Everything we know about the Kia EV9 as of November 2021 [Update]

Kia began the second phase of its electrification with the launch of the Kia EV6 earlier this year. Six more dedicated Kia EV models are coming by 2027, including a flagship SUV called the Kia EV9. A recent exclusive report from ETNews suggests that internally, the second bespoke Kia EV goes by the codename ‘Kia MV.’

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

Positioning

The Kia EV9 will be a large SUV similar to the Kia Telluride: big, boxy, and bold. However, while it may offer comparable interior space, it will not be as big. Kia will build the EV9 on a bespoke EV platform (E-GMP), which will allow it to offer a spacious interior in smaller exterior dimensions by stretching the wheelbase while keeping the overhangs shorter than a comparable gasoline-powered SUV.

Design

In an era of low-riding, sleek electric SUVs that sacrifice core SUV traits in the name of efficiency, the Kia EV9 would be among the few that offer the same dominating presence as any large SUV.

The Kia EV9 would evolve from a concept simply called Kia Concept EV9. It features a partly flat, high-set hood, a straight-ish beltline and roofline, and only a mildly hunched section.

The Kia Concept EV9 features a conventional SUV shape, but its design is a work of modern art and sets a contrasting tone. The EV9 balances its traditional silhouette with a contemporary styling achieved with technical-looking headlamps and tail lamps, geometric shapes on the body panels, three-spoke wheels, and visibly slim windscreens and windows. An oval-shaped, seamless, large glass integrated into the roof lets plenty of light inside the cabin and allows occupants to get an obtrusion-free glance at the sky.

One of the EV9 concept’s design highlights is the digital Tiger Face. Kia says that it has reinterpreted its iconic design cue for the EV era. A new type of grille houses an intricate star pattern display, which hides behind the body panel of the SUV when not in use. It’s basically a light show highlighting the futuristic nature of the concept. The driver gets a greeting with sequential patterns that generate a welcome light and double as position lights during driving.

An exterior design element worth noting is the hood vent duct area, which Kia has utilized as a solar panel. This helps recuperate some electric energy when the vehicle is in open-space parking or on the move in the daylight. Retractable roof rails also have our attention, raisable when needed with just a touch of a button and resting at all other times, allowing a smooth airflow over the SUV.

Interior

The EV9 will likely provide comfortable seating for up to seven passengers. It would be a proper three-row electric SUV, offering a zero-emission alternative to typical gas-powered American mid-size models. The interior could carry a minimalist theme that not only helps it look futuristic but also reduces improves the space and eco-friendliness. Kia could use recycled plastics and wool, plant-based (bio PET) yarns and natural wool yarns, plant-based extracts, and other new types of eco-friendly, sustainably sourced materials for many of the interior touchpoints.

The interior of the Kia Concept EV9 is highly conceptual, although its core design and layout should make it to the production-oriented Kia EV9. From the oblong steering wheel to the low-profile horizontal dashboard, the (27-inch) ultra-wide display combining functions of a traditional instrument panel and an infotainment system, the omission of analog controls, and the touch-operated digital controls integrated into the dashboard, everything looks futuristic here. Except for the highly practical large floor console that likely houses plenty of cubby storage spaces, everything looks purposefully compact, keeping every inch for passenger space free wherever possible.

The Concept EV9 offers three rows of seats in alterable layouts. The concept SUV provides an optimal driving experience in an Active mode. Then there’s a Pause Mode, which transforms the cabin into a first-class lounge. The front seats swivel so that the driver and front passenger can face the rear passengers, and the second-row seats fold down and become a table. There’s one more stationary mode, called Enjoy. In this mode, the tailgate opens and the occupants can relax by enjoying the outside environment.

Kia has used recycled and sustainable materials in the interior of the Concept EV9. It has made the seats and fabric out of recycled plastic bottles and wool fiber and the flooring from fishing nets. The company chose vegan leather for the interior to reduce animal skin processing and create a smaller carbon footprint. Like Volvo Cars, Kia intends to phase out the use of leathers in all vehicles.

We hope Kia designers take at least 75 percent of the EV9 Concept to production!

Specifications

The Kia EV9’s exterior 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.

The EV9 will sit on Hyundai Motor Group’s E-GMP platform. The version used in the EV9, shared with the Hyundai Ioniq 7, should be the largest version of the dedicated EV platform. The flagship model should reap almost all advantages of the E-GMP platform, including high-voltage batteries, multi (400V and 800V) and bi-directional charging system, long wheelbase, short front and rear overhangs, and a low center of gravity.

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

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.

Kia hasn’t revealed the performance specifications of the Concept EV9, but it has said that the range is 300 miles. 350 kW is the maximum supported DC charging power, and charging from 10 to 80% takes 20-30 minutes. These figures should be the approximate targets for the production EV9.

Hyundai reportedly plans to offer the Ioniq 7 in single-motor RWD and dual-motor AWD configurations, with the latter packing 308 horsepower. Kia may use the same motors with similar tuning in the EV9. Another common core component between the two large SUVs could be a 100 kWh battery pack.

The 100 kWh battery pack could be more compact and lighter than current units, using new lithium-ion cells with a higher energy density of around 700 Wh/l compared to the current lithium-ion cells with a 600 Wh/l energy density. The maximum DC charging power could be higher than the current E-GMP models, thereby reducing the fast-charging time. For reference, the Ioniq 5 and EV6 support DC charging at up to 220 kW and 240 kW, respectively. The EV9 could be able to take full benefit of 350 kW DC chargers, recharging from 10 to 80% SoC in just less than 20 minutes despite the significantly larger (100 kWh) battery.

Features

Kia EV9 concept seats interior
The Kia Concept EV9 is quite futuristic, but the production version could simply be an evolution of the Ioniq 5’s cabin. Image Source: Hyundai Motor Group

One of the Kia EV9’s attractive features could be wireless vehicle charging. Hyundai Motor Group is developing this technology and plans to test it in the Genesis GV60. By the time the Kia EV9 is in the market, the first commercially deployable version of the new-age EV charging technology could be ready. In addition to a wall-box charger, EV9 customers might be able to install a wireless vehicle charger at home.

V2L, thanks to the E-GMP platform’s bi-directional charging support, would be possible in the Kia EV9. 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 even another electric vehicle.

In 2023, Kia will be ready to launch a Level 3 autonomous driving system called Highway Driving Pilot (HDP). In all likeliness, it would equip the EV9 with HDP in countries where the law allows. Drivers will be able to take their hands off the steering wheel and be driven autonomously on highways with HDP. We will get to see HDP in action a year earlier, in 2022, in a Hyundai model. HDP will make use of 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.

Another tech highlight of the Kia EV9 would be an NVIDIA DRIVE infotainment system. Hyundai Motor Group and NVIDIA have collaborated for developing NVIDIA DRIVE infotainment systems for models from all three HMG brands – Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis. The partnership will allow the South Korean auto giant to deploy its upcoming ‘connected car Operating System’ (ccOS), which it has developed in-house.

Other available features in the Kia EV9 could be a solar panel roof, virtual mirrors (digital mirrors), face recognition, fingerprint reader, and Digital Key 3.0 with Ultra-Wideband technology.

Production

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.

Kia’s AutoLand Gwangmyeong plant has an annual production capacity of 320,000 units. This factory is currently responsible for the Carnival, K9, Stinger, and the Stonic. The company will discontinue the Stinger, which didn’t get the expected success globally.

Release Date

The Kia EV9 should debut in 2023, and perhaps reach the U.S. in the first half of 2024. The U.S. could get a locally manufactured Kia EV9, Kia is yet to announce a plan to build EVs in the country.

Video Source: YouTube/Kia America

Kia EV strategy

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

Kia’s long-term plan on the EV front is to build a line-up of seven dedicated EVs by 2025, and the EV6 is the first car. By 2026, the company wants to have eleven EVs on sale, and they should include conversions like the Kia Niro EV as well. By 2029, when it will have a comprehensive EV line-up, it expects EVs to account for 25% of its annual sales.

Kia EV9 FAQs

What is the Kia EV9 release date?

The Kia EV9 should go on sale by the first half of 2024 in the United States.

Which models will be Kia EV9 rivals?

The Kia EV9 will compete with the Hyundai Ioniq 7, VW ID.6 and perhaps even the BYD Tang EV in the global market.

What is the expected price of the Kia EV9?

It’s too early to give an accurate price, but expect the EV9 to start at around USD 50,000 in the U.S. market.

Featured Image Source: Hyundai Motor Group