Kia’s New EV6 Sells Out First Edition; Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 Is More Low Key, But Will Arrive Sooner
Story by Michael Coates; photos from Hyundai and Kia.
While 2020 turned out not to be the “Year of the EV” that was predicted pre-pandemic, we had some solid introductions that are now bleeding over into 2021. Hyundai and Kia, the two sister brands that make up the Hyundai Motor Company of Korea, both launched key vehicles destined to define the brands’ role in the growing electric portion of the market.
Both Hyundai and Kia have extensive stables of electrified vehicles—usually presented as model variants like the Kia Niro Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid or full Electric or the similar Hyundai Ioniq trio. Or it might be a Hyundai Kona with pure gasoline or electric options as also been seen with the Kia Soul.
That was then; this is now. The current trend is for companies to present a clear battery electric model, so Kia introduces the EV6 as its first battery-only model and Hyundai brings forward the Ioniq 5, part of recasting the Ioniq brand as an EV-only. Not surprisingly for a smart global company like Hyundai, both are based on the company’s E-GMP platform and boast range and fast-charging capability as well as the flexibility to run in single- or dual-motor configurations.
The Kia EV6—A Teaser
Kia’s new EV6 electric crossover must have a start-stop system. It was teased to the public in sleek silhouettes, then introduced to the media along with a reservation center for those eager to get a limited First Edition model. The website promptly crashed. Kia revamped the website and a couple days later announced it would once again be open to take reservations and refundable deposits on the car with delivery expected in Q1 2022.
It didn’t take long—less than 24 hours—for the 1,500 slickly designed First Edition models to be snapped up. These models came with one of three optional “gifts”– an at-home vehicle charger, a 1000-kilowatt-hour (kWh) credit within a national charging network or an Apple Watch for connecting to the EV6’s suite of Kia Connect services. Kia reported than more than four of five of registrants chose the at-home charger.
The early adopters also got to choose among three color combinations—Urban Yellow with black seats, Glacier (white) with dark green seats and Steel Gray Matte with black seats. The Urban Yellow exterior color and dark green seats are exclusive to the First Edition.
Features on the model include dual-motor all-wheel drive (AWD), a 77.4-kWh battery, an 800-volt fast-charging capability capable of adding 60+ miles of range in less than four and a half minutes, an augmented reality head-up display, remote smart parking assist, a sunroof, 20-inch wheels and a 14-speaker Meridian audio system. Kia’s appeal of luxury, performance and technology seems to be resonating with its target audience.
Eventually the EV6 will be available in rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and GT all-wheel drive models will ascending power and performance capabilities although they will all draw from the same battery pack.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5—Here First
If waiting’s not your game, the EV6’s sister car at Hyundai, the more angular Ioniq 5, will arrive this fall. Rather than start with a limited edition model, the Ioniq 5 crossover will arrive in three trim levels—SE, SEL and Limited. The top-line Limited most resembles Kia’s First Edition with dual motors cranking out a combined 320 horsepower, 20-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, the capability of adding 60 miles of range at a 350 kW fast-charger in five minutes, up to 300 miles of driving range and the same 77.4 kWh battery pack.
Instead offering a home charger, Hyundai offers Ioniq purchasers two years of unlimited 30-minute complimentary charging sessions at Electrify America charging stations. The Ioniq 5 also offers what Hyundai is calling V2L (vehicle-to-load) capability where the car’s battery can be used to power off-board electrical equipment. The car also comes with a full suite of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as head-up display with augmented reality, adaptive cruise control with machine learning, forward collision-avoidance assist, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, driver attention warning and other technology. On-board software will be updated wirelessly over-the-air.
The Ioniq is part of the Hyundai Motor Group’s plan to introduce 23 battery electric models by 2025, which it hopes to translate into one million vehicle sales worldwide. The pre-reservation system for the Ioniq 5 requires a $100 deposit. Hyundai has announced that the Ioniq 5 SUV will be followed by the Ioniq 6, a midsize sedan, and the Ioniq 7, a large SUV. All will be fully electric.
A video walkaround of the Ioniq 5: