New Kia Concept EV9 previews brand’s upcoming flagship electric SUV

Combustion engines won’t be part of Kia’s range in Europe from 2035, with the brand’s first hydrogen-powered model to arrive within the next decade

The Kia Concept EV9 that made its public debut at the 2021 Los Angeles Motor Show offers the best insight yet as to how the brand’s forthcoming EV9 electric seven-seater will look.

Earlier in 2021, Kia announced plans to follow up its new EV6 with two new pure-electric SUVs, and the EV9 will be the first of those. The large zero-emission SUV has boxier proportions and a flatter roofline than the EV6, much like the BMW iX, Land Rover Defender or the brand’s own Sorento SUV. However, the Concept EV9 does appear to share the EV6's use of thin headlights and tail-lights. 

It also features 22-inch alloy wheels, cameras in place of regular door mirrors and a new version of the brand’s familiar grille design, called the Digital Tiger Face. The Concept EV9 is a little less than five metres long, while its wheelbase is more than three metres, likely in order to maximise cabin space. 

The cabin of the Concept EV9 features three rows of seats, a panoramic glass roof, floating centre console and 27-inch wide central infotainment display. Vegan leather and recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles were also used to create the concept’s interior. 

There are three unique modes for the cabin seating. The first, Active mode, is for when you’re driving. But, when the car is parked and switched into Pause mode, the first and third rows of seats turn to face each other, and the second row folds down to become a table. In Enjoy mode, all three rows of seats are reversed and the tailgate opens. 

Kia has not disclosed details about the Concept EV9’s battery size, range or performance, but it does share the same underpinnings as the EV6 and its Hyundai sister car, the Ioniq 5. That means it sits on the E-GMP mechanical platform developed for use in electric vehicles.

The production version of the Concept EV9 will also use the same platform, and will likely feature the 800-volt charging system from the EV6 that allows for charging speeds of up to 239kW. A dual-motor setup is expected to feature, as are battery capacities of around 90kWh or more.

The South Korean car maker has previously announced it plans to become an electric-only brand in Europe by 2035, and to be selling only electric and fuel-cell vehicles globally by 2040. Kia’s first hydrogen fuel-cell model will be introduced within the next decade, and is likely to use some of sister brand Hyundai's next-generation hydrogen fuel-cell technology, which was previewed earlier in 2021.

Kia is set to launch 11 new electric cars by 2025, with six of these being dedicated EVs. These will include the EV6, the production version of the Concept EV9 and a smaller zero-emissions SUV. Hyundai is also going to expand its Ioniq-badged range, with the addition of a Tesla Model 3-rivalling saloon called the Ioniq 6 and its own large seven-seat electric SUV, previewed by the SEVEN concept.

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