KIA is no stranger to full electric compact SUVs, the Niro EV has been a very popular car for KIA. However, the Niro EV was an EV conversion, not a ground-up electric vehicle. Well now KIA has developed the EV6, a ground-up electric vehicle of compact SUV proportions. Unfortunately just like its sibling the IONIQ 5 from Hyundai, the EV6 in US-Spec has a lower towing capacity than EU/UK variants. In the US all versions of the EV6 will be rated to tow just 2,300 lbs, considerably down on the 3,500 lbs on the EU/UK versions.
Key KIA EV6 Specs
- Official Towing Capacity – 2,300 lbs (all versions)
- Availability – 2022
- Expected Price – Starting $45,000 (Standard Range/RWD) > $55,000 (GT)
- EPA Range – 232 miles (Standard Range/RWD) > 310 miles (Long Range/RWD)
- Estimated Towing Range (50%) – 116 miles (Standard Range/RWD) > 155 miles (Long Range/RWD)
- Maximum Charge Rate – 233 kW (Long Range & GT)
KIA EV6 HP & Torque
- Standard Range/RWD – RWD with 168 HP and 258 lb-ft of torque
- Long Range/RWD – RWD with 225 HP and 258 lb-ft of torque
- Long Range/AWD – AWD with 320 HP and 446 lb-ft of torque
- GT – AWD with 577 HP and 546 lb-ft of torque
KIA EV6 Towing Capabilities
So, unfortunately, just like with the IONIQ 5, the US versions of the KIA EV6 have received a downgrade in their official towing capacity. Originally, it appeared the towing capacity was going to be 3,500 lbs to match the versions of the EV6 sold in the EU/UK. However, that’s no longer the case.
All US versions of the KIA EV6 will receive a 2,300 lb towing capacity. Now granted, that’s a little better than the IONIQ 5 which was downgraded more significantly to 2,000 lbs. But really, its still a disappointment for the EV6.
While the IONIQ 5 and EV6 share the same platform a GT version of the IONIQ 5 with such a huge amount of power/torque has not been announced. While towing range is going to continue to be a concern for pretty much all EVs for several years to come, the GT serves as a classic example of where power/torque is not going to be a problem with electric tow cars.
While the KIA EV6 and the Hyundai IONIQ 5 share very similar features such as the Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) technology which I’ll discuss more below, there are a few differences.
Apparently, in South Korea, Hyundai is seen as the inferior brand to KIA, with KIA producing higher specification vehicles. From my perspective, I’ve never really thought of there being much of a distinction between Hyundai and KIA vehicles.
However, the subtle specification differences between the IONIQ 5 and EV6 do fall in line with KIA being promoted as the superior option to some degree.
For instance, as discussed above, currently only the EV6 will get a GT version with 577 HP. However, there are other differences. The IONIQ 5 Long Range get a maximum rapid/fast charge rate of 210 kW, whereas the Long Range/GT EV6 get a slightly higher maximum rapid/fast charge rate of 233 kW.
Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) – Handy For Off-Grid Camping
Just like the IONIQ 5, all EV6 models come with Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) technology. What that means is you can pull power from the EV6’s battery pack to power other things up to a maximum of 3.6 kW (16 Amps).
Now, many RV service posts provide 16 Amps of power, hence, an EV6 can provide the same amount of power as if a camper/RV was plugged into the mains.
That means the EV6 (along with the IONIQ 5) provides one of the most viable/practical solutions to EV off-grid camping. Granted though, you would want to rapid/fast charge the EV6 as close to full as possible as close to your final destination as possible to provide you with enough energy while camping.
Another difference between the IONIQ 5 and EV6 is that currently only the IONIQ 5 has been announced to also provide the option of a solar roof. I like the idea of the solar roof on the IONIQ 5 not for providing any significant additional mileage to the car (as it won’t), I like the solar roof integration with the V2L feature for camping.
If your camper/RV wasn’t using too much power for heating/cooling for example the solar roof on the IONIQ 5 could result in the V2L to the camper/RV having little impact on the remaining vehicle range.
As it would appear KIA has put specifications in the EV6 just above the Hyundai IONIQ 5 I do think its a bit odd the solar roof is not being offered currently as well.
KIA EV6 vs The EV Towing Competition
As the Hyundai IONIQ 5 is really just another very similar offering from the same parent company with a similar 2,000 lb towing capacity let’s put that to one side with regards to competition.
What the EV6 does present is stiff competition for other EV towing alternatives such as the VW ID.4 and Nissan Ariya. The KIA EV6 tows more than the Ariya (1,500 lbs) but a bit less than the ID.4 (2,700 lbs). However, the EV6 can rapid charge significantly faster than either of those vehicles.
With a maximum DC charging rate of 233kW the EV6 can charge from 10% to 80% in 18 minutes at a suitably rated fast/rapid charger (typically a 350kW charger). The VW ID.4 has a maximum charge rate of 125 kW and the Nissan Ariya does slightly better at 130kW.
The KIA EV6 with its 400/800V charging system is simply significantly more advanced. As I discuss in my EV towing guide and specifically the fast/rapid charging guide, how fast an electric tow car can charge is arguably as important as the vehicle’s range.
With a maximum charge rate of 233kW the KIA EV6 is significantly ahead of its closest electric tow car competition on price and is close to the more expensive Tesla Model Y with its maximum 250kW charging speed. Now, Tesla will likely have the advantage for several years to come in terms of access to a suitably rated charger.
Tesla is now rolling out their V3 Superchargers capable of 250kW across the US which are exclusive to Tesla owners, other charging networks with 350kW rated charges are quite far behind.
However, the point being, once the other networks with 350kW chargers are ready, the KIA EV6 will be able to charge at a significantly faster rate than the current competition from VW and Nissan.
My Thoughts On The KIA EV6…
Personally, I prefer the sharp lines and LED/pixel styling of the IONIQ 5. However, I do think the KIA EV6 is a smart well-designed car overall. I still cannot quite decide how I feel about the rear end brake light design of the EV6, at the minute I think its looks rather odd, but it could grow on me.
However, I’m disappointed with the 2,000 lb towing capacity of the US-Spec EV6 compared to the 3,500 lbs offered with the EU/UK vehicles. Then again, starting from just over $45,000 with features such as V2L and impressive rapid charging speeds are positives.
While the range of the EV6 is respectable, its the fast/rapid charging rate of 233kW which will really help it to be a viable/practical tow car. As with any electric tow car, as towing will reduce the range by roughly half, getting energy back into the battery as quickly as possible when charging during the journey is important.