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Why The Kia EV6 Needs To Beat the Chevy Bolt and Forget Tesla

The Kia EV6 has been making the news recently for its stunning looks and performance. That’s not going to be enough. It needs to be better than the Chevy Bolt; forget fighting Tesla.

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The Kia EV6, introduced at the end of March, stands poised to change the electric vehicle market with its stunning looks. Some might think it’s focused on Tesla but it’s true competition is going to be the Chevy Bolt.

And that’s some tough competition. The Bolt has a bit of a head start and is winning early praise. U.S. News and World Report, where I used to work, named it the Best Electric Vehicle for its range, practical interior and handling. It also comes at a good price of $36,500.

Kia EV6 interior

So, why does the EV6 need to beat the Bolt and not the Tesla? Or even the Ford Mustang Mach-E? The Bolt is going to own the mainstream electric vehicle market for years to come. Volume is going to come from practical buyers: Tesla and the Mach-E aren’t going to appeal to that segment.

What does Kia need to promote about the EV6 to win the battle? Topping the list would be the 800V ultra-fast charging from 10 to 80 percent in just 18 minutes; about 60 miles in less than 4.5 minutes. Then it needs to market the heck out of how 4.5 minutes isn’t that long.

The next thing to do is pitch its roominess. This compact has a 115-inch wheelbase but a cabin space similar to many mid-size SUVs. There is 18 cubic feet of space behind the second-row seats when up; 46 cubic feet when down. Again, focus on the practicality.

The last thing to look at is technology. Highway driving assist and remote parking assist are two features that should be standard on all EV6 models.

Kia is not going to win the glamour or performance battle with its EV6. It needs to fight the Bolt on the practical front to win this war. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a great looking vehicle, though.

What do you think the main competition is for the Kia V6? Is it the Bolt or something else? Comment below.

Also See a New Development from KIA

Keith Griffin covers Hyundai and Kia at Torque News. He has been writing continuously about cars since 2002. Keith used to be a researcher/writer for US News & World Report, as well as numerous car sites, including Carfax and Car Gurus, and a contributor to The Boston Globe. Most recently, Keith was the managing editor for American Business Media. Follow Keith at @indepthauto on Twitter, on @LinkedIn and on his Indepth Auto Facebook page.

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Francis (not verified)    April 21, 2021 - 7:13AM

Journalists need to stop talking about "Tesla killer". Tesla will never be taken down from their throne because they were the first and they created a trend and set up a standard with their own network of chargers and their own charge port.
Tesla is the Apple of carmakers. Even though Samsung, LG, and Motorola caught up and built cheaper phones with better performance and design than iPhones, they stay the ones that people look up to. Even though Android phones are selling twice as much as iPhones, the Apple keynotes are events because they created a hype followed by a group of believers. Tesla is the new Apple. Not because they build better cars (Model 3 is garbage), but because it's almost a cult. Yet, it shouldn't be a cult. And we should not make idols.

Xana (not verified)    April 21, 2021 - 11:08AM

Kia is not fighting Tesla because Teslas are more expensive. But saying they need to beat the Chevy Bolt and questioning if they even can seem strange. The biggest reason why the Bolt has been so successful is it had cheap lease deals and it was readily available across the country. As long as Kia and Hyundai do that with the EV6 and Ioniq 5, they can definitely out-sell the Bolt. Looking at the cars themselves, the EV6 and Ioniq 5 greatly outperform the 2022 Bolt.

Kevin (not verified)    April 21, 2021 - 11:08AM

The demographic market for Tesla is different from a Kia. There is the assumption that Kia is trying to compete with Tesla because of the bold stylish look. Kia understands that only a small percentage of people who consider a Tesla would look at a Kia. Tesla is a statement car, an identity for the owner. The real winners will be those who purchase the Kia EV6 because you will get a well-designed and performing vehicle without the Tesla markup.

Ralph Wolf (not verified)    April 21, 2021 - 1:06PM

I'm tired of the naratives that play up a battle between EVs. Tesla vs Bolt vs New Kid on Block.... It is as silly as the supposed rivalry between GM, Ford and Ram 4x4 trucks. (they all look alike to me)

The real epic battle is EV vs ICE. Every attractive new EV is an ally to every other EV. They are working together to build acceptance of the technology and public charging infrastructure.

We own a '17 Bolt and an '18 Model 3. This KIA looks like it was designed to take the best of both cars, while leaving behind their weaknesses. It's not trying to be a Tesla or a Bolt. It's trying to be a Kia.

I would have prefered to get more in the way of specs and less pontificating from the author. In particular, he failed to mention range. Charging from 10 to 80% in 18 minutes is a lot less impressive, if the car only has 150 miles of range.

Also, is the 800V DCFC compatible with the installed base of chargers? Does the battery itself operate at 800V, or did they put a DC-DC converter on board to step the 800V down to battery voltage for charging? (If they did, the car would accept any voltage up to 800V, which is a lot more useful than requiring an 800V charger)

Loaddown (not verified)    May 6, 2021 - 9:20PM

I am totally confused! How can you mention the Bolt and EV6 in the same article when they are at least $10,000 apart? Both are great concepts, but for completely different buyers. Get the price range together before you start comparing features.
Of course, I do not think that Kia has the name for this price-tag anyway, They should have made a branch with a new name for EVs - like Hyundai is suggesting with the Ioniq 5.

Larry (not verified)    July 28, 2021 - 12:26PM

This is one of the worst thought out articles I’ve ever seen. It truly shows no car business marketing sense or market awareness.

The EV6 and the Bolt - these are two separate markets.

First off lets look at the price. The Ev6 is $10,000-15,000 more than the Bolt. “But, but, what about the tax credit? That’ll give it the same price as the Bolt.” Most people don't ever see a nickel of the credit because they don’t make enough to even get a $7500 tax credit. It’s a giveaway for people who make $150k a year. So the EV6 is just out of the range of many Bolt buyers.

Next the specs are give or take the same as a Tesla Y or 3. 164 mph and a 3.2 second 0-60, which puts the Bolt to shame. By every metric from cargo to charging speed, its equal to or surpasses the previously mentioned Teslas. Bolts are not in the same league. They are basically a commuter car that once in huge while might take a few hour journey or try something more adventurous for a few hearty individuals wjo dont mind waiting hours to charge it. The Kia can go across the nation with relative ease and hyper fast charging.

With its better specs, build quality and price the EV6 and the ioniq 5 are uniquely position to pull a lot of ales away from Tesla.

Frankie (not verified)    July 21, 2022 - 12:36PM

My son has 2 Teslas and though he loves them, I have never compared them to my ev6. There are so many differences between them but I am extremely happy with the ev6. I do have frunk envy though … can’t beat the Tesla for that one. My son enjoys driving my ev6 but complains about all the buttons really likes the Tesla’s system better but since I’ve never owned a Tesla and have come from a more traditional car I don’t mind the buttons. My husband has a very low tech older car and he is having trouble adjusting to the increased tech in the ev6 and honestly I think a Tesla would push him way over the edge. Personally I think both cars are good but I like the looks of the ev6 better than the Tesla. I also wish the infrastructure for the fast chargers for the ev6 were more widely available … but other than that I have no complaints about the car I chose.