Why the Kia EV6 Charging Port Is In an Unusual Place

The placement is designed to give drivers more options for pulling in or backing into the garage or public space, Kia says.
Silver Kia behind blue wildflowers
Kristin Shaw

Kia and its sibling companies Hyundai and Genesis have launched competitive new electric vehicles in the past year with the EV6, Ioniq 5, and the GV60. The Kia and Hyundai EVs are sitting in the sweet spot at about $40,000, and Genesis’ GV60 closer to $60,000 but with a posher interior and more amenities. Sales of Kia’s electrified models were up 132 percent over the previous record set in May of last year and it seems to be on a roll.

One thing I noticed about the EV6 is that the charging port is situated in a different place than most EVs: the rear. Many EVs have a charging port near the front quarter panel or on the back quarter panel where the fuel filler would be in ICE-powered cars. Kia chose to place its port on the rear right-hand side of the car, adjacent to the liftgate.

When I asked about it, a Kia spokesperson said the intent is to give drivers more options. With the port at the back corner, drivers can pull nose-in to the garage (where US Department of Energy data shows that 80 percent of charging occurs), park, turn off the car, and plug in a charger that’s easily accessible on the right side of the garage without obstructing the driver’s path.

So far, there is no law on the books that mandates where the charge port should be. Volvo placed it just above the driver’s side wheel well on the C40. Chevrolet opted for the front driver’s side quarter panel next to the side mirror on the new Volt. And Hyundai chose a corner spot adjacent to the back fender on the passenger side, similar to Tesla’s placement on the driver’s side.

“Our data shows that about 10 percent of EV owners charge regularly in public at DC fast chargers,” said the Kia spokesperson. “The placement of our plug allows them to easily back in (just as drivers of another, ubiquitous EV do) using the reversing sensors, rear-view camera, and/or remote smart parking assist.”

Not everyone is a fan of the port location; InsideEVs said it’s an inherently dirty area of the car and “the cap that covers the high-power DC charging pins must be placed carefully or it will also get dirty and the problem will spread to the inside of the charging port.” Norway-based YouTuber Bjørn Nyland, who specializes in EVs, claims there is more dirt in the back than there is on the flanks of the car, which means the port collects grime. However, he points to the remote open and close functionality of the charge port door, which keeps operators from getting their hands dirty.

From my experience, the door keeps the charging port reasonably clean no matter where it’s placed. Plus, backing into a space is the safest way to park anyway, so the placement makes sense to me.

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