Kia EV6 on street
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Kia EV 6 wins 2022 What Car "Car Of The Year" Award

Score another award for Kia with their all new EV6! UK automobile magazine What Car? has just awarded Kia with their 2022 Car of the Year award and it is fairly easy to see why.

According to Yahoo! Finance, the EV6 was also named SUV of the Year by What Car? and is only the second electric vehicle to ever receive the Car of the Year award. The EV6 has a competitive (though not class leading) range, a spacious interior, good looks, competitive pricing and solid performance. But one clear advantage it has is its 800V charging capability which enables it to charge faster than most other EVs with “only” 400V charging capability. 800V charging helps address one hurdle that EV manufacturers have to overcome in the move away from fossil fueled vehicles toward electric, the amount of time it takes to “refuel” the vehicle. Kia says that one could charge the vehicle from 10-80% in just 18 minutes, or a little over 200 miles of range in that timeframe. The Tesla Model Y (the class leader) is actually only a little slower, with InsideEVs pegging the Model Y at about 30 mins (at 210 kW) for a 0-80% charge (for comparison they peg the EV6 at 20 mins, at 350 kW). 10 mins might not seem like a lot, and I would argue it isn’t, but it could certainly make the difference for some. Another advantage for Kia in the U.S., compared to the market leader in this EV segment (Tesla Model Y), is a $7,500 federal tax incentive.

I would also argue that we shouldn’t be looking at the charging times in only these empty/near empty to 80% timeframes. As an experienced EV road tripper, I have found that it is often better to keep the battery in a narrower state of charge, say from around 33% charge remaining to about 75%. It takes significantly less time to charge EVs like the EV6 and Tesla Model Y from these ranges and 40% or so of a charge is more or less enough for two hours of freeway driving. Unless you are on a mission to cover 600 or more miles in a day of driving, and some people certainly will be, making a 400-500 mile drive with two brief stops for refreshment or relief are what this works out to, except perhaps in extreme scenarios (driving in sub zero temperatures or over long, steep mountain passes with a full load of people and stuff for example), in which case you might either need to drive slower or make a third stop.

But if the average U.S. car buyer wants an EV6, how many is Kia going to make and should we expect to be able to find them at U.S. dealerships? While Kia has not said exactly how many they plan to offer in the U.S. for 2022, we can do some fuzzy math to get a sense for how easy it will be to find. The initial batch of 1,500 “First Edition” EV6s are all already spoken for. In fact, as InsideEVs pointed out, all reservations were snatched up the day they became available, in June 2021. So for the first quarter of 2022, if you didn’t pre-order an EV6, you probably have to wait.

How many EV6s might Kia deliver for the rest of 2022? Since, according to the same InsideEVs article in the previous paragraph, the different models of the EV6 will be rolled out over the course of 2022 with the top spec GT trim not showing up until “late 2022” we should consider 2022 to be a ramp up year for this model and for Kia’s expansion of it’s EV sales growth in the U.S. market. But I still haven’t answered the question; I can only guess at this point but I believe the answer is between 12,000 on the low end to perhaps approaching 60,000.

Why do I say this? According to InsideEVs, Kia plans to increase production of EVs by 58,000 units in 2022 compared to 2021 (or roughly a 50% increase over 2021 totals). Also according to InsideEVs, we may expect to see above 10,000 EV6 sales per month, globally, in 2022. Assuming that is true, that means most of the 162,000 EV sales Kia has forecast for 2022 will be the EV6, with the remainder likely being primarily the Niro EV plus a small number of other EVS (the Soul) that it sells outside the U.S. market. Kia has very strong demand for the EV6 in its home market and Europe of course, so if roughly half of all EV6s end up in the U.S. this year, a possibility given demand already shown, that is how I get to the upper range of my estimate. Personally, I think EV6 U.S. sales will end up somewhere in the upper end of my range, but I don’t think there will be 60k EV6 sales in the U.S., this year, due to global demand/supply.

So, do you want an EV6 in 2022? If so you should be talking to your Kia dealer now, or consider one of its competitors: the Tesla Model Y (which should outsell all of its competitors combined, without doubt), Ford Mustang Mach-E, VW ID.4, Nissan Ariya, Hyundai Ioniq 5, or whatever GM might offer.

Image provided by Kia.

Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 14 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Twitter for daily KIA EV news coverage.

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