From The Driven:
The general manager of Kia Australia says the Korea-owned car company could sell more than 5,000 of its newly released and already award winning EV6 electric SUVs a year if it had enough supply.
The newly launched EV6, which has just made its first deliveries to customers in Australia, has received an overwhelming response from customers, with more than 20,000 expressions of interest and 1,500 firm orders.
That, according to marketing manager Dean Norbiato is an “unmatched, unprecedented and unparalleled” response to a new car offering for Kia, and they seem genuinely surprised that it has beaten even the Kia Stinger, a sporty fossil fuel sedan that was released last year.
Frustratingly, though, because of global supply issues, and likely also Australia’s failure to embrace policies that favour EV, Kia finds itself in the same position as other car makers with great new products to offer and not enough cars. Kia says it will have only 500 to offer customers this year, and next year too if nothing changes.
“I think that if we if we could get 5,000 a year, we could sell 5,000. Just add a nought to what we’ve got at the moment. I think probably 500 a month (is doable),” says Damien Meredith, the general manager of Kia Australia.
The EV6 is not the first full battery electric car released by Kia in Australia (it has sold around 1,500 Neros) but it is the first on a new dedicated drive-train that it shares with sister company Hyundai, and the first of around seven different EV models to be released in coming years.
The next two models will include the EV9, a large SUV that might have so much interior space the front seats will be able to swivel around to create a “lounge effect”. Not while it’s moving though.
And there is likely to be a smaller EV introduce into the market, possibly dubbed the EV2.
The EV6 is an impressive offering, with a good range (official ratings of between 480 and 520kms depending on the variant), excellent handling, and the addition of “vehicle to load”, plugs on the outside and inside that allow people to power devices such as laptops, tools, camping trips, or even whole house if needed.
The price, however, like many of the other impressive new EVs now joining the market, is stuck at between $68,000 for the entry EV6 variant and $83,000 for the top GT Line dual motor all-wheel drive variant.
Meredith says the fact that cars in this price range are so popular is reflective of the high demand for EVs, and the ability to pay. Despite the pandemic, or perhaps because of it and the limits on travel, many people have cash to spare.
Meredith, who is now driving an EV6, admits to being taken aback by the pace and quality of the EV transition. “Not in my wildest dreams, not in my wildest, would I think that this would happen so quickly.”
Indeed, if you took the theoretical 5,000 EV6s that Meredith reckons the company could sell if it had supply, that would account for around 7 per cent of the company’s total new car sales in Australia. Throw in some new models, and it starts to resemble the speed of the transition that many expect.
And, he says that in Australia at least, it could, or should happen a lot quicker.
He’s not a fan of EV rebates, because he reckons it makes a small difference to people who can already afford a car up to near $70,000, but he would like to see more money spent on EV charging infrastructure. And, of course, there is the lack of emissions standards, which means global car companies have no incentive to push more EV sales.