Everything we know about the Kia EV9 as of January 2023 [Update]

  • Buyers could consider the EV9 as a zero-emissions alternative to the Telluride
  • The largest Kia EV is expected with up to seven seats & 300+ miles of range
  • To launch later this year; could also be made in Georgia, USA, from 2024
  • Could be priced from around USD 55,000

Update: ‘Kia EV9 Price & Release Date’ section updated.

Kia began the second phase of its electrification strategy by introducing the Kia EV6, its first ‘born EV’ in 2021. Several more dedicated Kia electric car models are coming by 2027, including a flagship SUV called the Kia EV9. An exclusive report ETNews published on November 4, 2021, suggests that internally, the second bespoke Kia electric model goes by the codename ‘Kia MV.’

Here’s a look at the expected design, interior, variants, and specifications of the Kia EV9.

Positioning

As the flagship SUV, the Kia EV9 will be big, boxy, and bold like the Telluride. However, the future is not exactly like the past! The EV9 may offer comparable or better interior space, but it will be smaller. With its bespoke EV platform (E-GMP), Kia will be able to build the EV9 with a spacious interior and shorter overhangs than comparable gasoline-powered vehicles. Passengers will also benefit from a flat floor.

Design

Production Kia EV9 front three quarter test mule
The Kia EV9 balances its classic silhouette with a contemporary styling achieved with technical-looking headlamps and tail lamps, geometric shapes on the body panels, and aero wheels. Image Source: Hyundai Motor Group

In an era of low-riding, sleek electric SUVs that sacrifice core SUV traits in the name of aero efficiency, the EV9 would be among the few that offer the same dominating presence as any large SUV. It features a partly flat, high-set hood, robust beltline, roofline, and slightly hunched rear section.

TopElectricSUV.com has created a rendering of the production Kia EV9 using details revealed in the official pictures of camouflaged prototypes. It appears large and muscular like its upcoming cousin, the Hyundai Ioniq 7, sporting an unmissable road presence. It has the new Digital Tiger Face with a covered, concave body panel in place of a radiator grille. Bold, vertically stacked headlamps convey power and stability. The production EV9 also features vertical headlights that accentuate its dimensions and traditional SUV proportions.

The profile has angled fenders, flush door handles, large glass panels to ensure good exterior visibility for passengers of all three rows, and a sharp kick in the beltline from the middle of the quarter glass for added fizz.

80-90 percent of the concept’s design preserved in the production car

Kia America Chief Designer Tom Kearns told Motor Authority that about 80-90% of the concept’s exterior design will make it to production, reported the publication on April 20, 2022. If that’s the case, the Kia EV9 would appear nearly as striking and futuristic as the concept. Expect the production version to shed the full wheel covers and the accentuated elements on the rear bumper. It may also come with thicker A, B and C pillar to meet safety regulations, and will not carry forward the pillarless interior.

Kia EV9 concept rear three quarter right side
Expect at least 80 percent of the design to be translated into the showroom-spec vehicle. Image: Hyundai Motor Group

Kia EV9 Interior

Sustainable materials

A minimalistic interior design is expected in the EV9, one that helps it look futuristic, improves space and scores on eco-friendliness. Many of the interior touchpoints could be made with fishnet debris, recycled plastic, natural wool yarns, plant-based extracts and other eco-friendly materials. Like Volvo Cars, Kia intends to phase out leathers in all vehicles. Other noteworthy elements visible in spy pictures include light gray upholstery, front seats with decent side bolsters, and sharp cuts on the door panels.

27-inch display

The production Kia EV9 may feature a 27-inch display like the concept version. YouTube channel 우파푸른하늘Woopa TV has released a video in which it shows a spy shot confirming the presence of a similar ultra-wide display. However, it’s also possible—and more likely—that we are looking at two seamlessly integrated screens (an instrument cluster and a touch-operated central display) like on the EV6, one with a design that is better executed.

The video embedded below, courtesy of YouTube channel KindelAuto, shows an EV9 undergoing road testing in California. It provides a glimpse of the interior, including the ultra-wide display. Additionally, it reveals that the production version has more practical AC vents, as compared to the concept.

Video Source: YouTube/KindelAuto

Two-spoke steering

The interior spy shot from YouTube channel 우파푸른하늘Woopa TV reveals the steering wheel of the EV9. The upcoming electric SUV features a luxury-type, two-spoke, dual-tone design. It is similar to that of the K900, but overall, it looks classier from the more angular lower spoke and the sleeker center pad.

Space

The Kia EV9 will likely provide comfortable seating for up to seven passengers. This would be a true three-row electric SUV, offering a zero-emission alternative to typical American mid-size models. On March 21, 2022, KCB reported that the interior space on the Kia EV9 would be generous. It said that the second and third row of seats will offer the same space as the Kia Carnival. The report adds that the third row will be more spacious than regular gas-powered 7-seaters.

Specifications

The Kia EV9’s dimensions should be similar to those of the Kia Concept EV9. For reference, the concept measures 194 inches in length, 81 inches in width, and 70 inches in height. It has a wheelbase of 122 inches.

E-GMP

Kia E-GMP platform
The Kia EV9 will share the E-GMP platform with the Hyundai Ioniq 7. Image Source: Hyundai Motor Group

The Kia EV9 will sit on Hyundai Motor Group (HMG)’s E-GMP platform. E-GMP relies on the rear wheel for propulsion, so motive power goes to the rear wheels. Customers can opt for a second electric motor that powers the front wheels, creating an all-wheel drive drivetrain layout for more grip. E-GMP platform models use a standardized battery module that consists of pouch-type standard cells. It is possible to pack the battery module in different quantities as per the required range, though.

Range & charging

Talking about the EV9 at the 2022 Kia CEO Investor Day, Kia President & CEO Ho Sung Song said that the production EV9 will offer a range of 540 km (336 miles) presumably as per the South Korean test cycle.

350 kW is the maximum supported DC charging power, and charging from 10 to 80% takes 20-30 minutes in the concept. These charging figures should be the targets for the production EV9. Moreover, the electric SUV will support an 800-volt system that would enable faster charging speeds.

Battery & Motor configuration

Hyundai reportedly plans to offer the Ioniq 7 in RWD and AWD configurations, with the latter packing 308 horsepower. The EV9 may use the same motors with similar tuning. Additionally, both large SUVs could share 100 kWh batteries which are smaller and lighter than today’s tech. The new lithium-ion cells would have a higher energy density than the present ones, around 700 Wh/l, compared to 600 Wh/l.

At the 2022 Kia CEO Investor Day, Ho Sung Song said that the production EV9 will be able to travel 100 km (62 miles) with just 6 minutes of charging. A 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint will take just 5 seconds.

AspectKia EV9 Specification (Expected)
Length194 in.
Width81 in.
Height70 in.
Wheelbase122 in.
DrivelineRWD/AWD
Max. System Power308 hp
Battery Pack Capacity100 kWh
Range (South Korea)540 km (336 miles)
Peak DC Charging Power350 kW
10-80% DC Fast-Charging Time20-30 minutes
Solar PanelYes
V2LYes
2023 Kia EV9 specifications (expected)

New power module

Geneva-based STMicroelectronics, one of the leading names in semiconductor technologies, confirmed via press release on December 7, 2022, the launch of improved power modules for electric vehicles. More specifically, these will find their way into various and upcoming E-GMP platform models, starting with the EV6. Three variants of these third-gen ACEPACK DRIVE SiC-MOSFET units from STMicroelectronics reached production a while ago, with two more slated to join them by March 2023.

While the outgoing Kia EV6 will likely benefit first from one of these high-efficiency & more reliable power modules, upcoming Kia electric vehicles like the EV9 should reap the rewards as well. Apart from their above-mentioned improvements, the packaging of the new units makes it easy for automakers to integrate them into vehicles. Due to the overall efficiency, the third-gen power modules may help the EV9 to achieve a slightly greater range.

U.S. specifications

Kia America’s Chief Operating Officer Steven Center told Motor Authority on the sidelines of the 2022 New York International Auto Show that the production EV9 will need about 300 miles of range as that’s the “sweet spot or minimum entry for a larger vehicle.”

A customer survey may have given away some of the Kia EV9’s specifications for the U.S. The survey presented the respondents with five different power-electric configurations, with horsepower, torque, range, and towing capacity ranging from 200 to 400 hp, 250 to 480 lb.-ft., and 0 to 4,500 lb.-ft., respectively. We doubt these are the exact specifications planned for launch, but some of them do make sense for an SUV of this size and price segment. Take a look:

Aspect/SpecificationConfig. 1Config. 2Config. 3Config. 4Config. 5
Wheel Size19″19″19″20″21″ (Black)
Seating Capacity76766
Horsepower200200400400400
Torque250250380380480
0-60 mph Acceleration Time8.58.9665.2
Towing CapacityNot Capable2,000 lbs.3,500 lbs.3,500 lbs.4,500 lbs.
Targeted Range (EPA-est.)220 miles290 miles260 miles240 miles240 miles
Kia EV9 specifications (under consideration) for the U.S. (Source: Electrek)

Kia EV9 GT

You don’t often hear ‘GT’ when reading about a large boxy SUV like the EV9, but every Kia EV series model will have a GT variant, the brand has confirmed. Kia suggests that while GT means “overwhelming acceleration” and “high performance” for a sedan or a CUV (like the EV6), for an SUV (like the EV9), it could translate to “rich performance.” The EV9 GT may come exclusively in a twin-motor e-AWD variant with the largest battery pack Kia can offer.

Features

V2L

The EV9 would also support bidirectional charging, which is called V2L (Vehicle-to-Load) in HMG speak. Customers will be able to plug external appliances to EV9’s charging port and power devices using the EV’s battery. We have already seen E-GMP-based cars like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6 support this feature. It should be possible to supply at least 3.6 kW of electricity and power camping equipment, a home appliance, a movie projector, a laptop, or another electric vehicle.

Smart Glass

2024 Kia EV9 green rendering
V2L will likely be a standard feature on the Kia EV9. With this technology, customers can charge their electrical devices on the go. This includes tailgate parties, camping trips, and even homes during power outages.

The production Kia EV9 will be available with Smart Glass, which allows adjusting the level of roof transparency. With this technology, each occupant of a vehicle can keep an individual setting for the amount of natural light that gets into the cabin through the sunroof.

Connectivity

Kia is working on a connectivity solution called Car Cloud. The company says that with centralized, integrated, and high-performance controller design, Car Cloud will help it achieve flexibility in connected car development. It may use Car Cloud for the connectivity solutions of the EV9.

With fewer hardware components and increased software control over the functioning of hardware in electric vehicles compared to ICE vehicles, Kia wants to reduce its recall and campaign costs. The company wants to leverage OTA technology. For EV9 customers, this could mean fewer visits to the service center and no more of the long service periods, as say, Telluride customers. It will likely be possible to update the EV’s Vehicle Control Unit, Airbag Control Unit, Motor Driven Power Steering, and other controllers over the air.

2024 Kia EV9 blue rendering
The Kia EV9 may feature a digital key that customers can share as easily as sending a text. Pictured is TopElectricSUV’s rendition of the electric SUV.

In addition to OTA updates, the production EV9 will include FoD (Feature on Demand) services. Customers will be able to purchase separate individual software functions and activate them. Software, content, and services have the potential to become a major revenue stream for automakers in the era of highly software-controlled pure electric vehicles. Kia says that it is working on commercializing new technologies like autonomous driving and OTA that have a chance of becoming a vital contributor to income growth in the mid/long term.

Level 3 autonomous driving

Globally, the Kia EV9 will feature AutoMode, the company’s upcoming autonomous driving system. This will mark the start of the second phase in Kia’s autonomous technology roadmap. OTA update, NSCC (Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control) with HD maps, Highway Driving Pilot (HDP), and Auto Lane Change will be the highlights of AutoMode in the Kia EV9. In 2025 or later, AutoMode will offer full autonomous driving.

HDP is a major autonomous driving Level 3 development that would provide hands-free driving without requiring driver intervention on highways. We will get to see HDP in action in 2023 in the S.Korean-spec Genesis G90. HDP will use a LiDAR in addition to the conventional camera and radar equipment. The autonomous driving system would be able to detect objects 400 meters (1,300 feet) away.

Production Kia EV9 front test mule
The Kia EV9’s fascia has hints of the Telluride when you closely observe the vertical headlamps and the wide grille. Image Source: Hyundai Motor Group.

Kia EV9 Price & Release Date

According to the survey we mentioned in the ‘U.S. specifications’ section, the Kia EV9 could start at around USD 55,000 and go up to nearly USD 75,000:

EV9 ConfigurationPrice
Configuration 1USD 56,000
Configuration 2USD 61,000
Configuration 3USD 63,000
Configuration 4USD 68,000
Configuration 5USD 73,000
Kia EV9 prices (possibly indicative) for the U.S. (Source: Electrek)

Kia has confirmed that the EV9 will debut in Q1 2023. Developed over a period of 44 months, the new flagship SUV will raise the bar for design, driving dynamics, performance, and many other aspects at Kia.

Ahead of the confirmed world premiere by March 2023, Kia is intensively testing of the EV9 in Namyang, South Korea, as well as in Europe. Spy media show engineers putting the upcoming electric SUV through its paces on the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit. The German race track is considered the world’s best proving ground for a car’s driving dynamics.

Kia America’s Vice President – Marketing Russell Wager stated at the New York International Auto Show 2022 on April 13, 2022, that the EV9 will go on sale in the U.S. in the second half of 2023.

I’m excited to confirm that the production version of the concept EV9 will go on sale in the U.S. in the second half of 2023.

Russell Wager, Vice President – Marketing, Kia America (New York International Auto Show 2022 on April 13, 2022)

In South Korea, Kia plans to launch the EV9 in April 2023, Kwon Hyuk-ho, the vice president of the company’s domestic business unit, said at the 2022 Busan International Motor Show on July 14, 2022, as reported by Hankookilbo the same day.

Meanwhile, Kia Motors Australia’s Chief Operating Officer Damien Meredith has confirmed that the EV9 will be launched in the Australian market in Q4 2023, CarExpert reported on January 26, 2023. About 400 units of the Korean electric SUV have been allocated for Australia for 2023, Damien told CarExpert.

Production

S.Korea

The ETNews report mentioned at the beginning of the story said that the production of the Kia MV will take place at the AutoLand Gwangmyeong plant in South Korea. Formerly called the Kia Sohari plant, this production facility will start making the Kia EV9 in April 2023. “The new electric vehicle to be produced in Gwangmyeong is a mid-size SUV that utilizes the dedicated electric vehicle platform E-GMP and is a model that will lead the brand,” Kia said (translated) in a briefing session for the plant’s labor union, as per the report.

Kia’s AutoLand Gwangmyeong plant has an annual production capacity of 320,000 units. This factory is responsible for the Carnival, K9, Stinger, and the Stonic. eNewsToday reported on August 9, 2022, that Kia would temporarily suspend production at Autoland Gwangmyeong from September 8, 2022, to October 3, 2022. During this time, the company would work on a production line for the EV9.

U.S. Production

According to a report The Korea Economic Daily published on December 6, 2022, production of the Kia EV9 will take place in the U.S. as well, at the brand’s West Point, Georgia facility, starting in 2024. “We plan to convert the Georgia plant to an electric vehicle production line and produce the EV9 in 2024,” Kia told analysts during a conference call on December 5, 2022, as per the report. This will make it eligible for a USD 3,750 tax credit, the company added.

It seems Kia will meet the Clean Vehicle Credit program’s requirement for the battery packs of the EV9 in the U.S., but not the critical minerals portion of the same. Out of the total USD 7,500 subsidy, half is given if the locally assembled EV’s battery components are manufactured or assembled in North America with a minimum of 60% local sourcing (in 2024/2025). The remaining half of the subsidy is given if the percentage of the value of the battery’s critical minerals that are extracted or processed in the United States or a U.S. free-trade agreement partner or recycled in North America is at least 50% (in 2024).

New plant in Bryan County, Georgia

Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America (HMGMA) plant Bryan County Megasite Georgia
The Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America (HMGMA) plant at the Bryan County Megasite will be a cross-brand facility making EVs for Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis. Image Source: Hyundai Motor Group

HMG has started building a dedicated EV and battery manufacturing facility at the Bryan County Megasite in Bryan County (Georgia), USA. Previously, it was thought that the Kia EV9’s U.S. production will take place at this upcoming facility. HMG will invest USD 5.54 billion in this project, and its suppliers will invest approximately USD 1 billion in connection with the project elsewhere in the state. It will establish the battery manufacturing facility with a strategic partnership, which could be with SK On.

HMG held the groundbreaking ceremony of its new U.S. facility on October 25, 2022. It has established ‘Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America (HMGMA)’ as the company to run its operations there. The dedicated EV factory will make models for all three HMG brands – Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis. Commercial production, as per the latest update, will begin in H1 2025. Thanks to an annual capacity of 300,000 units, tens of thousands of Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis customers in the U.S. and Canada will be able to buy EVs like normal gas-powered models once the new smart factory is running at full capacity.

U.S.-made EV9 to get locally-manufactured batteries

To ensure low cost and supply stability, Kia will use locally-made batteries in the U.S.-built EV9. A report BusinessKorea published on May 13, 2022, said that SK On will establish a new battery plant with an annual production capacity of 40 GWh in Georgia, enough to power 500,000 electric vehicles that provide a range of 500 km or 311 miles. The battery factory could cost approximately KRW 3 trillion (USD 2.4 billion), but SK On wants to build it as a joint venture with HMC. HMC intends to keep its stake as low as possible, though. Production will commence in 2025, and even HMC’s Ioniq 7 will source batteries from this factory, the report claimed.

According to a new partnership announced on November 29, 2022, Hyundai Motor Group will source the batteries for all the EVs it makes at its U.S. plants after 2025 from SK On. The deal came shortly after the South Korean battery manufacturer signed purchase contracts to procure lithium with resource development companies in countries having free trade agreements with the U.S., including Australia and Chile.

From 2023, for an EV to be eligible for Clean Vehicle Credit, at least 40% of the value of the batteries’ applicable critical minerals (such as lithium) will need to be extracted or processed in the U.S. or a country with which the U.S. has a free trade agreement. The percentage will progressively increase over the years (50% in 2024, 60% in 2025, 70% in 2026, and 80% in 2027 and thereafter). This will be one of the several requirements stipulated under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

Kia EV strategy in the U.S.

One new Kia EV will be launched every year in America until the end of the decade, according to Eric Watson, Vice President – Sales Operations, Kia America, as reported by Automotive News in June 2022. Kia America will expand its EV line-up to eight models by 2029, as per the report. It aims to convert 30% of sales to EVs by the end of the decade, and 50% early next decade, Watson said.

Such high conversion rates will require a rethink of the company’s marketing and sales strategies. As a first step, the company is developing a network of showrooms and service centers for electric vehicles in the U.S.

Dedicated Kia electric cars E-GMP new
Kia’s EV range will include seven models developed with an electric powertrain from the outset. Image Source: Kia (Brightened).

Globally, a total of 14 electric vehicles will be offered by Kia by 2027. These will include two new electric truck models, one dedicated and another strategic (presumably a converted ICE pickup truck).

TopElectricSUV says

Kia’s early entry into the three-row SUV segment with the EV9 gives it a leg up on Ford, GM, Honda and Toyota, who have yet to enter this market. The Telluride, while not a segment leader, has been fairly successful and has helped to improve Kia’s brand image. We imagine that customers who are waiting to buy the Telluride in its highest trim could be tempted to spend a little extra to get the EV9, especially if they have no reservations about electric cars!

Kia EV9 FAQs

What is the Kia EV9 release date?

The Kia EV9 will go on sale in the U.S. in the second half of 2023.

Which future models will be Kia EV9 rivals?

What is the expected Kia EV9 price?

Expect the Kia EV9 to start at around USD 55,000 in the U.S. market.

Featured Image: TopElectricSUV’s rendering of the Kia electric SUV.