Kia has revealed the EV9 Concept at the LA Auto Show. The sizeable three-row SUV is a precursor to a production model that will be built on the Korean group’s Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) and shares much with the SEVEN concept shown by Hyundai earlier today.
While this is very much a concept, expect the design direction to trickle down to a production version, offering an all-electric alternative to the Telluride and its competitors.
“The Kia Concept EV9 is yet another important marker for us in what has been an incredible journey since the start of the year,” says Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design Center. “Having made our intentions clear – to become a global leader in sustainable mobility solutions – today we are proud to show the world our all-electric SUV concept, which fuses an advanced zero-emissions powertrain, a cutting-edge exterior design, and a contemporary and innovative tech-based interior space.”
A Concept Focused On Design
Tech specs were kept light, with the EV9 showing the world what their future design could look like. Although no battery details were mentioned, the concept car can supposedly achieve a range of up to 300 miles (482 km). It also incorporates what Kia calls “next-generation ultra-fast charging technology,” meaning the EV9 Concept can recharge from 10 percent to 80 percent in under 30 minutes.
Information on the drivetrain is scant, too, although we know that E-GMP is designed for both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations. One can only assume a production version would feature all-wheel drive, but the possibility of a two-wheel drive version can’t be discounted.
A Chiseled Exterior
The concept car measures 4,930mm (194 in) in length, 2,055mm (81 in) width, 1,790mm (70 in) height and has a wheelbase of 3,100mm (122 in). That makes it 70 (2.76 in) shorter than the Telluride, but marginally wider (65mm / 2.6 in) and with a longer wheelbase (200mm / 7.8 in) than the full-size ICE SUV.
Despite looking rather slab-sided at first glance, the EV9 has plenty of creases, while the flat-looking sides sport chamfered edges. Both the front and rear wheel arches give the impression of protruding from the body, adopting their own muscular haunches. While not for everyone, it’s a bold statement of intent, with a striking design that looks to ape shapes from Jeep and Hummer.
The silhouette is said to embody an adventurous, outing, and recreational form and previews Kia’s new “Opposites United” design philosophy. While the overall proportions and side profile look similar to its Hyundai SEVEN cousin — right down to the medicine-cabinet doors and flexible interior — Kia’s take on things differentiates their large SUV concept just enough to give it its own distinct flavor. However, expect a lot of it to be toned down for production.
A Digital Tiger Face, Solar Panels, And Retractable Roof Rails
The cutting-edge exterior is best highlighted with the frontal view. What the Korean carmaker calls its “Tiger Face” is now digital, with a full body-colored front with LED lights hiding behind the front facia. The EV9 Concept employs the usual gimmicky welcome patterns with the front lights, while the vertical daytime running lights are supposed to be the car’s signature look.
The hood vent duct area is utilized as a solar panel that helps recuperate some of the electric energy that the Concept EV9 uses, although exactly how much power can be obtained from it has not yet been mentioned. It wouldn’t be the first time an EV has used solar panels to supplement the battery, with the Nissan Leaf incorporating a similar concept to help power ancillary functions. That said, Kia mentions that the solar panel can provide users with an alternate source of energy when not close to a charging station, implying that, in concept form at least, the EV9 could potentially recharge on the go via the sun’s rays.
Aero efficiency is enhanced by retractable roof-rails, which can be raised or lowered at the touch of a button. And, like with other models in Kia’s electric range, the EV9 forgoes mirrors and opts for a “next-gen camera monitoring system.
Different Interior Layouts When Stationary
Described as transformative, the EV9’s interior is said to integrate the qualities of nature, movement, and stillness as part of a scenic, first-class lounge. What that means is you get a panoramic roof, a 27-inch ultra-wide display, and a suspiciously yoke-like steering wheel sans stalks.
On the move, the EV9 Concept adopts the traditional seating layout — that is, all three rows face the front. However, when not moving, “Pause Mode” allows the first row and third row to face each other while the second row of seats transforms into a table arrangement.
A second stationary “mode” is named “Enjoy Mode.” In this mode, all three seat rows swivel towards the back, and the tailgate opens, allowing you to gaze upon the great outdoors in a sort-of makeshift amphitheater.
Kia’s focus on sustainability has seen the design team take inspiration from the “Water Element,” meaning that the concept’s colors are inspired by characteristics that relate to serenity, calmness, and wellbeing. Recycled fishnets have been used to help create the flooring of the vehicle, and seating fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles and recycled wool fibers. Also, vegan leather was used throughout the interior space.
Will It See Production?
In some toned-down form, yes. The EV9 is eventually slated to become Kia’s flagship Electric SUV. The three-row model will arrive in the market at around the same time as the Hyundai Ioniq 7 for the 2024 model year.