The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into the 2022 Kia EV6 after some owners sent reports complaining about loss of power.

The agency has opened a preliminary evaluation to assess the scope and severity of the potential safety defect, which could affect nearly 20,000 EV6 electric crossovers.

NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) said it received 11 complaints about the issue from US Kia EV6 owners. Many of them reported hearing a "loud pop noise followed by a warning displayed in their dashboard," followed immediately by a reduced or total loss of motive power.

This sounds very similar to the investigation the NHTSA opened last month into the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5, which shares the E-GMP electric vehicle platform with the Kia EV6.

After conducting several interviews with Kia EV6 owners, investigators were able to confirm "a range of loss of power and varying time intervals between the warning message and loss of power," according to a federal document detailing the safety probe.

As in the case of the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the auto safety regulator said there is a "strong correlation" between the loss of motive power and failure of the Integrated Control Charging Unit that powers the vehicle batteries.

Gallery: 2022 Kia EV6 (US)

One of the complaints submitted to NHTSA came from a driver in Long Beach, California, who reported hearing a loud pop from the rear passenger side of the vehicle followed by a warning light to check the vehicle's charging system.

"All power to the vehicle was subsequently lost, immobilizing the vehicle. Dealer service department said ICCU board needs to be replaced but is on national backorder. Car has been immobilized since," the complainant said of the April 29 incident. 

The investigation is currently in the preliminary evaluation phase, in which NHTSA engineers request information from the manufacturer. The manufacturer also can present its view regarding the alleged defect and may decide to issue a recall.

After the evaluation, NHTSA will either close the investigation or move into the next phase. If a safety-related defect is found, the agency may send a "recall request" letter to the manufacturer. In the related investigation involving the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5, NHTSA hasn't reached a conclusion yet.

Kia has sold 8,328 EV6 vehicles in the US in the first half of this year, according to Automotive News data. The 2022 EV6 is the first dedicated EV launched by Kia as part of its goal to debut eight EVs in the US by 2029.

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