It is Kia Motors Philippines’ belief that in order to promote the use of electric vehicles, a complete ecosystem is needed, not just the vehicle. So, when the Korean carmaker introduced the Kia EV6 at the Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) last year, it took the company six months to get the car to the showrooms because executives wanted to ensure they had that ecosystem in place.
“We will approach the electric vehicle market more comprehensively. It isn’t just about the car,” Kia Philippines President Manny Aligada told CleanTechnica last September at PIMS 2022, clarifying that it will be a whole program of actions that needs to be considered before Kia “can sell with confidence.” The car is the last step of the process. “The EV6 is the end-user part of this ecosystem. The rest we had to build and test and ensure operational stability and location even before one car is sold.”
And that is what they did. In cooperation with Kia’s mother company, Ayala Group, charging stations were set up in major Ayala malls across the country, and more are coming. Ayala Land, the real estate company of Ayala Corp., collaborated with Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc. (IMI), the electronics manufacturing arm of the company (also now in a strategic partnership with Zero Motorcycles) that built and installed the charging equipment, and semiconductor expert Greenstrum.
The company’s strategy was to fill its dealers and corporate offices, parking lots it owns, and every mall it operates in with a charging station. That is the long-term plan. In the short to medium range, they are setting up at least two charging stations in all of its malls. As of September 2022, over 20 charging stations are in operation. That number is expected to double before year’s end. In total, there are over 60 charging stations in the whole country that are compatible
Now, this does not seem like a lot compared the tens of thousands of Tesla Superchargers all over the continental United States, China, Japan, Taiwan, and so on. But in a country like the Philippines, fragmented by 7,100 islands, locating charging stations in the main islands of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao is a challenge, solvable only by logical locations.
All one needs to do is take a map and locate Ayala Malls from the capital city, Manila (or a nice kickoff point like the business district of Makati), and drive all the way to Baguio City (over 250 km, where there are charging stations by competing Ayala and ShoeMart or SM Malls). You can then go down south to Santa Rosa in Laguna, Taal or Tagaytay City, or Calatagan in Batangas (about 55, 68, and 150 km, respectively). The EV6 can travel over 500 km on a single charge (based on the U.S. EPA rating). The fully electric, zero-emission powertrain configuration uses a long-range, high-voltage battery pack (77.4 kWh).
“We made sure to put the charging architecture in place long before the arrival of the EV6,” says Ayala Corporation President and CEO Bong Consing. “Our strategically located charging stations are proof of our commitment to electrification. We are using the whole Ayala ecosystem to support the growth and adoption of EVs in the Philippines. We expect EV take-up to grow rapidly, and EVs to be the dominant transport technology in a few years.”
“Ayala believes that positive climate action is an investment that will benefit future generations,” he adds as he also reiterates that the Ayala Group is committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The EV6 is Kia’s first car to be based on the company’s dedicated new platform for battery electric vehicles. A single rear-mounted electric motor delivers 229 PS and 350 Nm of torque. It uses a typical “skateboard” flat under-floor battery, making it versatile and spacious inside. This interior design benefits greatly from the application of Kia’s dedicated Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). Despite the EV6’s compact exterior dimensions, its 2,900 mm wheelbase results in cabin space similar to many midsize SUVs. This configuration also guarantees a very smooth ride.
The Philippines Kia EV6 seems to follow the North America version in most of its features. For safety, it has a 5-Star Euro NCAP rating. Safety features include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Junction Turning Detection, Blind Spot Detection and Monitor, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping & Following Assist Technology, Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Safe Exit Assist, and 360-View Monitor.
Like most EVs, it has better maintenance costs compared to cars powered by internal combustion engines. There is no need for engine oil changes, oil filters, spark plugs, and other fluids. Over 5 years, it will cost P25,000 (~$460) for 5 years to maintain an EV6, versus P110,000 (~$2,025) in maintenance for a similar-sized regular car.
It is also equipped with the Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) feature which can be used during power outages or camping trips to power up gadgets and devices, similar to what the Nissan LEAF offers. In the Philippines, battered by typhoons at least 24 times a year, this feature will be very useful — though, it requires separate inverter equipment.
The EV6 GT-Line costs P3.788 million (~$68,000). The pricing puts it a full P1,000,000 higher than the Nissan LEAF’s P2.78 million (~$51,000) or the Weltmeister W5 at P2.54 million (~$46,000) but closer to its countrymate, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, which costs P3.68 million (~$67,000). It is a bit below the BMW iX5, which costs over P4 million (~$73,500).
However, consider that the price includes a portable charger; 5 years or 160,000-km vehicle warranty and 8 years or 160,000-km HV battery system warranty, whichever comes first; 5 years of free Preventive Maintenance Service (PMS); and 5 years of free 24/7 roadside assistance. For added peace of mind, Kia Philippines has all the tools and EV6-specific equipment to address any concerns. Locally available parts and world-class trained technicians also come with the price tag, apart from 20 charging stations in 7 cities across the country.
“I am confident to say that with the Ayala Group’s strong EV ecosystem, the EV6 will be warmly welcomed by the Filipinos — as we head towards a sustainable and zero-emission road in the Philippines,” Joey Hong, Head of Sales of Kia Asia Pacific, said in his speech at the launch event.
“It is truly our honor to introduce this latest innovation by Kia: A sustainable car with zero emissions, and a step toward Kia’s ambitious yet important transition into a future mobility solutions brand,” Aligada concluded.
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