New U.S. Owner of Kia EV6 Says It Challenges Tesla as the Pinnacle of EVs
Victor S from Bristol, TN has an interesting story. He wasn’t actually a reservation holder for an initial “First Edition” Kia EV6. He just got very lucky and managed to land one of the very first deliveries in the U.S. and he offers us some important details on what it is like to be an EV trailblazer and the ownership experience of a brand new model that few people, even at the dealership, have ever seen.
Tell me about yourself and your driving habits. I’m a project manager, working from home. I lived in Nashville until 2017 when I moved to the TriCities for a more relaxing rural life. I typically drive around 8-12k miles with a few long road trips to visit family in NY or FL, annually.
You owned a Chevy Bolt previously, tell me about your experience with the Bolt and or other plug-in vehicles. Have you owned a Kia before? I’ve owned 4 plug-in electric vehicles since 2017. My first was an electric SmartCar which I miss but it was not made for rural living. With a 70 mile range in summer I found it to be very limiting. I’ve owned two Chevy Bolts thanks to the battery recall. My first was MSRP swapped under lemon law for a ’21 Bolt EV Premier. Within one month of ownership, the ’21 was added to the recall and I found myself back to square one. In the year since, Chevy introduced some temporary fixes including a software update limiting the battery to 80%, which I couldn’t do, due my long distance travel. Between the recall and some issues I couldn’t have a dealer look at until the required software update, I started looking at alternative EVs. The Bolt is fantastic, and a bargain for a long range EV, but it’s starting to look dated in terms of technology and features. I’ve never owned a KIA, so this is my entry into the brand.
How did you decide on the EV6? Did you have to pay any mark-up and were you generally satisfied with the price? I actually was looking at buying a Tesla Model 3, or VW ID.4. I did plenty of research on new models coming to market, but with no availability I wasn’t expecting to find an EV6. I had considered a Hyundai Ioniq 5, but with none for sale in Tennessee, there were limits on how to get one and have it serviced. I did have to pay a markup, sadly, but given the current car market I think the markup I paid was fair compared to some I’ve seen online elsewhere. I fought hard to remove it, but in reality if I walked away the next customer (or sucker) would have taken it. The dealers hold the cards these days. I’m satisfied with the price, but I will always remember when I drive by the dealer how much I’m paying.
So you didn’t reserve one of the “First Edition” models last year? What was your buying experience like? I actually have a fun story, I was not a reservation holder. On a Friday, I was in a multi-brand dealership working on a deal for a VW ID.4, and later that evening at another dealership working a deal on a Tesla Model 3. On a planned re-visit to the VW dealership Saturday morning my sales rep, James, texted me that he had a surprise. James was a pleasure to work with by the way, I don't think I would have gotten this car without him. I arrived at the dealership and there sat this absolutely beautiful EV6 GT-Line AWD in Aurora Black. I expected this to be a demo model, but to my surprise it was for sale. We immediately test drove it, I fell in love, and several hours later it was mine. The experience was good, but since it was so new the dealership hadn’t been trained and the salesmen couldn’t answer many questions. Kia’s website still listed it as “coming soon” and their parts department couldn’t order accessories. It’s almost as if the car was dropped off and nobody was prepared. I have 3 tickets submitted to Kia’s Consumer Affairs and 1 to ElectrifyAmerica. As of today, 2 are resolved by Kia. It’s so new, nobody has answers off hand. No 3rd party accessories, no hitches, no floor mats, nothing is developed yet.
What do you like or appreciate about the EV6? Are there any things you wish were different? I’ve been told not to drive too hard the first 1k miles so the fluids and gears wear in, and I’ve tried not to punch it too much. I’ve tried sport mode from stoplights a few times and it’s an insane rush. The AWD helps keep the tires from spinning (which the Bolt did quite often being FWD). I’ve only driven it around town to go shopping. I’ve taken it a few places looking for ceramic coating and clear bra applications. I really enjoy it, it feels like the future compared to my previous EVs. The technology in the car is advanced, the features aren’t lacking. I’ve used the “autopilot” feature a lot. It handles city streets really well, but stands out on the interstate with the ability to change lanes and auto adjust to speed signs and curves. The only thing it lacks is wireless Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, which is surprising.
Compare the EV6 to other EVs/plug-ins. Does Kia have a hit on their hands? Kia really has a hit here. The range is optimal for most consumers. I think the killer feature is the DCFC speed. 80% charge in 18 minutes is a game changer for road trips. In the time it takes me to use the restroom, buy a drink, or walk the dog, it’s charged. I can tow 2300lbs. I can tow a jet ski or a small camper, then use the Vehicle To Load (VTL) at the campsite for electricity. I believe it's one of the only EVs on the market now with a sunroof that opens. I can’t think of any drawbacks. Everyone likes to think of Tesla as the pinnacle of EVs and I think this car will change that perception.
Any words of wisdom for others considering the purchase of an EV, Kia or otherwise? In all my years of advocating and answering questions in parking lots, the number one piece of advice I give is: do your research! Make sure you understand what you're getting. Does the range work for you daily? Do you have access to public chargers? Can you install a charger at home? Have you researched the cost of the installation? Have you researched the full cost of charging at home? Are you ready for your mechanic to unfriend you? In 5 years of EV ownership, I’ve never seen a mechanic outside of a recall. For those looking to buy an EV6, please research dealer markups. In KIAEVforums.com, we’ve seen dealers adding $5k-25k markups, and we’ve tried to keep a running list of dealers acting fairly (click if you're interested). If you're willing to wait, or to look, you’ll find one without the premium price.
If you have any questions or comments for Victor or I, please leave them below.
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.