I’m a big fan of the Kia EV6, particularly in GT form. But one frequent complaint about that trim level is that while its 576 horsepower rating and zero to 60 mph time of 3.4 seconds are commendable, the range is less than stellar at 206 miles. (Other EV6 trims do much better, thankfully.) Fortunately, Kia and its corporate cousin Hyundai are switching to Tesla’s once-proprietary North American Charging Standard (NACS) port in the coming years, giving owners the same level of convenience that Tesla drivers have enjoyed for years. It’s a big shift, and at Kia’s inaugural EV Day event in Seoul this week, we learned that the EV6 is first in line to reap the benefits of that plan.
Min Woo Park, Kia’s head of global product planning, told reporters that as the automaker rolls out the adoption of the Tesla-developed plugs by Q4 2024 (which will happen with Kia’s cousins at Hyundai and Genesis around the same time) the EV6 will get it first. The plug will then roll out to other Kia vehicles. Then, using an adapter, existing Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis vehicles will be able to access that network starting in Q1 2025.
After Ford kicked off the trend, several major automakers have announced plans to transition off the common Combined Charging Standard (CCS) plug and move to Tesla’s NACS plug — a smaller, sleeker, easier-to-use unit that also permits access to Tesla’s ubiquitous Supercharger network. In particular, automakers are fed up with the slow growth and continued reliability problems seen with nearly all third-party charging providers; the issue is commonly cited as a barrier to EV adoption. But by taking the “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach and switching to Tesla’s plug and network, automakers have also spurred charging companies like ChargePoint to invest in NACS plugs and stations as well.
But few automakers have as ambitious, “we’re doing this” EV plans as Kia and Hyundai, so their decision to go that route makes it seem like Tesla’s plugs will indeed become the true charging standard in North America. For Kia, that starts with the EV6 before moving to the larger EV9 and the other electric vehicles Kia has planned for our market. At EV Day, Kia was cagey on those details, saying (eventually) that the recently unveiled EV5 and upcoming EV3 and EV4 are being “studied” for North America, not confirmed for it.
Whatever Kia ends up sending our way, they will enjoy Tesla Installs First V4 Superchargers In The US, and that all starts with the EV6. Maybe that range anxiety won’t be so bad anymore.