Concept Kia EV9 is unveiled at the 2021 LA Motor Show, provides clear look at Kia’s future electric range-topping seven-seat SUV
Kia has used the 2021 LA Motor Show to debut a striking new large electric SUV concept. Called the Concept EV9, it gives an early glimpse at a flagship seven-seat EV from the brand.
Described by Kia as taking on “an iconic and bold form, meshing logical and emotional qualities with playful, rugged features and styling cues”, the Concept EV9 adopts a similar shape to Kia’s much smaller Soul EV, rather than scaling up the look of the recently launched EV6.
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As with the EV6, Kia’s blanked-off ‘Digital Tiger Face’ replaces the traditional front grille not required on EVs. However the rest of the front is entirely new, with a squared-off, sloping bonnet, large chrome strip spanning the full width of the SUV and a distinctive light signature.
Alongside vertically-stacked LED headlights and boomerang-shaped running lights there is a “star cloud pattern display” – an animated lighting pattern that is invisible behind the body panel when not in use.
The Concept EV9’s side-on profile is rugged and boxy, with a straight roofline, prominent flared wheel arches and a rear kink in the otherwise horizontal windowline. Two-tone wheelarch extensions and lower door trim flank distinctive 22in three-spoke wheels. At the rear, the distinctive LED lighting shape continues, while there is a smooth tailgate sitting above a rugged two-tone bumper.
Despite the Concept EV9’s boxy look there is a real focus on aerodynamics and efficiency. The air vent design reduces the SUV’s frontal area, while the bonnet ‘vent’ below the screen is actually a solar panel to recuperate energy for the batteries. Clever retractable roof rails lower into the bodywork when not in use and are raised at the touch of a button, while cameras replace the door mirrors.
Measuring 4,930mm long, 2,055mm wide and 1,790mm tall, the three-row Concept EV9 is similar in size to the BMW iX and Kia’s own Telluride large SUV. The wheelbase is 3,100mm long, however – a full 200mm longer than the Telluride, which should translate to more passenger space.
Kia describes the interior space itself as “transformative”, with a focus on creating a space that positively boosts the mood and wellbeing of passengers. The front is dominated by a 27in widescreen display combining driver information and infotainment, which appears to ‘float’ above the dashboard. Physical buttons are limited, while extensive ambient lighting features, and an usual pop-up “steering pad” replaces the steering wheel.
The cabin actually changes its layout depending on which mode you are in. ‘Active Mode’ has a traditional driver-focused setup, while ‘Pause Mode’ swivels the front seats and third-row seats around, turning the second row into a table to mimic a “first-class lounge''. Enjoy Mode swivels all three rows of seats to face the tailgate, which opens to give occupants “the opportunity to connect with the outside environment”.
Wellbeing is further boosted with soothing colours and a panoramic glass roof, Kia claims, while an environmental focus sees flooring made from recycled fishnets, seat fabric from recycled bottles and will fibre, and vegan leather.
Technical details of the Concept EV9’s electric powertrain are yet to be detailed, but the eventual production version would sit on the Hyundai Group’s E-GMP platform. Expect single and dual motor options, plus an 800V electrical architecture allowing super fast charging speeds.
The Concept EV9 is a core part of Kia’s plan to become a “Sustainable Mobility Solutions Provider”. It aims to achieve carbon neutrality throughout the firm’s value chain by 2045 – through logistics, vehicle production, vehicle use and disposal.
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