Kia’s largest electric vehicle yet, the three-row EV9, has been teased undergoing testing ahead of its world premiere.
The camouflage will come off in the first quarter of 2023. Kia Australia has yet to officially lock in the EV9 but has previously confirmed it’s putting its hand up any electric model it can get.
The large crossover has been developed over a period of 44 months, and was first revealed in concept form at last year’s Los Angeles motor show.
It’s currently in its final testing phase at Kia’s R&D centre in Namyang, South Korea after having undergone testing in other locations around the world.
Kia says the EV9 is undergoing various on- and off-road tests during this final phase, including hill climbs, a rough terrain track and a deep-water wading test.
The company says it’ll serve as the brand’s flagship vehicle and will “revolutionize the large electric SUV segment”.
It bears a close resemblance to last year’s concept, though some of that vehicle’s wilder elements like its 22-inch wheels and suicide doors have been either toned down or removed.
The production EV9 also has some visual kinship with the popular Telluride crossover, such as its vertical lighting elements and boxy shape, though certain elements have been exaggerated like the beltline up-kick and the wheelbase length.
It’s unclear what electric powertrains will be offered in the EV9, but Carscoops reported in 2021 the related six- or seven-seat Hyundai Ioniq 7 will use a 100kWh battery pack and offer a 230kW dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain.
Kia didn’t detail the drivetrain specifications of the Concept EV9, but claimed it has a range of up to 483km.
The concept could be DC fast-charged at speeds up to 350kW, which means it could be zapped from 10 to 80 per cent in 20 to 30 minutes when connected to a suitable public charger.
It’ll also underpin the Ioniq 7, also previewed in concept form last year. It’s due in 2024.
It’s expected the production version of the EV9 will be a similar size to the concept.
The Concept EV9 measured in at 4930mm long, 2055mm wide, and 1790mm tall with a 3100mm wheelbase.
For reference, that’s 50mm shorter, 80mm wider, and 40mm taller than the Hyundai Palisade, a close relation to the Kia Telluride.
The Concept EV9 also has a 200mm longer wheelbase than the Palisade, for maximum interior room.
Kia Australia wants it, too.
“We are interested, however the detailed plans of Kia Australia’s future EV line-up such as the EV9, are not yet fixed and will be announced in due course,” said a spokesperson for Kia Australia.
“Whilst it hasn’t been green-lit yet, we feel that we’ll fill a really nice void in the Australian market and be very much a leader in the EV space for that size,” Kia Australia marketing director Dean Norbiato told CarExpert earlier this year.
“There’s a lot of coupes and sedans, and smaller cars. This is going to be a true full-size EV for the Australia market.”
Indeed, the EV9 won’t find itself with a lot of competition at first, at least from mainstream brands.
While rival brands like Ford, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota are all planning to introduce electric SUVs to Australia, none of these offerings will be quite as large as the EV9.
Globally, Kia is launching seven all-electric vehicles by 2027 that’ll use the E-GMP platform, with the company aiming for 25 per cent of its sales volume to come from electrified cars by 2029.
Though Kia has released shadowy teasers of various E-GMP models, it has only introduced the EV6 thus far and previewed the EV9 in concept form.
Other E-GMP models, per the teasers, appear to include a small or mid-sized crossover, a slinky sedan (à la the Hyundai Ioniq 6), a small coupe, and a small hatchback.
The three-row EV9 is, by far, the largest of the upcoming E-GMP-based Kia cars.