As promised, following our first look at official images last week, Kia has fully launched its long-awaited EV9 SUV ahead of pre-orders next quarter. Along with more details on some of the technologies we’ve already seen in Kia’s first third-line electric vehicle, the car manufacturer shared exciting news related to sustainability, autonomy, over-the-air updates and vehicle-to-grid capabilities.
Brief synopsis of Kia’s first three-row electric SUV
The Kia EV9 debuts as the second all-electric model to feature the Korean automaker’s new “EV” series nomenclature. How the EV6 crossover After that, the EV9 sits on Hyundai Motor Group’s 800VE GMP platform, offering ultra-fast charge speeds as well as vehicle-to-load (V2L) performance capabilities and the potential for larger applications. (More on that below.)
We’ve been anticipating today’s official debut since Kia first teased the SUV concept in November 2021. That was soon followed by a working prototype last summer, which came very close to the design form originally dreamed of. In mid-March, Kia shared the first full images of the EV9, inside and out, and carries over some of the design elements repeated during the recent presentation.
This includes the SUV’s unique digital spin on Kia signature “tiger face” front end, and multiple seating options in the cabin, including rotating second-row seats that rotate 180 degrees. While that was certainly enough to briefly pique our interest, we quickly anticipated the full EV9 debut from Korea, which was promised before the end of the month.
After Kia’s full presentation (which you can watch below), we’ve learned a ton more about this all-electric SUV, and there’s plenty for future customers to look forward to.
Kia EV9 SUV specs and key features
All right, let’s jump right in because there’s a lot to unfold here. The Kia EV9 SUV will be available in two different battery size options – a 76.1kWh pack in the standard RWD option or a 99.8kWh long-range battery available in both RWD and AWD configurations.
When asked, the Kia team confirmed that both the Standard and Long Range variants of the RWD EV9 will be sold in North America. The automaker isn’t yet sharing detailed performance data for each trim level, but it has shared some:
- RWD long-haul
- A single electric motor with 150 kW (350 Nm).
- Estimated acceleration from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 9.4 seconds
- RWD standard range
- A single electric motor with 160 kW (350 Nm).
- Estimated acceleration from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 8.2 seconds
- AWD variant
- Two electric motors, which together provide 282 kW (600 Nm torque).
- Estimated acceleration from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 6 seconds
At the moment, Kia estimates that its Long Range RWD version of the EV9 will be able to achieve a range of 541 km (336 miles) on a single charge. Since his estimates were calculated with the more generous WLTP standardwe would expect the official EPA estimated range to land between 300-310 miles.
Kia also said it will eventually introduce a “boost” option that will increase the torque of the AWD SUV’s front engine to a total of 700 Nm. This add-on will be available at a later date through a new tool being launched on the EV9 – the Kia Connect Store.
According to Kia, the Connect Store will allow future drivers to purchase digital features and other services with peace of mind installed wirelessly without visiting a dealer. Responding to media inquiries during the debut presentation, Kia said the Connect Store will offer features as either a one-time purchase or a subscription option.
One of the big selling points of electric vehicles based on Hyundai Motor Group’s 800VE GMP platform is the charging power it can deliver. The super-fast charge rates of the Hyundai IONIQ5 and Kia EV6 have already been well received by consumers and should be no different when the EV9 SUV arrives.
Kia says the 800V platform can achieve an estimated range of 239 km (about 149 miles) in just 15 minutes of DC fast charging, which could be perfect for future road trips in the family-sized electric SUV.
Another major benefit of the E-GMP platform is the Integrated Charge Control Unit (ICCU), which allows energy to be discharged from the EV battery to power other devices. This is better known as Vehicle-to-Load or V2L. Kia says the EV9 will be able to deliver 3.68kW of power to other devices, be it a laptop, mini-fridge or charging another electric vehicle.
We’ve explored the feature ourselves with the Hyundai IONIQ 5 and IONIQ 6, but Kia takes it a step further with the EV9 with another first. Kia’s all-electric SUV will feature Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) support technology, allowing future owners to use the EV9 as a backup power source in the event of an emergency or power outage.
In addition, Kia said that in the future, its EV9 customers will be able to add a Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) capability, allowing them to actually profitably feed excess energy into their local energy grid. There will be a lot of bureaucracy to implement this feature, but if successful it could be an absolute game changer.
Kia debuts a GT line, but what about a performance GT?
During its recent presentation, Kia also unveiled a new GT line that will appear in select markets later this year. Per Kia:
In addition to the standard model, Kia introduced the GT-Line model design, which differs from the standard model with a unique aesthetic. The front and rear bumpers, wheels and roof rack have undergone a restyling and have been given a distinctive black color palette that exudes a strong and assertive presence, setting it apart from its standard counterpart. Notably, the GT-Line features an exclusive digital pattern lighting grille, adding an element of dynamism and sophistication to its already impressive design.
All in all, this trim level is aesthetic in nature and shouldn’t be confused with a performance GT version of the SUV, much like Kia did the aforementioned EV6. That would be cute, right?
Well, to our surprise, Kia President and CEO Ho-Sung Song said the automaker is indeed in the process of developing an EV9 performance GT SUV, further stating that it will “redefine what performance means for an electric vehicle “. Exciting news, but song followed by saying we won’t see this version until early 2025.
ADAS and sustainability get a chance to shine in the EV9
Kia has for years been one of the global automakers truly committed to electrification, aiming for true carbon neutrality across its business by 2045, but during the EV9 SUV presentation we learned that it was once again pushing the boundaries of sustainable design expanded.
The EV9 will be the first Kia model to showcase the automaker’s three-step design sustainability strategy, which includes the phasing out of leather, increased use of bio-based materials and the use of 10 sustainable “must-have” items for each model . from standard equipment to top-tier option. Here are some examples present in Kia’s electric SUV:
- Recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
- Recycled suede and recycled thermoplastic olefin (TPO) in dashboard, door and pillar trim
- Recycled fishing nets used in the floor rugs
- BIO-PU (bio-polyurethane), derived from corn and eucalyptus, is used to replace leather and PVC
In terms of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), Kia is aiming to achieve SAE Level 3 autonomy, and the EV9 will arrive with the necessary components to eventually enable hands-free driving under certain driving conditions when the SUV follows the car ahead of it, while keeping a safe distance.
The current iteration will include intelligent remote parking assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist, blind spot detection, lane keeping assist and intelligent cruise control. Highway Driving Assist 2 enables lane changes and confirms the driver’s attention with hands-on recognition.
Last but not least, the Digital Key 2 will allow future EV9 owners to unlock and start their car with just their smartphone – another first for Kia.
Kia EV9 pricing and availability
Okay, let’s start with pricing. There isn’t one, sorry According to Kia, his team “monitors multiple factors to determine the optimal pricing for its customers.” We’re not sure where it will end up, but this SUV will very likely be Kia’s most expensive model yet.
The first versions will be produced in Korea, but Kia intends to share global production plans for the EV9 in the near future. Pre-orders for the electric SUV will begin in Korea in the second quarter of 2023, followed by other global markets in the second half of this year, including Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.
We’ll be sure to learn more as we get closer to pre-orders in Korea, and will at least be able to glimpse where price and performance specs for the North American market might end up. In the meantime, you can check out Kia’s full EV9 SUV world premiere below.
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