Taking our long-term 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line on highway journeys to check each it and our nation’s charging infrastructure is without doubt one of the massive the explanation why we determined to spend a 12 months with this EV. So, when the chance for me to embark on a 1,300-mile journey got here up, I jumped for the EV6’s keys.
The route? Detroit to Saratoga Springs, N.Y. That’s simply over 650 miles there and one other 650 miles again — in fact, like every highway journey, I took various detours alongside the best way that prompted the overall mileage for the journey to be nearer to 1,400 than 1,300. Having expertise in electrical automobile highway journeys helps make future ones smoother — you’ll go in figuring out that there’s way more prep work obligatory than hopping in a conventional gasoline-powered automobile for a protracted journey. Some EVs (specifically Tesla) make this prepwork both negligible or non-existent because of navigation programs that mechanically route you thru charging stations for optimum effectivity. Nevertheless, our EV6 has no such superior routing software program.
I turned to the useful PlugShare app (there are advertisements, however it hasn’t let me down earlier than) to map a route from Michigan all the best way to jap New York. Assuming you inform the app what EV you’re driving, it’s going to mechanically counsel charging stops alongside the best way that consider the automobile’s vary. For the primary 650-mile stint, it required three charging stops, all close to the key cities of Cleveland, Ohio, Buffalo, N.Y. and Syracuse, N.Y. I spent the night earlier than the journey topping off the EV6’s battery to a full cost, which is very really useful to get you going robust on the primary leg of any EV highway journey.
At my first cease alongside the best way simply outdoors Cleveland, the preliminary try at charging at a Electrify America station was a failure attributable to a damaged cost terminal. What an amazing begin! I moved the automobile over to the following stall, and this charger labored flawlessly. If you happen to’ve ever skilled a selected pump not working correctly at a fuel station, requiring you to maneuver to a special one, the expertise is analogous right here, however a bit of worse. It merely takes longer to maneuver the large, heavy plugs and get the electrical energy flowing than it does to pop a fuel nozzle right into a automobile.
As soon as juice is flowing, that is the place the EV6 exhibits its superiority over most different EVs. The charging pace shortly ramps as much as and even previous 230 kW, that means you solely must spend about 15-20 minutes to go from a 0-80% cost on chargers maxing out at 350 kW. A 20-minute cease nonetheless isn’t as handy as a five-minute gas cease, however in case you’re somebody who likes to take breathers on highway journeys, it’s the perfect-length break to stretch the legs and seize a fast chew to eat at a fast-food joint (hopefully there’s one close by). Kia’s app, which we’ll contact on in a future replace, does a beautiful job of conserving you knowledgeable about how a lot cost the automobile has, and can even notify you if the automobile unexpectedly stops charging attributable to a charger malfunction — sure, this occurred in a while within the journey. Electrify America’s app may even do that.
From Detroit to Buffalo, it solely took six hours and a few change. Most gas-powered automobiles might do that journey with no single cease in 20-Half-hour much less time, which is notable, however it’s onerous to get labored up over an additional half hour. Charging up in Buffalo for the N.Y. leg of the journey was met with one other small annoyance. As quickly as I made it into the close by Walmart to aimlessly stroll about for quarter-hour, the charger “broke” and stopped charging the automobile. In fact, EV chargers are usually within the far-reaching elements of any lot, so I wanted to make the lengthy trek out to the automobile and plug into one of many different obtainable chargers, inflicting extra time to cross and much more irritation. This one labored the entire time (and thank goodness it wasn’t already occupied), however with my belief damaged, I didn’t go away the automobile’s facet.
That’s two charging stops with two minor annoyances that ultimately had been simply overcome. Nonetheless, that’s two annoyances too many, and if these charging stations had been filled with different EVs charging, I’d’ve been out of luck and subjected to for much longer waits. Fortunately for me, I hit these Electrify America stations once they had been abandoned.
The final charging cease in Syracuse was the least troublesome and better of the bunch. It was an Electrify America station, however was a part of the Evolve NY program that the state is touting to extend the variety of charging choices. Each charger on the station was working flawlessly, and the automobile charged at its peak potential. That is the way it ought to work!
By this time, I had sufficient miles underneath my belt to deem our EV6 an amicable and pleasant highway tripper. The sheer quantity of house and cubbies up entrance and in again assist you to stuff private belongings in handy locations everywhere in the automobile. Missing a transmission tunnel meant that bigger gadgets may be positioned underneath the middle console in a pleasant bin. The armrest hides an enormous storage space that’s as deep as some full-size pickups. Cubbies in each doorways are nice for water bottles, and the pair of cupholders within the heart can match further drinks in case you’re the kind of one who desires choices on a protracted journey.
One gripe, and it’s a small one, is the awkward USB cable administration for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Regardless of its flashy massive screens and splendidly positioned wi-fi charging pad, the EV6 doesn’t provide wi-fi smartphone mirroring tech, so it is advisable to plug in your telephone. Sadly, the USB knowledge port is much ahead underneath the sprint and never inside a type of aforementioned bins. The closest one is the big, purse-sized one underneath the middle console. Is that actually the place you need to hold your telephone? It isn’t.
Experience high quality on the freeway is nice, however not luxurious in any method. The EV6 options passive dampers, and the tuning toes the road between being fun-to-drive and pure consolation. It’s not a sore level, however the trip isn’t gold star-worthy both. What is gold star-worthy, although, are this automobile’s driver help programs. I’ve already sung the praises of the Hyundai Group’s Freeway Drive Help programs, and the reward continues within the EV6. Lane tracing is astoundingly good for a hands-on system, and whereas it’s not fairly as dependable as one thing like GM’s Tremendous Cruise, the efficiency via curves and different harder freeway sections is great. Just one situation tripped the lane-following up, and that was driving straight into vivid daylight with the solar low within the sky. For no matter motive, direct daylight discombobulates the cameras, and the EV6 struggles to seek out the lanes. It’s greatest to only flip every little thing off on this case, as it’s going to nonetheless tug and vibrate on the steering wheel, in some instances even sending you off track and into one other lane. Our EV6 has already acquired one over-the-air replace since we took supply of it, so maybe that is one thing Kia might tackle with software program.
As soon as in Saratoga, I discovered a Degree 2 ChargePoint charger to plug in in a single day. Earlier than I wakened the next morning, the EV6 was already again at 100% and able to go. Within the realm of excellent information, each charging cease on the return journey to Detroit was principally uneventful. One of many stations I finished at in Pennsylvania had just a few chargers that had been down, however fortunate for me once more, I used to be the one EV there. Out of curiosity on the best way again dwelling, I finished at and examined the cost terminal on the Ohio station that was damaged on the best way to New York. Yep, nonetheless damaged. A charging station being out of service for days on finish alongside a busy freeway hall is flat-out unacceptable, however that’s precisely what we skilled firsthand on the Mentor, Ohio, Electrify America.
Effectivity hovered between 2.9 miles per kWh and three.2 miles per kWh, relying on my driving fashion — the EV6 is EPA-rated at 3.2 miles/kWh. Watching the vary prediction in actual time offers you a way of how effectively you are driving, too. Maintain it round 70 mph or beneath, and the EV6 is in its freeway blissful zone. Push the cruise management nearer to 80 mph, and your vary begins to fall away far faster. That is no new phenomenon in terms of EVs, as driving lengthy distances at freeway speeds finally ends up utilizing way more vitality than driving the identical distance at slower metropolis speeds and in stop-and-go site visitors. If you happen to begin with an 80-90% cost within the EV6 AWD, you’ll be able to journey at freeway speeds for about 200 miles earlier than the cost dips to and underneath 10%, which is if you actually need to begin searching for a charger. We’ll test again in as soon as the chilly climate arrives to see simply how a lot of an effectivity hit the EV6 takes in below-freezing temperatures.
As for charging prices, driving 1,400 miles within the EV6 value simply over $150. Quick-charging your electrical automobile is the most costly solution to cost it, however that’s the fact if you’re on a highway journey. To attain value parity with a gas-powered automobile at at present’s common gas costs, you’d must common about 35 mpg. As a comparability to a similarly-sized automobile you should purchase on the lot alongside an EV6, the 2023 Kia Sportage with the two.5-liter four-cylinder and all-wheel drive is rated at 28 mpg on the freeway. This Sportage would’ve value about $190 in gas for a similar distance. In the meantime, a Sportage Hybrid with all-wheel drive will get 38 mpg on the freeway, and would value about $140.
Wouldn’t it be good in case your sacrifice in time at charging stations resulted in drastically diminished journey prices? Yeah, it positive can be, however that’s not actuality at present. In the long run, this EV6 highway journey was a nice shock and a good way to point out off how rattling fast it may possibly cost. Nearly each cease I made was about quarter-hour in size, and the one motive I stayed stopped for longer on a pair events is as a result of I used to be consuming close by. You might not reap the benefits of an EV’s final charging pace typically in case you’re somebody who plugs in at dwelling each night time, however when on a highway journey, having an electrical automobile just like the EV6 could make an enormous distinction in total journey occasions.
To learn all of our protection on our long-term 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line take a look at automobile, click on right here.