Kia EV6 here in early 2022 with long-range battery and local chassis tune

Kia's first dedicated electric vehicle will arrive early next year with two trim levels, two drivetrain options and a locally-tuned ride.

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James Wong
James Wong
Production Editor
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The all-electric 2022 Kia EV6 is just months away from an Australian launch, with Kia’s local arm confirming first cars will arrive during the first quarter of next year.

Full pricing and specifications will be revealed during the Australian Open tennis Grand Slam (17-30 January), though we now know the EV6 will land with base and GT-Line trim levels offering both single-motor rear-wheel drive and dual-motor all-wheel drive options.

Kia has opted to only offer the larger 77.4kWh lithium battery as standard.

Rear-wheel drive models develop 168kW and can travel up to 328 miles (527km) with the 77.4kWh long-range battery. Zero to 100km/h takes 7.3 seconds.

Meanwhile, the EV6 AWD drops maximum range to 314mi (505km) but ups power to 239kW, resulting in a 5.2-second sprint from 0-100.

“Around 500 units” have been earmarked to the Australian market throughout 2022, with vehicles to be allocated throughout the duration of the calendar year. Kia Australia says it’s in “continuous dialogue with head office about this number with the hopes of increasing it”.

Unlike its Hyundai Ioniq 5 twin, the Kia EV6 will be sold through the brand’s national dealer network with a “fair allocation” to be worked out across the network.

Kia Australia says “over 90 per cent” of its dealers are already set up to sell and service EV6 vehicles.

Also unlike the Ioniq 5, the Kia EV6 has been subjected to the brand’s local ride and handling program, led by Graeme Gambold who has localised the ride of over 50 Kia models during the last decade.

“One of the things we are always tuning for in Australia is large body movements on country roads at 100km/h and that is always manifested with high centre of gravity roll dynamic in conventional cars,” Mr Gambold said.

“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.”

Mr Gambold worked closely with teams in Namyang, South Korea on the local chassis setup despite challenges and constraints posed by COVID lockdowns across the globe. Recent tests have centred on roads in regional Victoria.

Kia Australia’s general manager of product, Roland Rivero, added: “Our local tuning program is part of our DNA and a key component to Kia’s success in Australia”.

“We’ve aimed to inject a fun to drive character in our products, but most importantly give drivers the feeling of control and confidence when driving a Kia in a variety of conditions.”

“I believe it’s now an expectation when car buyers are considering Kia products that this has been done and so, despite the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19, we didn’t give up on the program and particularly not for our new brand halo, the EV6,” Mr Rivero continued.

“It certainly helped that we’ve been on this journey with Namyang’s Ride and handling teams for a long time and we also have an established relationship with the team in ZF Sachs. They have travelled to Australia so many times in the past and have a thorough understanding of our local conditions, so during lockdown our history with them was vital, as it made the process of tuning via correspondence achievable.”

“Otherwise, if it was a case of sight unseen, the process of conveying our desired compressions and rebound forces would be difficult for them to understand, particularly as our tune is unlike any other region,” he concluded.

The Kia EV6 is the company’s first dedicated electric vehicle based on the Hyundai Motor Group’s new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), and is the first of 11 new Kia EVs to be released globally by 2026 – seven of which will be based on the E-GMP toolkit and the remaining four to be derivatives of existing nameplates.

Kia Australia says customer interest in the EV6 exceeds “all previous Kia models before and equally shared between existing and new Kia customers”.

Following the launch of EV6 and EV6 GT-Line models during the first quarter of 2022, the 430kW EV6 GT performance variant will lob in late 2022 or early 2023.

Stay tuned to CarExpert for all the latest, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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James Wong
James Wong

James Wong is the Production Editor at CarExpert.

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