Kia has officially revealed a concept version of its all-electric follow-up to the EV6, in the form of the larger Concept EV9, at AutoMobility LA.
Although the wild design makes it clear that this is not the series production model, the Concept EV9 hints at what we can expect from the real deal EV9 large electric SUV.
A large three-row SUV based on the Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), the Concept EV9 measures in at 2055mm wide, 1790mm tall, and 4930mm long with a 3100mm wheelbase.
This is 80mm wider, 40mm taller, and 50mm shorter than the Hyundai Palisade large SUV. The Concept EV9 also has a 200mm longer wheelbase than the Palisade, meaning maximum room.
Although the automaker didn’t go into the electric powertrain details, Kia did note the Concept EV9 has a range of up to 483km.
It also can be DC fast-charged at speeds of up to 350kW, which means it can be zapped from 10 to 80 per cent in 20 to 30 minutes.
The exterior of the Concept EV9 shows a muscular presence with its rugged and upright SUV stance that takes inspiration from its ‘Bold for Nature’ design philosophy.
Kia is wanting this concept to look like “a vehicle that is highly capable, practical and ready for action”.
There are sharp crystalline-inspired wheel arches that sit high up on the Concept EV9, with a low side-body profiling effect that makes the wheel arches pop out.
Up front there is a new take on Kia’s signature grille in the form of the ‘Digital Tiger Face’ that’s been reinterpreted for Kia’s battery electric vehicle (BEV) era.
Seeing BEVs don’t require a traditional grille like internal-combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, Kia has been able to make a full body-coloured front that houses an “intricate star cloud pattern display”.
Sequential patterns create a ‘welcome light’ for the driver when they approach the Concept EV9, and can also function as park lights when the vehicle’s on.
There are also vertical daytime running lights for the front and rear.
When Kia designed this ‘Digital Tiger Face’ grille it allowed the automaker to create a new air vent design that reduces the front mass of the vehicle and improves aerodynamics.
On the bonnet there’s a duct area that’s utilised as a solar panel to help recuperate some electricity that the Concept EV9 uses.
Kia says this gives BEV owners an alternative source of energy when they are not close to a charging station, but stops short on how powerful the solar panel is.
Around the side of the Concept EV9 are machined 22-inch wheels with a triangular aero design piece that’s said to control airflow around the wheel.
This is complemented by retractable roof rails that close inward into the roof, digital side mirrors, panoramic sunroof, suicide-opening doors and triangular D-pillars that create a unique ‘Daylight Opening’ signature according to Kia.
Inside the Concept EV9 is another world entirely: a 27-inch infotainment display serves all of the media, climate control and comfort functionality.
There’s also a bizarre steering wheel with touch-sensitive buttons that won’t be likely to make it to the production EV9.
When stationary, the Concept EV9’s three-row interior can transform itself into two separate modes, designed for relaxation and downtime.
These seating modes would be used best when the Concept EV9 is being charged.
‘Pause Mode’ modifies the interior to become a first-class-inspired lounge that allows the occupants to directly face each other.
This mode sees the front two seats turned around to face the rear of the Concept EV9 and the second row of seats folded down to act as a table.
Next is ‘Enjoy Mode’ that spins all of the seats around to face the rear with the tailgate open so occupants can “connect with the outside environment”.
When designing the Concept EV9, the Kia design team says it was inspired by water, hence the blue paint colour.
This was taken a step further when the design team was looking at sustainable materials to use in the concept.
There are recycled fishnets used to help create the flooring, as well as recycled plastic bottles and wool fibres used to make the seating upholstery.
Vegan ‘leather’ is also used throughout the interior of the Concept EV9.
This model is the latest step in Kia’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2045.
Kia’s current plan is to release seven all-electric models by 2027, with the company aiming for 25 per cent of its sales volume to come from electrified cars by 2029.
It also aims to fully electrify its vehicle line-up in Europe by 2035, with its line-up in “key markets” exclusively consisting of electrified models by 2040.
Also at AutoMobility LA, Hyundai will be revealing its electric large SUV concept called the SEVEN.
Expected to be based on the same E-GMP architecture, this SEVEN concept will hint at Hyundai’s new Ioniq 7, set to launch in 2024.
It’s expected a lot of the battery and powertrain options will be shared across the Kia EV9 and Hyundai Ioniq 7.