Not long after the Philippine launch of Kia’s EV6, we were invited by Kia Philippines to witness the launch of their full sized electric SUV, the EV9.
Dubbed as “Kia’s next move towards becoming a sustainable mobility solutions provider,” the launch took place on the first day of the Seoul Mobility Show which is held yearly at the Korean International Exhibition Center (KINTEX).
In line with their commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2045 and to have a full line up of 15 EV models by 2027, Kia is on track to achieving this goal, with this launch of their second full electric vehicle, the EV9.
Based on the Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) and using the “Opposites United” design philosophy, this SUV offers a balance of natural and modern elements translating into “serene contemporary calmness.” The front end is futuristic, yet simple with a neat façade, sporting the signature 'Digital Tiger Face', the grille has digital pattern lighting, small cube LED projector head lamps and Star-map Signature lighting for the front DRL’s. Looking at it from the side, it has a classic SUV outline, while the body design is a mix of curves and straight angular lines giving a look thats both luxurious and muscular.
At the rear, there are are also star-map LED rear combination lamps flanking the clean tailgate, creating unity with the front end while the beltline rises upward to the connecting with the side edges of the tailgate.
Despite its boxy appearance, it has an aerodynamic coefficient of 0.28 cd helped along by a 3D sculpted underbody cover, functioning somewhat similar to a diffuser. Additional elements like aerodynamic wheels, air curtains in the front bumper combine to allow airflow optimizing performance and efficiency.
As a full sized SUV, the EV9 offers three row seating in both 6- and 7-seater configurations. The first row features a comfortable, resting posture, with the second row available in a variety of options: basic, relaxation, or swivel to suit different lifestyles and to provide new levels of comfort. Its also the first Kia to have the column-type shift-by-wire (SBW) system, with an integrated start button allowing simple and intuitive vehicle operation.
It’s equipped with an all-digital dashboard display, a Aanoramic display that integrates a 12.3-inch digital cluster, a five-inch air conditioning display system, and a 12.3-inch infotainment display. The infotainment system, Connected Car Navigation Cockpit (ccNC), has features such as quick control, integrated search, and new EV mode which allows owners to check and control EV information and functionalities.
As per Kia’s Sustainable strategy, they were able to make 10 interior items in the EV9 from sustainable/recycled materials: recycled PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) fabric, BTX (Benzene, toluene, and xylenes) free paint, Bio plastics, recycled PET felt, recycled PET yarn, Bio PU (Polyurethane) foam, Bio paint, Bio PU, PCM (phase change materials) carpet and recycled PET fishing net carpet.
EV9 owners will have a choice from a variety of powertrains based on Kia’s 4th generation battery technology, the availability of which would depend on what Kia would offer to different countries/region. The rear-wheel drive (RWD) standard model would have the 76.1-kWh battery powering a 215-hp with 350-Nm single electric motor, while the RWD Long Range would feature the 99.8-kWh battery powering a 200-hp with 350-Nm single electric motor. The all-wheel drive (AWD) variant is also equipped with same 99.8-kWh battery, which powers two electric motors, with combined output of 380-hp with 600-Nm.
The Standard RWD EV9 can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.2 seconds while the RWD Long Range model can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.4 seconds. The AWD variant can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.0 seconds.
Owners of the AWD can buy increased performance with the optional Boost feature, from the Kia Connect Store. This ups the combined torque to 700-Nm bringing the EV9’s acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h to 5.3 seconds.
The Kia Connect Store also has additional digital features and services on demand, allowing customers to continuously update the capabilities of their EV9 with Over the Air (OTA) updates.
The RWD Long Range variant equipped with 19-inch wheels has an estimated driving range of over 541-km and when charged using an ultra-fast 800 Volt charging system. A 15-minute charge can replenish the battery pack with sufficient power to drive the vehicle 239-kilometers.
Adding to its features, it’s equipped with Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) functionality, allowing use of the EV9’s stored power through its Integrated Charging Control Unit (ICCU), providing up to 3.68kW of power for gadgets or appliances.
Safety and convenience
The EV9 has a comprehensive suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, (ADAS): Remote Smart Parking Assist 2 (RSPA 2), with this the EV9 can park itself, with the driver inside or outside the vehicle using the Kia smart key called Digital Key 2. It also allows owners to use their smartphone to start their vehicle while the key is in their bag or pocket.
It has Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA), Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA), Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist (PCA), Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control (NSCC), Highway Driving Assist 2 (HDA 2) ensures safe lane changes and hands-on detection (HOD) sensor ensures driver has hands on the wheel.
The EV9’s chassis has high-torsional stiffness with a world first patent-pending B-pillar that has an extended overlap between the crash barrier and side sill. These advances in structural engineering provide class-leading protection for occupants and batteries. In-cabin protection is enhanced by as many as 10 airbags, depending on variant.
Highway Driving Pilot: Level 3 autonomy
The EV9 has the ability for conditional Level 3 autonomous driving, which is defined by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) as “a vehicle which can handle ‘all aspects of the driving’ when engaged but still needs the driver attentive enough to promptly take control if necessary.”
The EV9 is equipped with Highway Driving Pilot (HDP) system, which includes fifteen sensors and two LIDARs. It scans for, and detects objects enabling the vehicle to react to road conditions, other vehicles and prevent accidents. The EV9 will have the capability of conditional autonomous driving where permitted, and this would allow the driver to temporarily take a break from driving while the vehicle is in motion. This feature will only be available in some markets, and more details will be made available close to the vehicle’s commercial release.
Karim Habib, Executive Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design stated that, “Kia redefined its brand in 2021 and has been steadily working toward developing products that inspire customers as well as services and solutions that add new meaning to our relationships with customers” and that “EV9, as Korea’s first large electric SUV equipped with innovative technologies and exceptional spatiality, will deliver a driving experience that will completely transform how we view and engage in mobility.”
Kia will offer open the EV9 for pre-order in the Korean market in Q2 of 2023 and will go on sale in selected markets around the world from the second half of 2023 onwards.