes.
Now if you would allow me to reminisce. About 35 years ago I owned and drove a 1971 Volvo 145 (wagon/estate body style). Although the Volvo looked like the box it came in, it was a very useful hauler of people and things, and known for its safety (relatively speaking) at the time. This Kia EV6 reminds me of that utility of the old Swedish tank and with innovative far side airbags between the two front seats and a high score in consumer information tests such as EuroNCAP this is one safe electric auto. With the seats folded down things (or a person on mattress) upwards of 6.5 ft (2 m) fits nicely.
If we compare the efficiency (or consumption) then we really see this small battery EV6 is a bit of a super star for the various trims of the car. In 11,000 miles of driving, and according to the Kia Connect app which logs each and every drive including energy used, average speed and miles travelled, the efficiency is 3.7 mi/kWh. And a lot of that was done at 70 mph (112 kph) highway speeds. At slower speeds the efficiency rises nicely. What about winter? Well, only time will reveal the effect on range and charging speed due to a lack of a heat pump or battery preconditioning. But anyone with a right foot can do their own heating of the battery while driving with a bit of yo-yo-ing to pump the power and then let off the accelerator and dig into the regeneration. By the way the Volvo was lucky to get 18 mpg.
Unlike the Volvo the Kia has a wonderful automatic and adaptive HVAC system. It’s adjustable but the system can automatically detect and account for humidity and dry the air. It even has the thoughtfulness to temporarily stop fresh air from coming into the cabin when the windshield washer is activated. All of this is adjusted in menus only a Windows 95 black belt would love but at least it is adjustable.
Speaking of computers, the little digital dictators in our pockets known as smart phones integrate very nicely into the Kia’s right hand touch screen through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. You could pay any amount of inflation-adjusted dollars you choose to flush into depreciating assets for a Tesla, Rivian or Lucid and still never sniff that feature. I happen to find Waze useful for turn by turn directions and traffic reports from fellow wazers. And in the Kia EV6 it’s all beautifully displayed on the built in display. A Better Route Planner, the Electrify America app, PlugShare, and so on all work beautifully and allow for planning trips, searching for chargers right from that same touch screen. Lots of used audio apps available for music, podcast, audiobook enthusiasts of course too. For me, the Kia is a weird looking reincarnation of a Swedish tank for this era. Just add electrons and let the good times roll.