Kia’s first dedicated electric vehicle, the EV6, is spearheading new sustainability initiatives that will evolve alongside Kia’s expanding electrified line-up. Progress on sustainability was one of the key factors highlighted by the jurors who named the Kia EV6 the 2022 European Car of the Year last month.
As the brand’s first dedicated electric vehicle (EV) built on the company’s new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), Kia was able to apply a truly holistic strategy for mitigating the environmental impact of the EV6 – from design through to end-of-life disposal.
The Kia Design team evaluated the potential environmental impact of raw materials used in the EV6’s construction, and collaborated with the manufacturing division to identify new fixing techniques that would facilitate ease of dismantling as well as construction. 3D models were used to predict and simulate dismantling processes, and a test EV6 was manufactured specifically for end-of-life evaluation.
The EV6’s interior showcases the latest developments from the Kia Hive, part of Kia’s Sustainable Materials Research Institute. It has responsibility to research, source, test, and recommend materials for use in Kia vehicles that are more sustainable, while also meeting the highest safety and quality standards. Kia Hive experts work with a range of natural and recycled resources to develop new materials and finishes sympathetic to the environment, including the latest mushroom mycelium technologies, which are eco-friendly in both production and disposal. Instead of harsh dyes, the EV6 has natural, chemical-free alternatives; natural leather is replaced with a vegan substitute; and recycled bottles are spun into yarn and repurposed to form cloth and matting*.
Euichul Jeong, Vice President and Head of Strategic Business Planning Division at Kia said, “Creating a sustainable vehicle goes way beyond just its powertrain. We know that zero-emission powertrains are the future of mobility, but what about the rest of the vehicle? With the EV6 we are taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of the vehicle’s structure, materials, use, and disposal.”
Marilia Biill, Team Leader of Kia’s Color, Material and Finish division, adds, “The work we have started with EV6 is a transformational phase in Kia’s sustainability journey. The learnings from EV6 have helped us develop next-generation products that will apply to future Kia models. Our new partnership with The Ocean Cleanup will remove plastic waste from the world’s oceans and feed them into our resource circulation system for future vehicle production. This is an inspiring initiative that will make a real difference and help Kia increase the use of recycled plastic by 20 percent by 2030.”
Low carbon certification
In 2021, EV6 became the first Korean vehicle to achieve the product carbon footprint certification and ‘Carbon Measured’ label from the Carbon Trust, validating the accuracy of its carbon footprint. Kia has completed a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the EV6 to actively monitor emissions during the vehicle’s full life cycle. The LCA evaluates the raw materials, production processes, parts, disposal, and end-of-life recycling of the EV6 to minimize the environmental impact across its life cycle. Such rigorous analysis allows Kia to identify areas of impact in its value chain and establish tailored improvement plans to enhance its eco-friendly offering at every stage.
In 2023 Kia will raise the bar once again with the introduction of EV9 – a next-generation electric vehicle offering SUV status adapted for the new mobility era.
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