2022 European Car of the Year
This year’s COTY award winner is not an ICE. It’s a BEV.
There’s no shortage of acronyms in the auto industry. Judging by the number of new electric vehicle (EV) press releases hitting my inbox, it seems that 2022 is shaping up to be a BEV of a year. ICE is out in the cold, while BEV is the hot topic. So, who or what are ICE and BEV? ICE stands for Internal Combustion Engine while BEV is the same as the EV acronym, except there’s a B for Battery in front of it. Means the same thing but EV can also refer to HEV (hybrid electric vehicle) or PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle). There’s even EREV (extended-range electric vehicle). But that’s a story for another time.
So, which BEV has attained the prestigious European Car Of The Year (COTY) award for 2022? The Ford Mustang Mach-E? The Cupra Born? How about the Hyundai IONIQ 5, or the Peugeot 308, or Renault Mégane E-Tech, or the Škoda Enyaq iV? OK, so the pic gave it away. In November 2021 (these things are arranged way in advance of the announcement), the COTY jury whittled the long list of entries down to a seven-strong shortlist, six of which were EVs.
After whittling down the shortlist, the judges crowned South Korea’s Kia EV6 Europe’s car of the year at one of the world’s most sought-after automotive awards. The all-electric crossover (no, there’s not an acronym for that, yet) was voted the overall winner by a 61-strong jury comprised of highly respected motoring journalists from 23 European countries (sadly, I wasn’t one of them. Probably ’cause I’m African, not European :-).
Anyway, I haven’t had the privilege of test driving the Kia EV6 for review as yet (and probably never will - see the end of this article), but according to the press release, the EV6 is Kia’s first dedicated BEV to be based on the company’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). Apparently, this high-tech E-GMP architecture eliminates the many compromises faced by EVs that are created on platforms initially designed to accommodate ICE vehicles.
As a result of its E-GMP underpinnings, the EV6 has class-leading interior space and a competitor-beating 528km (328mi) driving range. More importantly, the EV6 has ultra-fast charging capabilities. Owners can charge the 800V battery from 10% to 80% in just 18 minutes.
The EV6s’ high-tech positioning makes it the first global model to incorporate Kia’s new design philosophy ‘Opposites United’. Apparently, this philosophical moniker takes inspiration from the contrasts found in nature and humanity. What that actually means is that the EV6s’ new visual identity is supposed to evoke positive forces and natural energy i.e contrasting combinations of sharp stylistic elements and sculptural shapes.
According to Kia South Africas’ Terence Steenkamp, who manages their PR and communications, there are no plans to launch the EV6 in South Africa as yet. Geogjeong ma, Terence. I’ll just pop over to Korea and get the scoop while the local giga wait in anticipation :-)