“Carved” and “chiseled” are two words that come to mind to describe the Let’s be EV9, revealed by the company on March 15. Gone are the rear-hinged “suicide doors” found on the concept car. (They never made it to production because there’s no way to meet today’s aggressive side-impact protection standards without a heavy-duty B-pillar in the middle of the car.) But what buyers will find instead, they are second-row swivel seats that allow easy access to the interior and can fully rotate so that second- and third-row passengers can face each other. Cool!
Yes, you heard right. The Kia EV9 is one of the first big-battery electric SUVs on the market with true third-row seating. The company hit the sweet spot of today’s new car market and did it with a car that features fresh, quirky styling without the “in your face” trappings of the Hummer EV.
Kia EV9 preview
Brett Berck traveled to Seoul for the introduction and was able to spend time with Karim Habib, Kia’s Global Head of Design, who said: “This is an organization that really understands the importance of design, where thinking on design and design is becoming more and more a real strategy to define not only the way things look, but also the products you build. I work with engineers and product managers every day, and they’re always trying to make a better product – to take pride in the products they make. And I think that legacy is really good because it pushes us to do bold things.
Berk was quietly blown away by the car. “The EV9 is a stunning product, with the kind of bold, authoritative presence usually reserved for vehicles that cost two or three times as much, including icons like the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen or the Range Rover. It’s positively chiseled , as if the brand’s popular three-row Telluride SUV – already a handsome truck – had been sculpted cool and then worked with Tom Cruise’s coach It’s bold without being threatening, a compelling result of the process Kia’s iteration that’s not meant to shock but to improve.
The Kia EV9 is proof that electric vehicles really can be bigger on the inside than they look. Its dimensions are similar to many midsize SUVs, but its interior is cavernous. “As a group and as a company, we have decided to go for dedicated platforms for electric vehicles, because it gives you the opportunity to play with space in a totally different way,” said said Artur Martins, Kia Global Brand Director.
“So even though the dimensions of it will be like a mid-size SUV, the interior space is like a full-size big truck. You can use the flat floor. You can have a shorter engine compartment because it doesn’t there’s no engine. You can play with the overhang and proportions front and rear to make it shorter. And that long wheelbase lets us take advantage of that space. if we decided to grab Telluride, remove the engine, and electrify Telluride, we would be much more limited in what we could do with space.
In a Press release, says Karim Habib: “The Kia EV9 innovates by aiming to redefine the standards of design, connectivity, user-friendliness and environmental responsibility. It offers customers an exceptional quality proposition and a new EV perspective in the family SUV sector. This new vehicle typology offers instinctive experiences and excellent comfort not only to the driver, but to all occupants, thanks to an innovative use of space, technology and design.
Kia E-GMP platform
“Built on Kia’s Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), the EV9’s long wheelbase, low beltline and completely flat electric vehicle architecture made it easy to create generous space allowing all occupants to connect and relax with lounge-style comfort in all three rows of seats, the company says.It will be available in six- and seven-passenger configurations that meet the needs of all passengers, not driver only,” the company says in the press release.
“Throughout the spacious, bright and airy cabin, the EV9 embodies elegantly simple, premium and exceptionally user-friendly design,” says Kia. The open, floating panoramic instrument panel extends from the steering wheel to the center of the vehicle. Two 12.3-inch touchscreens integrated into a 5-inch segmented display enhance the digital experience, providing effortless control of vehicle functions and ensuring that physical buttons are kept to a minimum.
A full global introduction is scheduled for later this month when more technical details are released, but we do know the E-GMP platform that underpins the EV6 sedan and the Hyundai Ioniq 5. we reported When the platform was first introduced in late 2020, the E-GMP platform operates on 800 volts most of the time but can be upgraded to 400 volts to accommodate low power charging systems. In 800V mode, it can take advantage of 350kW chargers that are becoming available in more places.
Another important feature of the E-GMP platform is that it is factory configured to support vehicle-to-grid operation. The company says it can even be used to charge another electric vehicle when needed. When plugged into an ultra-powerful charger, the E-GMP platform can reach an 80% state of charge in as little as 18 minutes. The target range for cars built with the new chassis is 500 kilometers (WLTP).
The Kia EV9 should start at under $60,000, which is quite reasonable for a vehicle that early reviewers say compares favorably to the Mercedes G-Class and Range Rover. The question now is how and when the car will qualify for the federal electric vehicle tax incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act. The EV9 will be manufactured at the Hyundai Group’s new plant near Savannah, Georgia, which is not expected to start producing cars until late 2024. The company is also building several battery plants in Georgia. Presumably, by the time production begins, the EV9 will be eligible for some if not all of the federal EV tax incentives.
It all comes down to the fact that the Kia EV9 is exactly the car many US customers are looking for, and no other automaker has similar products in the pipeline, which should give Kia a first-mover advantage in this. segment. From the photos and descriptions, it looks like a very good car for anyone who needs a fully electric 6 or 7 passenger mover that can also fit a tuba or bass fiddle. We anticipate there will be massive interest in this car when it hits US showrooms.
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