Kia's Three-Row Flagship EV: The EV9
Kia recently revealed full details of the EV9, its first three-row seat electric SUV. With its sharp style, long wheelbase, and ground-up EV thinking, the EV9 brings fresh thinking, design, and technology to a conservative sector. It also spearheads the Kia’s rapid transformation to an electric-first company and, it claims, a provider of “mobility solutions.”
Based on the same game-changing Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) as the awesomely sleek EV6 crossover, the EV9 should deliver athletic performance despite its blocky looks. Indeed, Kia claims the EV9 will deliver a targeted all-electric range over 335 miles on the European testing cycle (EPA range estimates are not yet available and will likely be lower). The EV9 also features ultra-fast 800-volt charging capability which means its battery pack can be replenished very quickly.
Numerous technological innovations include a forthcoming Highway Driving Pilot (HDP) system, which will enable conditional Level 3 autonomous driving in selected markets. The EV9 also introduces the Kia Connect Store, which enables customers to purchase digital features and services on demand, giving them the flexibility to choose the features they want and continuously upgrade the EV9’s features with over-the-air (OTA) updates at any time.
The EV9 re-imagines the all-electric SUV with a unique balance of natural and modern elements. It is both calm and aggressive, with sharp edges but excellent aerodynamics. An ultra-long wheelbase liberates huge amounts of interior space, as there is no need to accommodate a large engine in the front. The wheelbase, enhanced by a choice of 21-inch, 20-inch or 19-inch wheels, gives the EV9 a strong stance and a contemporary appearance.
Up front, the EV9 SUV’s signature “Digital Tiger Face” provides a unique identity, which is accentuated by a digital grille pattern and vertical headlamps. In addition to the standard model, there is a sporty GT-line model, which features a unique aesthetic that distinguishes it from the standard model. The front and rear bumpers, wheels, and roof rack are unique, and the GT-line features a distinctive black color palette and an exclusive digital grille that adds an element of dynamism and sophistication.
Remarkably, despite the sharp edges, the EV9 also delivers on performance with an impressive aerodynamic coefficient of 0.28. This has been achieved through the implementation of several advanced features. These include a 3D-sculpted underbody cover, which features a convex shape at the front and a concave shape at the rear, along with aerodynamic wheels, and air curtains integrated into the front bumper.
Kia EV9 Interior
The EV9 offers a range of seating options that cater to diverse needs. It offers seven-seater and six-seater configurations and a variety of second-row seat options. The first row features relaxation seats that ensure a comfortable resting posture. The second row offers four seating options, including three-seater bench seats, basic-type, relaxation-type, and swivel-type two-seater independent seats, providing customers with a variety of usage methods to choose from.
When equipped with second-row relaxation seats, the EV9 allows first and second-row occupants to recline together while the SUV is charging. With the swivel seat option, the second-row seats swivel 180 degrees to enable conversations with those seated in the third row. Occupants in the third row are provided with charging points and cup holders.
Standards for Sustainability
Kia is committed to becoming a leader in sustainable mobility, and has declared it will achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 – extending beyond the provision of zero-emission EV drivetrains and into the whole company. Kia wants to decarbonize materials used in the vehicle’s construction, and the EV9 takes this to the next level, with eco-friendly materials that set new standards in sustainable mobility.
A great example is the interior. The EV9 embraces Kia’s three-step Design Sustainability Strategy, initiated to phase out the use of leather and continuously increase the use of bio-based materials such as corn, sugar cane, and natural oils. Kia’s target is to increase the proportion of recycled plastics it uses to 20 percent by 2030.
The EV9's color palette draws inspiration from light, air, earth, and water, to establish a connection with nature's beauty and fuse it into the EV9's design philosophy. A total of six different interior combinations are available, from a light modern grey to elegant natural tones and a more sporting version for the GT-line.
Broad Choice of Powertrain Options
The EV9 uses Kia’s fourth-generation battery technology and offers two battery sizes and two drive configurations. A 76.1-kWh battery is offered exclusively with the rear-wheel drive (RWD) standard model, while a 99.8-kWh battery is fitted in both the RWD long-range and all-wheel drive (AWD) variants.
The RWD long range model a single electric motor, giving the electric SUV the ability to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in around nine seconds – fast enough, but not exciting. Also powered by a single electric motor, albeit a more powerful version, the standard-range RWD EV9 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about eight seconds.
The AWD variant is equipped with two electric motors that together massively increase power and torque. This potent combination enables the SUV to surge from 0 to 60 mph in six seconds. Even greater levels of performance will be available with an optional Boost feature, available for purchase at the Kia Connect Store.
The EV9 also comes with Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) functionality through its integrated charging control unit to provide power for laptops or camping equipment.
Previewing Highway Driving Pilot
Kia says the EV9 will take a significant step towards full autonomy. Key to achieving this is the company’s Highway Driving Pilot (HDP) system, which will provide the EV9 with conditional Level 3 autonomous driving. Fifteen sensors, including two lidars, enable it to scan for and detect objects in a full 360-degree field of view, enabling it to detect and react to the road and other users to prevent potential collisions.
By providing intelligent, proactive, real-time assistance across a wide range of conditions, HDP is said to meet the criteria required to deliver Level 3 autonomy in certain areas of the world. The car will be capable of conditional driving automation where conditions permit, enabling the driver to temporarily take a break from controlling the vehicle.
While it is not available at the start of sales, Kia is planning to offer the HDP in the EV9 GT-line model in the future. Further details will be disclosed nearer its market availability.
Safety and Features at Your Fingertips
The EV9 also ushers in the ability to buy new features over the air. Available features available with a screen tap include additional performance through the “boost” feature, remote parking assist system, content streaming through the infotainment system, and more.
The EV9 also incorporates numerous advanced driver assistance systems to enhance passenger safety, such as blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, and intelligent speed limit assist, designed to aid drivers in potentially dangerous scenarios. Navigation-based cruise control ensures safe driving on highways and automobile-only roads, while highway driving assist enables lane changes and uses a hands-on detection (HOD) sensor to ensure driver engagement.
Ready for pre-order now, the EV9 was showcased at this year’s New York International Auto Show in April. Pricing and incentive applicability has yet to be announced.