Electric cars

Kia, with help from Hyundai, threatens Tesla and Volkswagen as Europe’s electric car leader

Kia, with help from Hyundai, threatens Tesla and Volkswagen as Europe's electric car leader

Korea’s Kia and its subsidiary Hyundai are launching more impressive all-electric cars to provide a formidable challenge to market leaders like Volkswagen and Tesla, and are now led by the recently crowned European Car of the Year (COTY), the Kia EV6.

Surprisingly for a sporty SUV hailed as Kia’s first to be designed from the start to be all-electric, the EV6 lags behind in the all-important range stakes behind its own long-established Soul model. Kia says the Soul’s 44.5kWh battery can give you 280 miles of range, compared to My opinion which charged it to an average of 266.5 miles, while the 77.4kWh EV6 has a top claim of 300 miles, but only managed an average of 229.3 miles from the battery when I plugged in.

And while the electric car revolution is currently in full swing, ominous clouds are brewing on the horizon. The recovery from the coronavirus pandemic-related supply chain disruption was derailed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This threatens to reverse the expected fall in battery prices by cutting off the supply of essential minerals.

A British investigation “Which?“A mainstream magazine suggests that one of the main pillars of an electric car’s public appeal, simplicity and reliability, is not confirmed by experience.

“Over 48,000 people from across the UK told us about the 56,853 cars they own and drive in our latest reliability survey. The results show that electric car owners suffer not only from the average number of breakdowns the higher, but also the highest rate of cars breaking down or not starting,” said Which?, which has a strong reputation for accuracy and independence.

Which? says it’s mainly because of unreliable software. There was also good news for Kia and bad vibes for Tesla.

“Our new fuel-specific ratings reveal that Kia makes the most reliable electric cars you can buy, while Tesla makes the least reliable,” Which? noted.

Kia has announced an ambitious global sales target, aiming to increase sales by nearly a third to 4 million by 2030, compared to 2022. Just over a quarter of those sales are expected to be electric vehicles at battery (BEV). Unlike its Hyundai subsidiary, it has remained silent on its hydrogen projects, if any. Kia’s next BEV is the EV9, slated for launch in 2023 and part of its plan for 10 new BEVs by 2026.

Last year, Volkswagen and its VW, Audi, Skoda, Porsche and SEAT brands topped the sales charts in Western Europe with nearly 300,000 sales and a 25.0% market share, according to Schmidt Automotive Research. Kia/Hyundai was in 5and place with 133,000 or 11.2% and behind Stellantis, Tesla and Renault Nissan. The best seller was the Tesla Model 3 (140,000-11.7%), then the Renault Zoe (70,340-5.9%) and the VW ID.3 (68,000-5.7%). The Kia Niro was 5 years oldand and the Hyundai Kona 9and, but this year things will speed up with the arrival of the new Hyundai Ioniq 5 and EV6. Hyundai’s premium brand, Genesis, will also be showcasing the GV60, while Tesla’s German-made Model Y will no doubt generate plenty of excitement.

Schmidt Automotive’s Matt Schmidt believes the Koreans may have the inside lane against Tesla.

“The main competitor is of course the Model Y. With Kia offering a 7 year warranty on the EV6, you don’t have to look far where they have an edge over their Californian/European competitor. With the issues of quality from Tesla that still potentially scare off some customers, Kia might be able to score big with this.Volkswagen’s ID.4 is also another contender, along with the Ioniq 5 (of similar design) and the upcoming Genesis derivative In the future, models such as the Toyota bZ4x will also come even closer given Toyota’s fixation on reliability,” Schmidt said.

Volkswagen is also likely to eye the new competition nervously.

“Who are Kia and Hyundai most likely to threaten, and I would say VW Group models. With Hyundai/Kia’s quality arguably on par or even better than VW, they are certainly able to grow and offer a superior product at a potentially more competitive price than the Germans,” Schmidt said in an interview. .

Arne Brethouwer, founder of the European data provider based in the Netherlands EV database accepted.

“If both brands can maintain their current pace of EV development, there won’t be many threats to them. They currently have a very strong and advanced platform that only a few can compete with in the market. segment. Other similar (manufacturers) have a lot of catching up to do. The only real direct competition within their segment currently comes from VW, mainly from the Skoda and VW brands,” Brethouwer said in an interview.

The EV6 hit the market, at least PR-wise thanks to its COTY price tag. The looks are obvious and the performance on the road impressive. Inside, quality is the watchword. Kia emphasizes its powerful public charging capability.

“The 800-volt ultra-fast charge can boost the battery from 10 to 80% in just 18 minutes with a 350 kW charger. Fast charging from 10 to 80% takes 1 hour 13 minutes with a 50kW charger,” Kia said.

The EV6 suffers from the usual range limitations of high-speed cruising, which I calculate at 31.3 percent for a 157-mile highway range. That lags behind the Soul’s impressive 205 miles. But the efficient regenerative braking system means the range claimed to be available is achievable, as long as you stay out of the fast lane and stick to rural or urban missions.

The EV6 is a blast on the road, with super precise steering, and it felt solidly planted in high-speed corners. Like most electric cars, throttle response is instant and continuous. Inside, the dashboard is impressive, with the head-up display a nifty option. This projects basic information like the speed limit, your speed and simple SatNav instructions at eye level as if it were at the end of the hood. You don’t have to take your eyes off the road to read vital data. There’s plenty of room in the back and the trunk was impressive, which isn’t surprising since it’s a big car. This was the top of the range GT Line S 77.4 kWh AWD version with 321 hp and 2 electric motors. There is a 223 hp version with a single engine and rear-wheel drive.

Kia EV6 GT Line S 77.4kWh AWD

Electric motor – 2 permanent magnet synchronous motors (PMSM)

Power – 98hp front engine + 225hp rear = 321hp

Torque – 605Nm

Battery – 77.4 kWh Li-ion polymer

Gearbox – single speed

Battery Range Claimed – 300 miles (391 city)

Recharge – home charger 7 hours 20 minutes to 100%

– DC 350 kW 80% 18 minutes DC 50 73 minutes

Driving – all wheel drive

Top speed – 114 mph

Acceleration – 0-60 mph 5.0 seconds

Suspension – McPherson/multi-link

Competition – VW ID.4, Tesla Y, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Mercedes EQA, Ford Mustang Mach E, Skoda Enyaq

Price in Britain – £51,945 ($68,250 after tax)