Kia is dropping the base “Light” trim level of its popular EV6 for 2023, resulting in a new base model price of $48,500 for its “Wind” trim level (plus a $1,295 destination charge). This is a $1,000 increase for the Wind trim level, but with the new absence of the “Light” trim, this means the cheapest EV6 is now $7,100 more than 2022’s cheapest EV6.
A $1,000 price increase doesn’t seem all that bad, compared to the prices of everything else in the auto industry right now. This is a relatively minor bump, especially given how constrained supplies have been and how many cars, particularly EVs, are selling for well above MSRP. However, the removal of the lowest trim means that the new base price will be much higher than last year.
2022’s “Light” EV6 was the smaller-battery option, with an ample 232 miles of range. This is the main difference between the larger battery Wind and Wave trims, which have 310 miles of range (or 274 for AWD versions). These higher trims have other features, but improved performance and a larger battery are the main chunk of the increased cost.
Kia spokesperson James Hope confirmed the change (while pointing out some of the extra features the Wind trim gets):
With strong sales and continued customer demand, the Wind RWD becomes the base EV6 for the 2023 model year, replacing the Light RWD. With just a $1,000 MSRP increase from last year, its greater range and sought-after standard features – leather seating surfaces with ventilated front seats, external and internal vehicle-to-load ports, smart power liftgate, and a Meridian premium audio system – ensures the Wind RWD offers tremendous value for discerning EV buyers.
Another problem for Kia is the change in EV tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act. Cars that are assembled outside of North America, as all of Kia’s EVs currently are, no longer qualify for the US federal EV tax credit as of this August when it was signed. When Kia starts building EVs in the US in 2024, they will potentially be eligible again for these credits, but for the next one to two years, they’re left out in the cold.
What this means is that a base model Kia EV6 purchased at the beginning of this year was $14,600 cheaper than a base model Kia EV6 purchased at the beginning of next year will be, which is quite a large practical price change for shoppers at the bottom of the model range.
There are some efforts in Congress to try to fix this problem and re-qualify certain cars for tax credits, but these are only nascent efforts. The success of these bills will likely rely on the results of tomorrow’s US Congressional election – keeping in mind that the vote to extend the EV tax credit went exactly along party lines, being supported by Democrats and opposed by all Republicans in Congress.
Kia recently announced prices for the newly updated Niro EV, coming in at a base price of $39,450. At the time, we thought this price was a tad high, particularly when compared to the EV6, which seems like a better vehicle at an only slightly higher price.
Now, that calculus has changed significantly. The base model Kia EV6 price is more expensive than the top Niro trim, so the relative pricing between the two seems to make a little more sense now. And that’s great, but… when compared to other competing vehicles, Kia’s offerings are starting to look a little expensive.
It’s still a lot more expensive than a 2023 Chevy Bolt EV, but the EV6 competes less directly with that car than the Niro did, so we imagine there will be less cross-shopping between those two.
That said, Kia also has some of the most popular EVs in the US right now, as they and Hyundai’s models are outselling all non-American EVs this year. Its offerings are good, and the company knows it. The E-GMP platform has produced some amazing cars. So Kia is probably hoping it can continue to ride this popularity as long as EV supplies remain limited, and prices of other vehicles are inflated due to lack of supply anyway, before hopefully getting access back to tax credits to make them more price-competitive.
If you’re interested in the 2023 Kia EV6, click here to find a local dealer and ask them to add you to their list of interested buyers.
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