Kia Unveils Its Giant-Slaying EV9 Flagship Electric SUV

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Korean carmaker Kia is gunning for the top with their all-new EV9 electric SUV.

Unveiled earlier this week at an online global launch, the EV9 is the company's first ever three-row flagship electric SUV, with sustainability and zero-emissions mobility firmly in mind.

Ho Sung Song, President and CEO, said: “The Kia EV9 transcends all aspects of traditional SUV thinking and represents the pinnacle of Kia’s design and engineering capabilities.

"Created to meet the needs of all family members, the EV9 also spearheads Kia’s rapid transition to a sustainable mobility solutions provider, not just by its advanced EV architecture, but also through the numerous recycled and sustainable materials used in its creation.”

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The top-of-the-line EV sits on the Hyundai Electric Global Modular Platform, or E-GMP, and is the second Kia model to utilise it (the first one being the sleek EV6 crossover). According to Kia, this allows for it to both perform well on the road, and also achieve respectable range. 

On a single charge, the EV9 is capable of covering 541 kilometers of WLTP range. With ultra-fast 800V charging, the SUV's battery pack is also able to power the vehicle for 239 kilometers in just 15 minutes.

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It measures at 5,010 mm long (with a wheelbase of 3,100 mm), 1,980 mm wide and, and stands at 1,755 mm tall. This makes it the largest Kia SUV in their lineup today, befitting of its flagship status.

Despite the EV9's blocky and angular silhouette, it achieves an impressive aerodynamic coefficient of 0.28. In other words, it's just as slippery as its EV6 sibling. This is partly thanks to Kia's first-ever 3D-sculpted underbody cover, which features a convex shape at the front and a concave shape at the rear. 

Other design elements that contribute to the EV9's aerodynamic qualities include the aero wheels and innovative air curtains integrated into the front bumper.

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Kia's designers have given the EV9 what they call a "Digital Tiger Face", which consists of vertical headlamps and "Star Map" LED daytime running lights that feature an animated lighting pattern. The front fascia also has small cube lamps adjacent to each headlight, gradually fading towards the centre of the grille.

The GT-Line variant benefits from more aggressive-looking bumpers, wheels, a redesigned roof rack, and an exclusive black color palette. Physical side mirrors are also traded in for virtual ones, with screens mounted on the door cards.

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Three variants will be made available: the RWD Standard Range, RWD Long Range, and AWD models. The Standard Range utilises a 76.1 kWh battery, while the other two are fitted with a 99.8-kWh battery.

The RWD Long Range model is equipped with a single 150 kW / 350 Nm electric motor, and a 0-to-100 km/h timing of 9.4 seconds. The Standard Range variant uses a more powerful 160 kW / 350 Nm motor, with a century sprint timing of 8.2 seconds.

Two electric motors are present in the AWD mode, which work together to produce 283 kW and a combined torque of 600 Nm. They allow the EV9 to go from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.0 seconds. With the optional Boost feature selected through the Kia Connect Store, the combined torque is increased to 700 Nm, and a revised 0-100 km/h timing of merely 5.3 seconds.

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Kia will offer either six or seven-seater configurations for the EV9, with the second row seats featuring up to four different setups for various needs. For example, owners can utilise the relaxation seats option to allow first and second-row occupants to recline together while the SUV is charging.

The swivel seat option, on the other hand, allows the second-row seats to swivel 180 degrees, giving its occupants the possibility of having conversations with those seated in the third row.

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Modularity aside, the EV9's cabin is also user and family-friendly. The front seats' mesh headrests, for instance, are designed for improved comfort and child monitoring. There's also a "Panoramic Wide Display", which combines a 12.3-inch cluster display, a 5-inch segment display, and a 12.3-inch infotainment system display; all working together to display information and vehicle controls as efficiently and as seamlessly as possible.

The SUV's Connected Car Navigation Cockpit (ccNC) infotainment system introduces new features to the table, such as a new EV mode.

It lets drivers check and control all EV-specific information and options on a single page, and even the freedom to configure the interface in a widget-style manner to however they deem fit, just like on a smartphone.

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As part of the brand’s three-step Design Sustainability Strategy, the EV9 will use bio-based materials such as corn, sugar cane, and natural oils for its construction. Its color palette are derived from nature, namely light, air, earth, and water. The cabin will feature six different combinations, from light modern grey to more elegant natural tones. The GT-Line will be equipped with a more sporting version.

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The EV9 comes with Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) functionality through its Integrated Charging Control Unit (ICCU), enabling owners to use the vehicle's battery to power devices. Kia states that EV9 owners can use up to 3.68 kW of power for laptops or camping equipment.

That is not all. Kia’s Highway Driving Pilot (HDP) system will also be incorporated into the EV9 GT-Line in the future, thus providing it with conditional Level 3 autonomous driving.This is made possible by fifteen sensors (including two LiDARs), which scan for and detect objects in a full 360-degree field of view. They detect and react to the road, as well as other users, to prevent potential collisions. Further details on the HDP will be disclosed nearer its market availability.

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Safety is also of top priority for the carmaker. On top of the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) suite that many Kia models have already been equipped with (including Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist and Lane Keeping Assist) and 10 airbags, the EV9 will also feature a class-leading chassis design.

The frame structure provides exceptionally high torsional stiffness, and boasts having the world’s first patent-pending B-pillar connection structure technology. It features an extended overlap between crash barrier and side sill, effectively protecting all occupants inside, and even the batteries.

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The EV9 will be available for pre-order in its home Korean market in the second quarter of 2023, and is expected to arrive in Singapore in the second half of the year.

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