Kia launches a P3,788,000 electric vehicle

If you haven’t been paying attention to what’s happening in the automotive industry, chances are you are not aware that full-electric vehicles are slowly but steadily entering our humble market. By electric, I mean cars that are powered by motors that do not drink gasoline or diesel. And no, it’s not just the Chinese that are revolutionizing the car business in the area of propulsion. In fact, the poster child of EVs in the country is Japanese, and that’s the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf did for EVs what the Toyota Prius had done for hybrid vehicles, which was to pave the way for its kind.

Once the Leaf had opened the doors for EVs and convinced Filipino buyers to accept EVs, competitors followed suit—from the Chinese (BYD, Weltmeister and Jetour) to the Europeans (Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Porsche). And the Koreans will not be left behind: Hyundai has introduced the Ioniq 5, and Kia officially launched the EV6 last night. Both of these are compact crossovers, and both don’t have internal-combustion engines.

Replacing the traditional engine is a single permanent magnet synchronous motor that produces 226hp and 350Nm. It gets juice from a 77.4kWh lithium-ion battery that supposedly supplies 528km of range on a single charge. Charging via AC takes 7 hours and 20 minutes. Yes, a portable charger comes with the car. The EV6, which has 3.6kW Vehicle-to-Load functionality, is compatible with Type 2 AC and CCS2 DC chargers.

The Moonscape color is incredible to look at. You’d think the car was wrapped with a special foil. But no, that’s an actual paint job. It’s one of the five colors available for the EV6, together with Snow White Pearl, Runway Red, Yacht Blue, and Aurora Black Pearl.

If you think Kia is not serious about this EV—if you think the brand merely needs a halo car in the tradition of the Stinger—you are wrong. So serious is Kia Philippines about this car that it started beating the drum for it last December, designating a Moonscape unit for the media to drive until everyone had tried it. I’m sure you noticed the barrage of EV6 content on social media beginning February 16. That was the day the embargo on the story was lifted.

The distributor is quick to point out that the car’s guaranteed range is enough to cover a round trip to Baguio City. That may depend on your driving style and on the load, but the company proved that it trusted the aforementioned range by letting the car perform its duty without a technical chaperone. During my turn, I rode the car with three people and navigated normal city traffic from Bonifacio Global City to Intramuros. The digital display assured us that the crossover still had a lot of charge after lunch.

Assuming you run out of charge, Kia says it has prepared an “expanding charging system” courtesy of Ayala Land. Sure, the support isn’t as ubiquitous as gasoline stations, but you can always charge the car at home.

The other source of anxiety if you own an EV is the constant threat of flood. Kia promises that the battery system is “enclosed and resistant to large water splashes.” The vehicle even has a “water-sensing” system, which will apparently shut off the EV system if it is exposed to water. Which, I guess, is Kia’s pledge that you will not be zapped to death when you drive this car in heavy rain.

To me, however, the biggest problem with electric cars is not range anxiety or flood exposure. The most significant issue is still the price. Even adjusted with tax breaks thanks to our newly minted EV law, the EV6 is priced at P3,788,000. That’s about P90,000 more than the equally compact Hyundai Ioniq 5. Now, consider that a top-of-the-line Honda CR-V diesel only costs P2,290,000 and the EV6’s asking price might give a potential buyer pause.

Then again, the target customers of these EVs are well-off individuals who enjoy the social status of being early adopters—prohibitive premium be damned. Owning a stylish and eco-friendly car is just a bonus.

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FILL YOUR TANK: “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.” (Isaiah 40:29)

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