Kia’s next all-electric model is gearing up for a global release, with the production version likely to cut a very similar silhouette to the boxy concept
The Kia EV9 is set to be the next electric model in the Korean brand’s offensive. The three-row SUV is not only likely to come to Australia, but it will probably look rather similar to the bold concept vehicle.
That may come as a shock for a company that once made the dowdy Rondo MPV, but the latest design efforts from Kia – and cousin Hyundai – based on the e-GMP electric platform show a concerted effort to move into bolder, crisper designs.
Several EV9 prototypes have been spotted running around near Kia’s development centres in Germany and Korea, with images enough for car rendering outlet Hitekro to give an artist’s impression of what the new electric SUV could look like.
Kia Australia general manager of product planning, Roland Rivero, told Chasing Cars that the brand has its “hands firmly up” to bring the EV9 to our market, hot on the heels of the local introduction of Kia’s EV6 and second-gen Niro electric SUVs.
The EV9’s generous footprint will apparently push it above the seven- or eight-seat Hyundai Palisade into Australia’s ‘upper large SUV’ size category currently populated by the Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series and Nissan Patrol Wagon.
Some design details – for example the suicide doors and sharp rear spoiler overhang – probably won’t make the production vehicle.
However, Genesis – Kia and Hyundai’s luxury relation – has proven that built-in solar panels are viable with the Electrified G80 sedan’s roof, so perhaps the EV9’s solar capable bonnet will make production.
Speaking to Chasing Cars at the launch of the second generation Kia Niro, Rivero indicated that it’s likely the EV9 production vehicle will ape the silhouette looks of the bold concept.
Rivero said: “I’ve seen the clay model, and if you’ve seen the concept it isn’t far off from the clay production. It’s a very boxy SUV design…. Not soft at all.
Additionally, Rivero elaborated on why Australians are likely to have the option of the EV9 than the brand’s current petrol equivalent, the Telluride.
EV9 will be built in one of Kia’s Korean facilities, making it easier for Aussies to influence the production of right-hand drive examples.
“[The EV9] is being built in Korea. It doesn’t help us when [Kia global] tells us that the vehicle is coming only out of the Georgia factory in the United States”, Rivero said.
Kia claimed that the EV9 concept was capable of around 500km of electric range. Were the production to be capable of that, and employed the 77.4kWh (usable) lithium-ion battery pack of the EV6, the three-row SUV would need to average 15kWh/100km in the combined WLTP.
That figure seems unrealistics, given the EV9’s bluff front end. It is therefore likely that a real-world range of about 425km from the 77.4kWh battery, or that the EV9’s larger frame would allow a larger battery.
To achieve a 500km range, assuming around a 15 percent deficit to the EV6’s consumption, the EV9 would require a circa-95kWh battery pack – bigger than any previously fitted to an e-GMP vehicle.
It is also probable that the EV9 will employ a pair of motors to produce similar outputs to the 239kW/605Nm Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD.
Being the largest Kia in the range, it’s likely the EV9 could be priced close to $100K if it comes to Australia, especially with recent increases in raw material costs that saw the EV6 midsize SUV increase last month.
Kia’s current most expensive vehicle is the Sorento GT-Line plug-in hybrid ($81,080 before on-road costs) and, according to Rivero, the brand is not having trouble shifting every unit that comes to Australia.
The EV9 concept is much larger, measuring 4,930mm long, 2,055mm wide and 1,790mm high, though remains on the same e-GMP underpinnings as the EV6 GT-Line AWD ($87,950 before on-road costs).
We will have to wait a little longer to get final confirmation and pricing for the EV9 in Australia.
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