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. The good news for readers of this site is the EV6 has a very competent 1,600 kg (3,527 lb) towing capacity which matches the IONIQ 5 from sibling brand Hyundai. The EV6 and IONIQ 5 are based on the same Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP).
Key KIA EV6 Specs
- Official Towing Capacity – 1,600 kg/3,527 lbs
- Availability – 2021 (2022 for GT)
- Expected Price – Starting $45,000 (Standard Range/2WD) > $55,000 (GT)
- Expected EPA Range – 210 miles (Standard Range/2WD) > 275 miles (Long Range/2WD)
- Estimated Towing Range (50%) – 105 miles (Standard Range/2WD) > 138 miles (Long Range/2WD)
- Maximum Charge Rate – 175 kW (Standard Range/2WD) > 250 kW (Long Range/AWD & GT)
KIA EV6 HP & Torque
- Standard Range/2WD – RWD with 168 HP and 258 lb-ft of torque
- Long Range/2WD – 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 much like when I produced my Hyundai IONIQ 5 article and included a disclaimer, I need to do the same here. Currently, we only know for certain that the Long Range/AWD and GT versions have a 1,600 kg/3,527 lb towing capacity. It’s quite possible that the lower-spec 2WD versions could get a lower towing rating, hopefully not, but bear that in mind. The KIA US Press Release for the EV6 states that ‘With more than 35% charge left in the battery, the EV6 can tow items weighing up to 1,600 kg‘. I must admit, I find that statement a bit odd with reference to the 35% state of charge.
However, the 1,600 kg towing capacity of the EV6 is very respectable compared to its direct competition as I’ll discuss more below. What instantly stands out when reviewing the specs above is the GT, it features 577 HP and can do 0 to 60 MPH in 3.5 seconds. 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 1,600 kg towing capacity and 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 been 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 only the EV6 will get a GT version with 577 HP. However, there are other differences. The IONIQ 5 Long Range/Project 45 get a maximum rapid/fast charge rate of 232 kW, whereas the Long Range/GT EV6 get a slightly higher maximum rapid/fast charge rate of 250 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 the same 1,600 kg/3,527 lb towing capacity let’s put that to one side with regards to competition. What the IONIQ 5 and EV6 both present is stiff competition for other EV towing alternatives such as the VW ID.4 and Nissan Ariya. The KIA EV6 with its 1,600 kg/3,527 lb towing capacity is more than any of its direct competition with a similar price point in its Standard/Long Range variants. When it comes to the EV6 GT none of the other brands referenced above are currently set to offer anything with that amount of power/torque along with a 1,600 kg/3,527 lb towing capacity.
However, while the towing capacity of the KIA EV6 is impressive by itself, its the maximum fast/rapid charging speed which also makes the EV6 stand out. With a maximum DC charging rate of 250kW 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 250kW the KIA EV6 is significantly ahead of its closest electric tow car competition on price and matches 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/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 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. Either way, I think the IONIQ 5 and EV6 are going to be very compelling electric tow cars with a 1,600 kg/3,527 lb towing capacity starting from just over $45,000. Both feature V2L which I’ve discussed would be very handy for off-grid camping. Again I like the solar roof option on the IONIQ 5 and I hope KIA also consider offering it on the EV6.
While the range of the EV6 is respectable, its the fast/rapid charging rate of 250kW 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. Therefore, in this very important regard, the KIA EV6 (along with the IONIQ 5) when it comes to electric tow cars specifically are the first real competition for Tesla.