Kia’s impressive EV6 is coming to South Africa — with load-shedding backup power for your home

Kia South Africa CEO Gary Scott recently revealed the company would release its first fully-electric car in the country — the EV6 crossover.

Top Auto reports Scott sensed a “healthy appetite” not only for electric vehicles (EVs) in South Africa, but also specifically for the EV6.

“We will look to launch EV6 in limited volumes, and to introduce further models that will establish a more diverse powertrain offering across varying segments for private, commercial, and fleet use,” Scott stated.

The EV6 is one of the best-reviewed electric cars in the world, praised by critics for its striking design, futuristic interior, and excellent driving performance.

While South Africa has seen a big jump in high-end electric car releases in the past few months, none of the locally available models boast a key feature of the EV6 — vehicle-to-load (V2L).

Using a compact adapter with a standard power outlet, V2L enables owners of the EV6 to power electrical appliances with the car’s large battery pack, similar to reverse charging on a smartphone.

The EV6 comes with either 58kWh or 77.4kWh batteries, depending on the model.

That is equivalent to the capacity of roughly four or five Tesla Powerwalls and substantially larger than most lithium-ion batteries on the South African market.

With the average household in South Africa only using about 30kWh per day, it should be able to keep feeding electricity to most homes for more than two days, much longer than the typical two or four hours of load-shedding.

Well-known YouTube car reviewer Mat Watson showcased the EV6’s V2L capability by microwaving some Korean-style stir fry. Credit: YouTube/carwow

The EV6’s V2L can output up to 3.6kW, more than enough for several fairly power-hungry appliances running simultaneously.

For reference, entry-level generators in South Africa have an output of 650W and are reasonably cheap at around R2,000 to R3,000.

However, generators are noisy and require expensive petrol or diesel, while the EV6’s battery uses stored energy and performs quietly.

Many air conditioners, kettles, refrigerators, washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers, and microwaves have a lower power rating than 3.6kW.

It is also enough to run multiple TVs, computers, routers, lights, and other small appliances.

The heavier consumers that could give issues are electric stoves, geysers, pool pumps, and power tools. For the first two, that won’t be a problem if you use alternative sources like gas or solar.

For those concerned about draining their battery and being unable to drive, the EV6 offers a discharge level limiter, which stops discharging electricity automatically when the battery reaches a specific capacity.

The car can also recharge fairly quickly, with 150kW rapid charging at public stations capable of filling it from 20-80% in about 20 minutes.

Faster 7kW home charging kits can take the battery from empty to full in about 12 hours, while slower 3kW outlets will fill the battery in 26 hours.

The EV6 is not the only electric car capable of this feature, with Ford’s much-praised F-150 Lightning bakkie also offering V2L.

However, the company has been mum on its planned electric offerings for South Africa, so it looks likely that the EV6 would be one of the first models to offer this feature in South Africa.

Kia is yet to confirm when the first models will be available in South Africa and what they will cost.

In the US, the EV6 retails for roughly $43,000 (R733,129, excl. taxes), but that should not be seen as a direct indication of the price for the local market.

EV imports to South Africa carry substantial import fees and levies, significantly pushing the local price tag.

The BMW iX xDrive50, for example, starts at $83,200 in the US, roughly equal to R1.4 million, but costs R2.225 million in South Africa, just shy of 60% more expensive.

Applying that same increase to the EV6’s US price gives a figure of roughly R1.2 million.

Although it likely won’t be cheap, the fact that it features built-in backup power for your home, which can cost hundreds of thousands of rand in a standalone system, might make up for that.

Now read: Electric vehicle sales on the up in South Africa — most popular models and pricing

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Kia’s impressive EV6 is coming to South Africa — with load-shedding backup power for your home