The Kia EV6 is the first car from the Korean automaker to be built on a dedicated electric vehicle platform. Here’s what I thought about the EV6 and the E-GMP bones that underpin it — bones that will act as the foundation of millions of Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis cars in the future.
A few weeks ago, I attended the German Car of the Year assessment near Frankfurt, Germany. This was basically an event put on by journalists — in cooperation with automakers — to give writers a chance to drive and grade an assortment of over 40 cars.
I’ve already mentioned the GR Yaris and Toyota Supra that I drove at the event. Those were epic, though it was the EV6 that I had a hard time booking an appointment for, as Kia was giving journalists an exclusive opportunity to drive the preproduction vehicle. (There are few things that make a journalist’s mouth water as much as an exclusive).
A Quick Look At The Platform
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Introducing the platform was automotive design legend Luc Donckerwolke, the now-Genesis designer who had a hand in styling some famous Lamborghinis and more importantly the incredible aluminum-bodied Audi A2.
Kia’s platform is called E-GMP, and it stands for Electric-Global Modular Platform. It’s a big deal because it’s going to underpin many EV Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis cars moving forward. Kia discusses the platform’s flexibility in a press release, saying:
EV6 signals the U.S. launch of Kia’s ‘Plan S’ strategy that will deliver 11 all-new electrified models across the world by 2026.
The E-GMP modular platform maximizes development efficiency and enables the Kia brand to expand its dedicated EV portfolio across multiple vehicle segments – sedans, CUVs, SUVs – in a short time and with minimal complexity. The architecture provides an adaptable foundation with a long wheelbase and wide stance.
It’s not always clear what it means when automakers say vehicles will share a single platform, but you can expect all E-GMP vehicles to share common battery modules, common suspension designs/subframes/mounting points (which means similar track widths), and common drive units and power electronics.
Suspension is a MacPherson strut setup in the front (shown above) and a multilink in the rear (shown below — apologies for the not-so-optimal images):
The big battery pack in between comes filled with 77.4kWh or 58kWh worth of Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese (in ratios of 80 percent, 10 percent, 10 percent, respectively) pouch cells:
Battery voltage is 800V, just like on the Porsche Taycan. Kia says this high voltage potential should enable a charging times of only 18 minutes from 10 percent to 80 percent when using a 350 kW fast charger. Adding 70 miles to an “empty” car should take only five minutes (I’m assuming these numbers apply to the larger 77.4 kWh pack, which Kia says
In January I challenged myself to cut out as many services and intermediaries as possible and import a car entirely by myself. What followed was one of the largest headaches of my life. You can import a car yourself, but don’t expect it to be fun.
I’m now the owner of a 1991 Honda Beat and a 1989 Suzuki Every. Both cars were imported through different methods. I wanted to get the full importation experience by having an importer handle one car and doing the other myself as much as I could. I learned a lot along the way and now I’m passing down what I learned to you, dear reader.
The importation of my Honda Beat was handled by the Import Guys and it couldn’t have been easier. Buying and importing that Beat was far more fun and far easier than buying a new car straight off of the lot and remarkably affordable.
If you don’t want to lose hair over orchestrating an import operation yourself, I definitely recommend working with an importer like the Import Guys. But if you’re stubborn like me, buckle up, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
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The journey of importing a car yourself begins with figuring out how you’re going to buy the thing in the first place. Japan has an entire industry dedicated to funneling cars out of the country. You can purchase cars through auctions, car export sites, Goo-net, or even through a dealership. Buying a car in Japan is actually really easy.
Each method of buying a car comes with some quirks. Cars on Goo-net are often priced higher than similar examples found on export sites and the price you see online may actually be lower than the real asking price. A number of times I contacted sellers and dealerships on Goo-net only for them to demand a price that was higher than the list price, and that was before tacking on the cost of shipping.
There are some potentially great deals on car export websites, especially if you’re looking for something cheap like a kei truck. However, be sure to get an inspection done on a vehicle before buying it, if you can. While these sites have some cheap gems, they’ll also have some real junkers that you should avoid at all costs.
Diving into Japan’s auction services is probably the most fun way to buy a car from the country. The selection is vast and changes every day. You could buy everything from crazy flatbed trucks to your dream van in the auction system.
You can access the auction systems through an importer or exporter. It’s usually free to look, but bidding will usually cost you a deposit and you will probably pay the importer or exporter for using their service.
Google Maps is adding transit crowd predictions covering 10,000 transit systems in 100 countries, making it easier for you to tell how busy your train or subway line will be, even down to each car.
The transit predictions are based on AI technology, user feedback and location trends over time, the search giant said Wednesday. And in New York and Sydney, the crowdedness indicator goes down to a car-by-car level — so you’ll have an idea of which parts of the train to avoid.
Transit ridership plunged during the pandemic, but as vaccines roll out in many areas worldwide, use of transit directions on Google Maps has increased 50% compared to last year in the US, according to Google. But even as we return to our normal travels, it will still take time for many people to feel comfortable in crowded places like a packed subway.
Keep on top of the latest news, how-to and reviews on Google-powered devices, apps and software.
While the Google Maps update is now available for iOS and Android users, Android users who enable location tracking will also see a new tab in your timeline with traveling trends based on your location history. You’ll be able to see how much time is spent at your favorite shops, and which modes of transportation you used most. Google Maps also lets you relive past trips by saving places from your timeline and sharing them with friends.
Google said privacy and security remain a priority, and that the Maps update will use anonymization technology and differential privacy to keep your location history private.
We’ll show you how to easily use these new features for a smoother trip. If Google’s predictions are right, you’ll have a comfier commute (and hopefully a seat). You can also see our favorite Google Maps tricks and how to stop Google from tracking you (Hint: You’ll need to do more than disable your location).
How to check for crowded public transportation with Google Maps
1. Open Maps, type in your destination and tap Directions.
2. At the top of the screen, select your your transportation preference (for example, bus or subway).
3. Select your route, if there are multiple ways to get there.
4. When you’re reviewing your route you’ll see a section under the public transit section that asks “What’s it like on board?” You’ll see a message that says “Not too crowded,” “Very crowded,” or other prediction messages.
5. If you get on a train or bus that Google Maps predicts not to be too crowded, but it’s busier than the app says, you can change the prediction by tapping on the alert and selecting if it’s crowded or at capacity based on what you see. All submissions are public.
You may also see a message that says “Public transport services are modified due
A Totota dealership is seen in Annapolis, Maryland on May 27, 2021, as many car dealerships across the country are running low on new vehicles as a computer chip shortage has caused production at many vehicle manufactures to nearly stop.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
DETROIT – Sales of new vehicles in the U.S. remain healthy but are showing signs of a slowdown amid concerns about inflation and a global shortage of semiconductor chips that continues to depress auto production and dealer inventory levels.
Analysts estimate automakers sold about 4.5 million vehicles in the U.S. in the second quarter — a 52% to 53% increase compared with a year ago when the coronavirus pandemic caused Americans to shelter in place and temporarily closed auto dealerships. Most major automakers report June and second-quarter sales data on Thursday, except for Ford, which is expected to release its results Friday.
While the sales recovery from the depths of the pandemic is impressive, the pace of sales this year is slowing. Deutsche Bank analyst Emmanuel Rosner expects June’s sales pace to be 15.7 million vehicles, down from 17.1 million vehicles in May and 18.6 million vehicles in April.
The sales pace for any given month measures how many cars the industry would sell for the year if it sold the same amount every month. It’s a main barometer of the industry’s health and consumer demand.
“The sales slow-down likely reflects a lack of availability on dealer lots rather than a decline in consumer demand as automakers struggle to replenish dealer inventories with top models, particularly SUVs and pickup trucks,” Rosner wrote in an investor note.
Sales for every major automaker are expected to be up double digits during the second quarter compared with the same time a year ago, according auto research firms Cox Automotive and Edmunds. But they’re only slightly above the second quarter of 2019.
Something not showing signs of slowing down is sales prices of new vehicles due to tight supplies from the global chip shortage and stronger-than-expected consumer demand throughout the Covid pandemic.
The average transaction price for a new vehicle in June is expected to reach a record $40,206, according to J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. The previous high for any month, $38,539, was set in May, according to the companies.
The higher pricing has led to higher profits for automakers and retailers but has stoked broader concerns about inflation. Consumer spending on new vehicles is expected to reach a second-quarter record of $149.7 billion, up 60.7% from 2020 and up 27.9% from 2019.
“Despite inventory shortages constraining the volume of vehicles sold to consumers, the underlying strength of consumer demand is clear. Consumers are buying more expensive vehicles despite smaller discounts, which is dramatically increasing the profitability of those sales for both manufacturers and retailers,” said Thomas King, president of the data and analytics division at J.D. Power, in a statement.
– CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.
US President Joe Biden gifted UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson a custom-built bicycle as a special souvenir for the first meeting between the two heads of state in Cornwall ahead of the G7 summit. According to reports, the special hand-built bicycle was designed as a part of the customary exchange of gifts between the heads and was chosen keeping in mind Johnson’s regular cycling outings in London.
Biden gift to Johnson
The bike was custom-made by a Philadelphia firm in a record time and at a third of the price. The red and white bike, in the colours of the United Kingdom flag, would otherwise take months to construct. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, owner of Bilenky Cycle Works- Stephen Bilenky was contacted by the US State Department on May 23 with a request to design a custom-made bicycle and a matching helmet for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Operating on a staff of four persons only, Bilenky Cycle Works usually takes up to 18 months to make a custom-made bicycle, however, the order was expedited ahead of the President’s visit to the UK for the G7 summit on June 10.
‘Controlled chaos’ followed shortly after, as per the owner who began powering to meet the prestigious order. The price of the special hand-made bike stands at a whopping $6,000, however, the budget was only set to $1,500 (£1,060), a third of the minimum price the firm charges.
Apart from Biden’s gift to Johnson, US First Lady Jill Biden gave Carrie Johnson, UK PM’s newly-wedded wife a leather tote bag made by the wives of American troops, along with a presidential silk scarf.
UK gifts Biden a mural
In a nod to the Black Lives Matter protest, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the other hand gave US President Joe Biden a framed photograph of a British mural featuring 19th-century Black abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The gifted image is painted by Ross Blair and it is a part of a mural trail around Edinburgh, photographed by Melissa Highton, an American-British dual national.
Johnson also gave US First Lady Jill Biden the first edition copy of Daphne du Maurier’s The Apple Tree. Downing Street said in a statement that the choice of the book was to reflect Du Maurier’s Cornish links.
Eric Fierro had been itching to buy an electric vehicle for years. So when New Jersey launched a generous $5,000 rebate program on the cars this month, the teacher and coach at Southern Regional High School was fired up.
“Boom! It’s like, this is what you’ve been waiting for, coach. Let’s go!” he said.
When he went to a local dealership, though, the employees there were confused. First, they told him the program wasn’t up and running yet. Then, they said it was, but he’d have to figure out how to get the money himself.
Originally looking to buy, Fierro settled on leasing a 2019 Chevy Bolt to limit his financial exposure should the rebate fall through.
“I’m anticipating there being a chance that this doesn’t happen,” he said. “I’m hoping that it does. I’m about 50-50 right now, I’d say, that I get the $5,000.”
The problem is that Gov. Phil Murphy trumpeted the rebate program before the state Board of Public Utilities had time to set up how it would work. Asked to clarify the situation on his monthly call-in radio show, Murphy vouched that the rebate would apply to all electric-vehicle purchases or leases dating back to Jan. 17, the day he signed the program into law.
“The rebates will become available in spring, but they’ll be retroactive to any purchases since I signed the bill,” Murphy said. “That will be a mail-in process, so you’ll get the check by mail. Beginning in the summer — I don’t have a specific date — it will be what they call cash on the hood, meaning it’ll be a rebate literally at the point of sale.”
Still in the works
For now, those interested in driving a new electric vehicle will have to take the governor at his word. Asked to confirm the details, a spokesperson for the Board of Public Utilities said they are still in the works.
“Board staff is in the process of developing the program along with the program manager, Center for Sustainable Energy,” said spokesperson Peter Peretzman. “It will then be presented to the Board for consideration and potential approval.”
According to the new law, the rebate will apply to vehicles with a retail price below $55,000 that are registered in New Jersey. How big a credit drivers get will depend on how far their vehicle can travel on a single charge. The state will offer $25 for each mile the car runs on electric power instead of gas, up to a $5,000 cap.
That means cars with 200 miles of electric range or more — such as those offered by Tesla, Chevrolet, Nissan and several other carmakers — would qualify for the maximum amount.
Plug-in hybrid cars are also eligible for the rebate through 2022, although with a median electric-only range of