Kia’s EV9 concept car is a big, boxy take on our electric future
Kia unveiled the EV9 SUV, an extra-large EV concept with soul-like angularity and an estimated range of up to 300 miles. Like the previously unveiled EV6, the EV9 will be built on Hyundai’s new Global Modular Electric (E-GMP) platform which the automaker says will serve as the basis for an entire family of planned electric vehicles. The concept debuted at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show.
The EV9 might have the angles of a Soul, but it has the body of a Telluride. The concept SUV measures 194 inches in length, 81 inches in width, 70 inches in height and has a wheelbase of 122 inches. It’s taller, longer, and wider than the Kia Telluride and would definitely fall into the “dangerously huge SUV” category if ever made.
With the automaker calling this “the clearest signal yet” as to what is coming from Kia’s upcoming EV lineup, it’s a safe bet that a version of the EV9 is going into production.
E-GMP is Hyundai’s evolutionary electric architecture underpinning the upcoming Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and Genesis GV60, as well as the recently unveiled (and equally gigantic) Hyundai Seven concept. Unlike the modest and refreshing footprint of the EV6, the EV9 seems poised to woo Telluride and Cadillac Escalade customers with its aggressive dimensions and plentiful interior space.
This means that it will also have the same 800-volt architecture as these other electric vehicles, allowing it to accept fast DC charging at speeds of up to 350 kilowatts. Like the Hyundai Seven, Kia claims that the EV9’s battery can charge 10 to 80 percent in 20 to 30 minutes.
The Kia EV9 sports a reinterpretation of the automaker’s grille, which it calls its “iconic Tiger Face”. Cars without dirty internal combustion engines don’t necessarily need a grille. But automakers find it difficult to move criteria built around the function and needs of one ICE to another without those same requirements.
Kia is moving in the direction of Tesla by getting rid of the traditional grille and opting for “a full color front end that clearly conveys the values of sustainability”. In other words, it is a signaling muzzle of virtue.
Despite its square shape, Kia said it was “inspired by water”. It wasn’t a reference to the form, however, but rather the exterior and interior color scheme. Kia describes the exterior paint as mimicking the “expansive depth of the ocean,” while the interior color choices are as “light blue” as the sky.
The interior is dominated by a central 27-inch touchscreen, which is about as wide as that of today’s SUVs. And the steering wheel, while not a full yoke like the Tesla Model S Plaid, is definitely more of a yoke than a steering wheel. Kia calls this a “contextual steering pad,” but renderings don’t tell what the shape is for.
Kia won’t confirm whether the EV9 will go into production, but it looks very likely, given the South Korean automaker’s commitment to release seven dedicated electric batteries by the end of 2027 and sell half a million cars. battery per year by 2026.