Concept Corner: Kia Concept EV9

Kia and Hyundai just keep on kicking goals when it comes to their future electric vehicles. The South Korean companies are close siblings (Hyundai owns a big chunk of Kia) and share much technology, and it is this tech, along with a really forward-thinking attitude to electrification, that has seen the two manufacturers churn out some really interesting and exciting concepts and new electric models in recent times.

At the AutoMobility LA event held in November, Hyundai showed off its new SEVEN concept (see page 50) while Kia caused a stir with this, the EV9 concept that hints at the next model in its EV line-up.

Built on the company’s advanced Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) – which it shares with Hyundai – the three-row, seven-seater, Kia EV9 certainly has an eye-catching design. While it may not be to everyone’s taste, the bold styling – including the geometric appearance of the machined 22-inch wheels – is a departure from the SUV norm, and that is a good thing.

Kia says the all-electric SUV can deliver a range of 485km and features ultra-fast charging technology with a 350kW charger that allows a recharge from 10 per cent to 80 per cent in 20-30 minutes. Additional power is available via a solar panel in the bonnet vent duct area.

A re-styled grille and front-end have resulted in a new air vent design that improves aerodynamics, which is further enhanced by a camera monitoring system that replaces conventional wing mirrors, as well as retractable roof rails that close inward into the roof when not in use, creating smooth airflow over the vehicle. When needed, the roof rails can be raised with a touch of a button.

Up front, the grille houses a ‘star cloud’ pattern display that is hidden behind the body panel when not in use. This lightshow apparently offers sequential patterns to create a ‘welcome light’ for the driver and also position lights during driving. Up top, there’s a DLO (Daylight Opening) panoramic sky roof.

Inside and up front is an interactive 27-inch ultra-wide display which is the ‘nerve centre’ for all driver and passenger requirements, including media, climate control and comfort functionality features.

The futuristic interior design has three modes – Active Mode when on the move, and two when the EV9 is not moving. One of the stationary modes is called Pause Mode which modifies the interior space to what Kia says is more akin to a first-class lounge. In this mode, the seats switch around to enable occupants seated in the first row and third row to face each other. The second-row seats fold down and become a table.

Environmentally friendly features – beyond it being an EV, of course – include the use of vegan leather in the interior as well as recycled plastic bottles and recycled wool fibres being used for the seating fabric.

All in all, the EV9 looks like another really exciting vehicle from Kia.

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