Sunday, 07 August 2022

Electric car that I was almost involved with

Electric car that I was almost involved with

I COME from a generation of drivers who once talked about “involvement” — that is, making some connection with a car.

This had to do with the handling of a car, its performance and whether you looked forward to driving it.

This might be considered an unfashionable view, one that shows that my generation has outdated views of driving in the 21st century.

And, dare I say it, I have found the electric car a tricky proposition for people like me.

Why? Because driving an EV can be, well, uninvolving.

Sure, the acceleration on EVs is startling but sprinting in cars on public roads is in no one’s best interest.

I shudder to think what the future holds with self-driving cars (autonomous driving); I see a regimented, dystopian picture of streams of lookalike cars filling the lanes of our motorways in mundane procession.

Where has this all come from? Well, this week I have been driving what is undoubtedly a very good electric car, the new Kia EV6.

Driving it, I was mindful of the car’s range but that has been addressed as the EV6 has a claimed range of 328 miles.

I still think the reality of everyday driving (that is the average speeds that millions of drivers achieve every day) will continue to challenge car manufacturers’ claimed ranges for EVs.

It wasn’t that that bothered me. It was that after a return trip of some 180 miles, I started to think about the future we drivers face.

Now I have driven a good few EVs, in fact Kia’s e-Niro EV was one of the most impressive because of its nimbleness and lightness of being. But I found the EV6 a tad too heavy for my liking so that might have induced some kind of indifference in my driving towards the journey’s end.

Of course, as always with driving, this is manifestly a personal point of view. The EV6 is in fact lighter than some of its nearest rivals.

But all this angst has a lot to do with living in a digital age. Cars are increasingly mimicking other digital devices such as mobiles, laptops and smart speakers.

To my mind. Kia has not put a foot wrong in the past two decades and the EV6 is an excellent EV capable of taking on any rivals.

It is the company’s first dedicated electric vehicle and the first of 11 all-new battery electric vehicles to be launched by Kia before 2026.

There is a choice of two powertrains for the EV6: 226bhp rear wheel drive single motor or 321bhp all wheel drive dual motor. Three model grades are available — Air, GT-Line and GT-Line S. There is also a high-performance GT flagship. There is a choice of five different versions of the EV6, all well-equipped and each distinct from the others.

I have been driving the Kia EV6 GT Line 77.4kWh RWD. The blue colour of the test car was outstanding (it is one of six available).

The test car had a 0-62mph in
7.3 seconds, single-speed automatic transmission and a DC fast charge time (50kW) of 73 minutes (10 to 80 per cent).

There is a DC fast charge time (350kW) of 18 minutes (10 to 80 per cent). But 50kW is what our local Waitrose offers and is, I understand, more readily available.

Every EV6 comes equipped with a Type 2-to-Type 2 charger with a 5m cable as well as a Type 2-to-Domestic three-pin plug charger, which, says Kia, is “to cater for every eventuality”.

For home use, a 7kW home charging station will recharge the EV6 from 10 to 100 per cent in seven hours 20 minutes. A regular domestic three-pin plug will take 32 hours and 45 minutes to reach full from 10 per cent.

Out on the road, a 50kW rapid charger will charge the car from
10 to 80 per cent in one hour and 13 minutes while 350kW ultra-fast chargers take 18 minutes to recharge from 10 to 80 per cent.

All UK models feature a long-range (77.4kWh), high-voltage battery pack as standard.

Officially, the rear wheel drive 77.4kWh EV6 can travel up to 328 miles on the combined cycle, similar to the distance from London to Edinburgh, on a single charge.

Kia says that less frequent
charging “removes one of the
most significant barriers to EV ownership”.

There is a likeable minimalism about the interior of the EV6 which I suppose goes with the ethos of owning an EV.

The seats are in black suede with “white vegan leather” bolsters. The driver has a power-adjusted memory seat.

Twin 12.3in touchscreens with curved panoramic display are standard on all EV6 models.

Kia Connect functionality is fitted to all versions and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility is standard.

To sum up, Kia’s first dedicated EV provides rapid charging times, access to an extensive charging network, a good long range and interior space.

Kia says the EV6 is “designed inside and out to deliver the very best experience an EV can offer”.

The carmaker’s aim is to make “ownership as convenient and accessible as running an internal combustion engine vehicle, and with reduced environmental impact”.

The price on the road of the test car, the Kia EV6 GT Line 77.4kWh RWD, was £47,195.


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