Electrical system, brake, fuel, and exterior lighting issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners
The brand new, all-electric Kia EV6 First Edition vehicle hit the market running after being unveiled to the American public in September 2021.
In January 2022, shortly after its release, it was named the UK’s What Car? Car of the Year 2022, setting new benchmarks for electric cars. In February, it was named 2022 European Car of the Year. Then in May 2022, it was awarded the U.S. News & World Report title of 2022 Best Electric Vehicle.
Click on other model years to view more problems: 2023
But, on the very same day (May 11) that Kia Motors America issued a media release boasting about the accolades Kia’s first dedicated EV is earning, it issued an Important Safety Recall. The notification was sent to dealers, owners, as well as “planned” dealers and owners between May 16 and May 25.
The “parking brake” recall potentially affects 9,014 Kia EV6 vehicles manufactured from November 17, 2021- April 7, 2022. It isn’t clear how many EV6 cars were manufactured during this time. But, according to Kia, cumulative sales of the EV6 by the end of May amounted to 10,001.
The problem lies in a shift-by-wire system that contains a Shifter Control Unit (SCU) and a parking pawl actuator. If there is any voltage fluctuation when the EV6 is switched off and in Park, the SCU might disengage the parking mechanism. This can result in “vehicle rollaway,” which increases the risk of a crash or injury.
Kia dealers have been instructed to update the SCU software at no cost, but some owners are complaining that their dealers refuse to do this.
Additionally, there are complaints to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about other problems new Kia EV6 owners are experiencing.
We have based this report primarily on information provided by Kia Motors America, the NHTSA, and information gleaned from a Kia forum. Here are some interesting points:
- Kia reportedly sold 20,374 EV6 units in 2022.
- There is one recall on the EV6 that potentially affects 9,014 vehicles. It relates to parking brakes.
- Kia Motors America maintains that only 1% of these vehicles have the defect, but the vehicles subject to the recall were not produced in VIN order.
- Between April 4 and July 9, 2022, there were 6 complaints filed with the NHTSA. By the end of July 2023, this number had risen to 65.
- Initial complaints were limited to three categories, Service Brakes, Structure, and Visibility/Wiper. Since then, components and systems associated with problems have increased, and are listed in 16 categories. In addition to those already mentioned, they include Backover Prevention, the Electrical System, Engine, Equipment, Exterior Lighting, Forward Collision-Avoidance, Fuel/Propulsion System, Lane Departure, Powertrain, Seats, Hydraulic Service Brakes, and issues considered to be Unknown or Other.
- None of the complaints involves vehicle rollover when cars are switched off and in Park. However, one reports a vehicle that rolled backwards while the brake was pushed down while going up a hill.
- The recall is mentioned in two NHTSA complaints, but not in the context of the recall issue (See 2022 Kia EV6 Brake Problems below).
Most Common Problems
Complaints to the NHTSA about the 2022 Kia EV6 are, as mentioned above, varied. Also, most are listed under more than one category, sometimes three.
The most common issues relate to the electrical system of the 2022 EV6 – more than half of them (36). Problems relating to brakes have risen to 10. There are also 10 complaints listed as fuel/propulsion system problems, 5 of which relate to charging issues, and 4 others to integrated charge control unit (ICCU) failure. These are all listed in more than 1 category (eg Electrical and Fuel/Propulsion Systems). With 6 complaints, exterior lighting issues are also quite common. Of these, 1 relates to the common charging fault and 3 to brake lights.
In addition to NHTSA complaints, there are also claims in forums that some Kia dealers refuse to do the work required for the national recall mentioned under Main Points, above. An alarming pattern of response to most of these issues is that Kia dealerships are either unwilling to assist or maintain the problems aren’t malfunctions or defects.
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2022 Kia EV6 Complaint Summary
|Complaint Category||Number of Complaints|
|Unknown Or Other|
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings|
|Back Over Prevention: Warnings|
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control|
Electrical System Problems
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that NHTSA complaints about electrical system problems are high. The top electric issues are:
- Charging problems
- Brake light issues
- ICCU failure
These problems are mentioned in several categories including the Electrical System, Fuel/Propulsion System, and Unknown or Other, some in more than one category. Also some complaints mention more than one of these 3 problems.
In total, there are 18 NHTSA complaints that deal with charging issues, 13 that complain about the ICCU failure problem, and 6 that focus on brake lights.
Additionally, there are 6 complaints of EV6 vehicles losing motive power and owners getting dashboard alerts stating “stop vehicle and check power supply” and “check electrical vehicle system” or “Critical Electrical Failure” and “Stop Vehicle.” Some of these link the problem to batteries and/or ICCU failure, while other owners have not made the link or been given a diagnosis by dealers.
The most recent complaint about charging was lodged on July 30, 2023 under the Electrical System and Fuel/Propulsion System. An owner from Utah states that for several months “the car will not fully charge when using a Level 2 charger (note: it will charge using a Level 3 charger). When charging I will get a message (says) “Charge Interrupted”. When I go out to the car the charging has in fact stopped, and the charging cable connector is very hot to the touch.”
Apart from the inconvenience, the owner is worried that “the car is a fire hazard putting my family at risk.” Additionally, because the Kia dealers have not been able to replicate the problem, they “insist it is a problem with my charger at home.” Nevertheless, they applied the “Voluntary Service Campaign,” but that did not fix the problem.
An owner from North Carolina, who owns the 2022 EV6 First Edition, states that the “vehicle no longer accepts level 2 charging at the 11 kWh window stick advertised speed.” It provides the car with a maximum of 9 kWh, but ”the charging port gets very hot and (the) car will stop charging. Dealer is aware of the issue but as of now is unable to diagnose as none of their dealerships have power supplies that exceed 7 kWh.”
Another states, “There have been multiple failures to charge on AC 220v current at both 9 and 8 kWh. Dealer states there is a fault where the battery management system or charging system is overheating which causes the vehicle to stop charging.”
It appears that the charging problems are related to issues with ICCU failure, even though not all complaints refer to the ICCU or link the issues.
A complaint lodged on July 28, 2023 states that the 2022 Kia EV6 has “unresolved ICCU failure, which means the battery cannot be charged.” The complaint states that the vehicle has been “stuck” with the dealer for 6 months with the same issue. “Meanwhile, I pay car payments.”
An owner from California, who bought his 2022 Kia EV6 in March 2022, also maintains that the charging and ICCU problems are linked. His complaint lodged on July 17, 2023, states that the 12V battery has “died 5 times” since May 2023. Even though he reported the issue the first 4 times it happened, it was only when it “finally died at the dealership” on the fifth occasion that they replaced the battery.
“I suspect that it’s going to happen again because there’s a fundamental problem with the ICCU which prevents the Lithium battery from charging the 12V. I have read that it’s already been reported to NHTSA and that it’s been investigated. Kia needs to recall and fix the underlying issue. I am worried that it puts my family at risk if we are stranded in the middle of nowhere.”
An owner from New York who got a battery failure warning on his dashboard on June 19, 2023, states that by the next morning, the car had lost motive power and wasn’t able to travel faster than 12 mph. The EV6 was still with the dealer on July 10, 2023. He complained to the NHTSA after they told him “there are no ICCU replacement modules in the USA as they are back ordered.”
Problems with Brake Lights
The most recent complaint in the Service Brakes category is also listed as an exterior lighting problem. It states that there is “a serious manufacturing defect in that the brake lights do not turn on when the car is used in one-pedal drive mode and even a rapid deceleration occurs due to regenerative braking.” The complaint, dated June 13, 2023, draws attention to tests undertaken by Consumer Reports that found “potential safety issues” with several EV’s brake lights, including Kia.
A complaint listed as being a brake and electrical system problem, states that the “rear brake lights do not illuminate under heavy iPedal and Level 3 regeneration when the throttle pedal is being touched. When moderating the rate of deceleration with the throttle pedal, the brake lights do not illuminate even during rapid deceleration. This, the complaint states, significantly increases the risk of getting rear ended in traffic.
Then there’s a complaint listed only as an exterior lighting problem that states, “When heavy regenerative braking is used, the car decelerates very quickly. Despite this, the brake lights do not turn on. This is very dangerous as the regenerative braking can be used to completely stop the vehicle. People driving behind me need to be aware that I am coming to a stop and are not currently warned.”
Problems with One-Pedal Driving
The owner of the EV6 was carrying long objects so was driving with the hatch open (with a red flag attached). The journey was less than a mile and he was One-Pedal (iPedal) driving. This lets you slow down and stop your vehicle using only the accelerator pedal.
“When coming to a stop light unbeknownst to me the emergency brakes (Parking brake) automatically comes on.” He was unable to continue driving until manually unlocking the parking brake. Assuming it to be “a software glitch by Kia’s programmers,” he “took the car on a quiet street to replicate this by keeping the hatch slightly ajar while coming to a standard stop like a stop sign, as if I had stopped in traffic.”
“I attempted this over a dozen times. Each time, in the iPedal mode, the emergency brakes came on and wouldn’t disengage till manually doing so.”
When he took the car in for the safety recall, the owner told the service department about the problem. But, they “did not do anything to see if there was a fix other than take a written statement that I left with them.”
The owner warns of safety issues:
- There is no mention in the Kia EV6 owner’s manual on this issue. So, there is no warning to the driver that this might happen.
- When coming to a stop, the car does not move. “A nervous or inexperienced driver may panic or not know what to do to remedy the situation, thinking the car is dead.” This would result in the car “obstructing the flow of regular as well emergency vehicles.”
- A “driver behind the stalled vehicle may plow into the rear end of the stalled vehicle.”
The two complaints in this category are also different from one another. The first involves an exploding glass moonroof, which the dealer reportedly refused to admit was defective.
“We were driving down the road, no vehicles in front or to the side, when our glass moonroof exploded. (It) sounded like a gun going off inside the car. Immediately we saw glass pour down the back of the car, (and) wind started to erratically shake the sunshade, which thankfully was closed at the time of the event. Loose glass ended up everywhere, even inside the moonroof area. Had the sunshade been opened during the event, we would have been covered in glass and likely crashed.
“The dealership and manufacturer inspected the glass and refused to agree it was defective. I asked if it was supposed to fall into a thousand sharp pieces even if debris hit it and got no response.”
The other relates to a failed heating/ventilation system which a different dealer maintains is an isolated case.
The temperature was in the low 40s when the system stopped working. “My windshield immediately fogged up completely and I had near zero visibility. I slowed down and thankfully had a cloth nearby and used that to wipe the windshield clear while looking for a place to pull over. After changing every conceivable setting to no avail I limped home with my cloth at hand.
“This is a serious safety problem that could easily lead to a serious accident. I’ve contacted the Kia dealer for assistance and they insist there are no known issues or bulletins on this problem. I checked various user forums for the vehicle and it appears others are having similar if not identical issues.”
According to this complaint, the dealership is unable to rectify the problem, which is a factory defect. And Kia America is “ignoring” the issue.
“I received my car with tailgate misaligned, it could not be adjusted. There are some more out there like mine. I feel this is a safety problem.”
The complaint explains that the part of the body to which the hinges are attached is not strong enough to open and close the heavy, unbalanced tailgate. It “cannot close as designed” and causes damage because it isn’t level.
“This is a serious structural defect that Kia America is ignoring. My dealer took it to the body shop they use who tried 7 different adjustments that did not fix mine but said can be fixed by body work. Kia is just ignoring this as I feel if the truth comes out they will be forced to recall the EV6 and they have no solution. I have written a certified letter to the CEO of Kia America and was received by (the) front desk/mailroom and I have not received a response or call. I have been in contact with Kia customer service and honestly they have been of no assistance.”
Maintaining his problem is not an isolated incident the complaint ends: “I have been in contact with numerous owners on the forums, social media, etc. I have sent information to news outlets that do investigations.”
The recall issued by Kia in May 2022 requires all owners who were notified to contact their authorized Kia dealer immediately to organize the recall repair.
“WARNING: Until you have the recall repair performed on your vehicle, park your vehicle on a level ground. Avoid parking on a slope/inclined surface whenever possible.”
The letter also states that if owners have already paid to have the situation corrected, they can apply to be reimbursed.
There is a final note that if dealers do not respond to service requests, for owners to call Kia’s Consumer Assistance Center. If Kia hasn’t “remedied this situation without charge and within a reasonable amount of time,” they should complain to the NHTSA, it says.
Kia Dealer Refuses to Comply with Recall
An owner who received the safety recall notice reported on Kia EV Forums that he “called the local Kia dealer and they refused to do the work, stating that they do not service cars they did not sell. I contacted Kia customer service and they indicated that they would not, or could not make one of their dealers service a vehicle, even for a safety recall.”
Kia suggested he drive 100 miles to get the car serviced at another dealer.
“I told them that was not acceptable. Their response in turn was: In the event that you believe Kia has been unable to satisfactorily address the concern, a special alternative resolution program called BBB AUTO LINE is available to you.”
Another wrote: “From what I have been told by an owner who had a problem with a Kia, the problem lies with Kia America here as they are not responsive and their caring for customers is horrible. She contacted Kia Motors Korea and they responded to her and solved the problem.”
“With (the) recall, mine was supposedly done 3 weeks ago and (is) still shown on Kia Access and NHTSA as not done.”
What to do if your 2022 Kia EV6 is a Lemon?
When vehicles have recurring problems or there are issues that impact on your use of the car or its value, they may be defined as lemons. If you think you’ve got a lemon, the best thing you can do is get a lemon lawyer on your side.
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