Kia accelerating into EV market following sell-out of EV6

A Kia EV6 electric car.

Craig Duff

Posted June 03, 2022

Hybrid and battery electric vehicles are firmly in Kia’s head-up display as the company chases buyers looking to ditch petrol-power.

Supply shortages still won’t stop Kia from selling a record 72,000 vehicles in Australia this year and more than 2,000 of them will be electrified.

The latest VFACTS figures provided by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries showed the South Korean marque was the second top-selling brand in Australia in May with 7,306 sales, to be fourth overall this year, behind Toyota, Mazda and Mitsubishi.

Kia is selling every car it can bring into the country and simply can’t bring in enough, with waiting times pushing out to 12 months for some models. Electrified vehicles are particularly hard to source, despite being increasingly popular.

“The fact is if we could get 3,000 (fully electric) EV6s this year, we’d sell every one,” Kia’s product planning head Roland Rivero says.

“And that’s before we bring in the GT (due late this year or early 2023).”

“Our first allocation of 500 EV6s sold out pretty much before they’d arrived and global demand for electrified Kias means they just can’t build the cars fast enough. Damien (Meredith, Kia Australia’s chief operating officer) managed to get Kia head office to give us another 100 this year but we’ve still got more than 1,500 orders for the car.”

The EV6 GT develops 430kW/740Nm from a pair of motors to drive all four wheels, enabling a 0-100km/h sprint time of 3.5 seconds. That’s on a par with the Tesla Model 3 performance and entry levels of the Porsche Taycan.

Pricing will be close to the Model 3 at around $100,000, making the EV6 GT by far the most expensive Kia sold in Australia.

Kia EV6 launch

Niro headlines premium drive

Kia’s bid to present as a more premium carmaker will also be seen in the new Niro, due in dealerships before the end of this month.  The small SUV will be sold in hybrid and fully electric guises and with just a pair of versions in the S and GT-Line.

Hybrid versions pair a 77kW/144Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor to drive the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The combined output is 104kW/265Nm and Kia quotes a claimed combined fuel consumption of 4.0 litres/100km.

The battery electric Niro uses a 64.8kWh battery to power a 150kW/255Nm motor. Driving range is said to be up to 460km.

The specification level of the Niro S has yet to be unveiled, but standard equipment in all Niro GT-Line versions will include a 10.25-inch digital instrument display, head-up display, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, powered tailgate, wireless phone charger, and semi-autonomous parking.

Electric Niro GT-Lines will also feature a powered sunroof, massage seat, eight-speaker Harmon/Kardon sound system and vehicle-to-load port, enabling the SUV to power large appliances.


A green Kia Niro parked in a carpark

The Kia Niro will step up the interior ambience.

EV push accelerates

Kia Australia is putting its hand up for a hybrid version of the Kia Sportage to challenge the Toyota RAV4.

The RAV4 dominates the mid-sized SUV sector and around 80 per cent of those sales are for hybrid versions.

It’s a segment Kia can’t yet tap into. The Sportage is already a strong-seller and the addition of a hybrid variant would give the company a vehicle that can challenge for second in the segment.

The EV9 large SUV and electric ute also loom large on Kia’s wish-list. The former could arrive as early as next year, while the ute is probably three or more years away.

The large SUV segment is huge in Australia and Volvo is really the one to have delivered an electric vehicle here.

Kia is also desperate for a ute … any ute … to enter a segment it doesn’t yet compete in.

Marketing manager Dean Norbiato says the company would ideally prefer to start with a diesel-powered derivative ute, then adopt the fully electric EV.

“The Australian market will be about diesel utes until EVs prove themselves in that segment,” Norbiato says.

“There’s nothing confirmed as yet but we’ve consistently said we want … and need … a ute to grow sales.”


The Kia EV9 large SUV will be based on the concept pictures.

The Kia EV9 large SUV will be closely based on the (pictured) concept vehicle.


Next-gen telematics

GT-Line versions of the soon-to-launch Niro will be the first to use the latest “Kia Connect” telematics system, which will progressively be installed across the range as the models are updated.

The system provides real-time updates on weather and traffic information, along with nearby charging points.

A smartphone app then enables owners to remotely start the engine and control the air-conditioning and seat heating/ventilation, remotely lock and unlock doors, set a valet parking mode to remotely monitor others driving your car and track your vehicle remotely, along with being able to disable the ignition if it is stolen.


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