People are paying more attention than expected to Kia’s first dedicated electric vehicle, the EV6. Within 40 days of its release, it achieved the number of pre-orders of 30,000 units, far exceeding the production target of 13,000 units this year. Here’s the secret to the EV6’s popularity – there are so many known features. But that alone doesn’t give us an accurate picture of Kia’s new electric car. Let’s meet Kim Jung-Jae, researcher Engineer of Kia’s Sub-Mid PM 6, and hear about the EV6’s features and development process.
Q. When choosing an electric car, nothing is ever enough. Was there any pressure from having to create a new electric vehicle with such high expectations and a dedicated platform?
Based on ‘Plan S’, the EV6 is the first dedicated electric vehicle to present the future of Kia’s next-generation mobility. There was a sense of pressure to overcome the limitations of existing electric vehicles based on internal combustion engines, and build new electric vehicles way different from the existing electric vehicles based on Hyundai Motor Group’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). However, to satisfy consumers and develop a competitive next-generation electric vehicle, we have gone through collaboration between departments and developed the current EV6.
Q. From the perspective of the project manager, was there any difference between the two development processes – the existing electric vehicle based on the internal combustion engine, and the new electric vehicle based on E-GMP?
As you just mentioned, there were difficulties in applying new technologies and optimizing vehicle specifications, because electric vehicles were developed based on internal combustion engine vehicles. But after we could use E-GMP, such things became possible.
A typical example is the use of 2WD and AWD systems, enabling various combinations of driving methods. Previously, electric vehicles had to drive the same way as internal combustion engines; In addition, there were restrictions on the vehicle package, so we had no choice but to develop a front-wheel-drive electric vehicle. However, the EV6 with the rear-wheel-drive system can easily transform into a four-wheel-drive car by adding an electric motor to the front wheels. Thanks to E-GMP, it is now possible to develop EV6 with various driving methods without major restrictions.
Another advantage is that it can realize a large indoor space. In E-GMP, the transmission and driveshaft, which were essential in the existing internal combustion engine, disappear, and the battery is uniformly placed in the lower center of the vehicle body to realize a flat floor. In addition, since no engine parts are required, some of the air conditioning parts can be placed in the engine room, thereby increasing the interior space. As a result, the interior space of the EV6 was able to expand beyond comparison with those of electric vehicles using conventional internal combustion engines.
Q. At the same time when it was developed, using E-GMP, Hyundai Motor Group made several electric vehicles. How is the EV6 different from other electric vehicles?
Since several dedicated electric vehicles in our group are based on E-GMP, we have given a lot of thought to make EV6 special. So, based on what customers want from next-generation electric vehicles, we have established a differentiation strategy for the EV6 – not to mention Kia’s brand identity. We wanted to provide customers with a unique design and enjoyable driving experience that only electric vehicles can provide.
The key features of EV6 would be innovative crossover bodywork and intuitive and seamless interior consummated with Kia’s brand philosophy ‘Opposites United’ – the creative fusion of different concepts. In particular, speaking of the exterior, E-GMP was used to complete the unique design of EV6 by adding a digital tiger face to a long wheelbase and short front and rear overhangs, and a dynamic character line that starts from the lower side of the side and goes through the rear wheelhouse to the tail lamp. Could. The interior of the EV6 offers a new experience to passengers through the panoramic curved display that seems to wrap around the driver’s seat. In addition, with design elements containing Kia’s new philosophy, we tried to propose a new lifestyle to passengers beyond just a means of transportation. Several technologies were also used to create a unique electric vehicle driving experience. For the high-performance GT model, it boasts a strong driving range of up to 475km (EV6 long-range rear-wheel drive model certified by the Ministry of Industry, based on 19-inch tires), and the 0-100km/h acceleration time is only 3.5 seconds. It also features an active sound design that provides a three-dimensional driving experience.
Several technologies were also used to create a unique electric vehicle driving experience. For the high-performance GT model, it boasts a strong driving range of up to 475km (EV6 long-range rear-wheel-drive model certified by the Ministry of Industry, based on 19-inch tires), and the 0-100km/h acceleration time is only 3.5 seconds. It also features an active sound design that provides various colorful driving experiences at the same time.
Q. What is the ‘active sound design’ you mentioned earlier?
Using Active Sound Design technology for the first time in Kia, users can freely select various engine sounds. The EV6’s active sound design is basically provided in three types: Stylish, Dynamic, and Cyber. The sound is linked to the driving mode to enhance driving fun and allow the driver to focus. In addition, the driver can adjust the volume and sensitivity to find the optimal sound for them. This option is also available in the basic trim, so anybody who has purchased the EV6 will have a special driving experience.
Q. Various eco-friendly materials were used in the interior design of the EV6, which has never been used in Korean cars until now. What are the reasons for using eco-friendly materials, their manufacturing process, and their characteristics?
The key materials are recycled plastic waste and flaxseed extract. The recycled waste plastic was used for door pockets, mood lighting garnish on crash pads, and auxiliary mats. Nappa leather seats are made through an eco-friendly process using flaxseed extract; Kia has recently been thinking about environmental issues and showing a strong will to participate in reducing carbon emissions. In addition, all of the interior and exterior lamps of the EV6 are LEDs. LED is eco-friendly because it consumes less power and has a much longer lifespan compared to ordinary light bulbs.
Q. What are the characteristics of models with different motor and battery configurations – Standard, Long Range, GT-Line, and GT-? And how are the specifications of each current model determined?
The EV6 for domestic use plans to operate a total of four models, standard, long-range, GT-Line, and GT, based on mileage, design, and performance in consideration of various customer requirements and lifestyles. First of all, the standard model has optimized electric vehicle performance – It plans to provide various charging conveniences such as a multi-charging system and automatic charging and charging system (PnC, Plug & Charge) as well as a driving range of more than 350 km. In addition, customer favorite specifications such as V2L, highway driving assistance (HDA), and panoramic curved display were provided at reasonable prices.
Our main product, the Long Range, is a model that can satisfy both the driving range and charging convenience, which are the biggest concerns of electric vehicle consumers. The mileage certified by the Ministry of Industry for the EV6 long-range rear-wheel-drive model equipped with a 77.4kWh battery is up to 475 km, and the certified value for the four-wheel-drive model is up to 441 km (both based on 19-inch tires). The GT-Line plans to differentiate itself by applying long-range-based long mileage, sporty and dynamic exterior design for the GT-Line, and sporty and luxurious interior design elements such as suede seats and interior materials.
Lastly, the GT is an electric model that shows the best performance. Based on a 430kW class dual motor, it realizes dynamite performance such as a maximum output of 584 horsepower, a maximum speed of 260 km/h, and a 0-100 km/h acceleration of 3.5 seconds, while also having a unique interior/exterior design.
Q. The EV6 GT shows the highest level of performance for electric vehicles. How about the GT’s performance, driving fun, and cornering abilities?
The concept of the EV6 GT is dynamic performance based on the highest level of power. To this end, as described above, we realized the strongest acceleration performance and top speed among Kia electric vehicles with a 430kW-class dual motor. In addition, we are planning to add a GT-exclusive driving mode for various user experiences. In addition, 21-inch high-performance tires, ECS (Electronic Control Suspension), e-LSD (Limited Slip Differential), front monoblock brakes, and bucket seats were applied to realize dynamic performance, enhancing driving fun and cornering ability.
Q. Based on E-GMP, EV6 houses EV-exclusive features such as V2L and a multi-charging system. What exactly are these?
The V2L can supply 220V power to the outside using the vehicle’s power source, allowing passengers to use various electronic devices without restrictions on time and place. In particular, the V2L in EV6 provides 3.6kw of power, which is higher than the average household’s average hourly electricity consumption of 3kw; This means that you can use all the electronic devices from your home on the outside. Thanks to such utilities, the V2L function can also be an emergency power supply at home. These are functions that conventional internal combustion engines cannot provide at all; these make you realize that in the near future these electric vehicles will be used as ‘moving energy storage’.
Another thing is that EV6 will house a worry-free 400V/800V multi-charging system. The 800V super-fast charging system can charge the battery from 10% to 80% in just 18 minutes. For the long-range model, it is expected that the 77.4kWh large-capacity battery will be able to drive more than 100km with a short charging time of less than 5 minutes (about 4 minutes and 30 seconds).
Q. Any other special features that only EV6 can show? Or, would you recommend a specific function that you would like us to know?
The EV6 includes a number of new features that are new and unprecedented – sequentially lit front and rear turn signals and dynamic welcome lights, body silhouette lamps, auto-flush door handles, electric charging ports, and V2L on the outside. In particular, the dynamic welcome light and body silhouette lamp delivers a special user experience to the customers even before they hop on.
There is more to the interior and seats as well – A console touch switch that provides a seamless and high-tech experience, a first-row relaxation comfort seat, a reclining seat, and a cupholder armrest that provide comfortable use for second-row passengers, and intuitive 2-row remote folding function for user convenience.
Finally, speaking of convenience and infotainment, EV6 houses the Intelligent Front light System (IFS), infotainment/air conditioning switching control system, built-in V2L, etc. During night driving, IFS provides excellent visibility by partially turning off the LED toward the car in front when the high beam is activated. In addition, the infotainment/air conditioning switching control system allows both seamless interior design and utility.
Q. What is EV6 to Kia, and what kind of new electric car will Kia launch in the future?
The EV6 is the first car to be introduced after the official declaration that Kia will become more than just an automaker, providing innovative mobility solutions. The EV6 is also a model that signals the start of Kia’s mid-to-long-term strategy ‘Plan S’, which aims to increase the share of eco-friendly cars out of all available Kia models to 40% by 2030. Meanwhile, Plan S contains a vision to lead the electrification era by providing eco-friendly mobility services and diversifying businesses with a focus on electrification and autonomous driving technologies. The EV6 is very meaningful in that it is the first of 11 electric vehicles to be launched worldwide by 2026 under this vision. Starting with the EV6, Kia plans to lead the electric vehicle era by introducing a variety of lineups from sedans to SUVs and MPVs.
Photography by Choi Dai-Il