Kia EV9

Kia EV9: Everything We Know So Far (August 2023 Update)

  • Prospective buyers might view the EV9 as a sustainable, zero-emissions alternative to the Telluride.
  • The forthcoming Kia EV is poised to be the brand’s largest electric vehicle, featuring up to seven seats and an estimated range of 275 miles.
  • Customer deliveries in the United States are set to commence in the fourth quarter of 2023. The expected starting price for the EV9 is estimated to be around USD 55,000.

Kia’s Electrification Strategy and the Kia EV9

Phase of StrategyKia initiated the second phase of its electrification strategy, introducing the Kia EV6 as its first ‘born EV’ in 2021.
Future Electric Car ModelsKia plans to unveil several dedicated electric car models by 2027, one of which is the flagship SUV known as the Kia EV9.
Kia EV9 HighlightsHere’s an overview of the design, interior, variants, and specifications of the Kia EV9.

Design

The production version of the Kia EV9 closely resembles the concept model, retaining its futuristic design. In an era where many electric SUVs prioritize aerodynamic efficiency over traditional SUV characteristics, the EV9 stands out by maintaining a commanding and imposing presence. It boasts a partly flat, elevated hood, a robust beltline, a distinctive roofline, and a subtly muscular rear section. Impressively, it achieves a low coefficient of drag at 0.28 Cd.

FrontSide ProfileRearRoof
The EV9 boasts a commanding presence with its large, muscular design. It features the striking ‘Digital Tiger Face’ merged with the innovative ‘Digital Pattern Lighting Grille,’ replacing the conventional radiator grille. This grille is a sleek, body-colored, concave panel with multiple patterned lights above, creating a captivating visual effect. Vertical headlamps, incorporating two clusters of small cube-shaped lamps, and ‘Star Map’ LED daytime running lights flank the faux upper grille, offering a sophisticated animated lighting pattern that complements the full-width light strip. The Light and Wind trims opt for slim-lens horizontal projection LED headlamps. A functional lower grille at the front ensures effective cooling for the EV9’s components, while the bumper, though edgy, maintains a smooth appearance without additional side air inlets.The side profile of the EV9 showcases angled fenders, flush door handles, and expansive glass panels that enhance exterior visibility for passengers in all three rows. A sharp crease in the beltline, starting from the middle of the quarter glass, adds a touch of dynamism. A chrome strip along the beltline provides subtle elegance without disrupting the SUV’s minimalist design. The generous windows and fixed glass panels allow abundant natural light to illuminate the cabin, creating a spacious feel. In the U.S., traditional glass-based side mirrors are used, while in South Korea, digital, camera-based side mirrors are an option. The alloy wheels are designed for efficiency, with the Light and Wind trims featuring 19-inch wheels, the Land trim sporting 20-inch wheels, and the GT-Line trim equipped with 21-inch wheels. A spare wheel may not be included, as a tire inflator kit is offered.The rear of the production EV9 exudes a classic SUV charm with its upright and clean design, emphasizing space and simplicity. The ‘Star Map’ vertical LED rear combination lamps, reminiscent of the concept version, add a unique touch. The rear bumper features a sturdy protector, reflectors, and a recess for the license plate. Hidden-type wipers and a sleek, uncomplicated tailgate contribute to the SUV’s understated yet stylish appearance.The EV9’s roofline exhibits a subtle taper, creating an almost flat profile reminiscent of classic SUVs while conveying a sense of smooth and efficient motion. Flush roof rails seamlessly blend with the SUV’s clean aesthetics. Dual sunroofs are available as an option, adding to the vehicle’s versatility and openness.

Positioning & trims

Flagship SUV OverviewEV9 Trim OptionsUpcoming EV9 GT
The Kia EV9, positioned as the flagship SUV, shares the bold and boxy design language of the Telluride. However, it distinguishes itself by offering superior interior space and efficiency, thanks to its bespoke EV platform (E-GMP). This platform allows for a spacious interior and shorter overhangs, benefiting passengers with a flat floor and a more space-efficient layout.Kia offers the EV9 in the U.S. in four distinct trims: Light, Wind, Land, and GT-Line, following a similar grade lineup as the EV6. The GT trim, known for its sportier features, may become available in the second model year (MY2025).Kia is set to introduce an even more exciting version of the EV9, the GT trim. While details and images are yet to be revealed, it’s expected to feature a sportier appearance and enhanced performance. Unlike the GT-Line trim, the GT variant is likely to receive performance upgrades for a thrilling driving experience.
The EV9 is designed with a focus on maximizing interior space and efficiency, setting it apart from traditional gasoline-powered SUVs.The U.S. market offers four trim options: Light, Wind, Land, and GT-Line, with the GT trim potentially arriving in MY2025.Kia has confirmed plans to launch the EV9 GT, a high-performance version of the flagship SUV. It’s expected to have a sportier design and enhanced driving capabilities.
The bespoke EV platform (E-GMP) enables a spacious interior with a flat floor and shorter overhangs.The GT-Line trim stands out with sporty elements such as unique bumpers, 21-inch wheels, darkened mirrors, and a special “Focused” lighting pattern on the Digital Pattern Lighting Grille.The EV9 GT is developed with AWD and a high-output dual-motor powertrain for superior acceleration. It features a reinforced suspension system and optimized tuning for agile driving, safety, and stability.
Kia CEO Ho Sung Song announced plans to launch the EV9 GT in 2025, aiming for a dynamic and powerful driving experience.The GT trim may join the lineup in the second model year (MY2025).Kia is expected to conduct the world premiere of the EV9 GT in the near future, building anticipation for its sportier and high-performance version.
In summary, the Kia EV9 combines bold SUV styling with interior space efficiency, offering a range of trims to cater to diverse customer preferences. The upcoming EV9 GT promises a sportier and more exhilarating driving experience, enhancing the SUV’s appeal further.Customers can choose from various trims to suit their preferences, with the GT trim offering sportier aesthetics and potentially enhanced performance.The EV9 GT is poised to bring dynamic driving to the forefront, with AWD and high-output dual-motor powertrain, setting a new standard for performance in the EV9 lineup

Dimensions

The Kia EV9 measures 197.2 in. in length, 77.9 in. in width, and 68.9, 69.1, or 70.1 in. in height and has a 122.0 in. wheelbase.

Dimension\MeasurementEV9 LightEV9 WindEV9 LandEV9 GT-Line
Length197.2 in.197.2 in.197.2 in.197.4 in.
Width77.9 in.77.9 in.77.9 in.77.9 in.
Height68.9 in.69.1 in.69.1 in.70.1 in.
Wheelbase122.0 in.122.0 in.122.0 in.122.0 in.
Ground Clearance7.0 in.7.8 in.7.8 in.7.8 in.
Approach Angle20.0º20.0º20.0º20.0º
Departure Angle22.8º22.8º22.8º22.8º
Kia EV9
Kia EV9

Kia EV9 Interior

Interior Elegance and Innovation

The interior of the Kia EV9 epitomizes futuristic sophistication and focuses on elevating convenience and comfort to new heights, surpassing any previous Kia model. The dashboard is a sweeping, floating panoramic panel that accentuates the SUV’s expansive width and spaciousness. A standout feature is the sleek panel housing the central AC vents, accompanied by a compact passenger-side storage area, seamlessly integrated into the dashboard.

Intuitive Touch Controls

In a remarkable departure from convention, the primary controls for the infotainment system are concealed within the center dash as touch-sensitive surfaces, designed as capacitive haptic switches. These controls provide haptic feedback for a tactile user experience. For essential functions like power on/off, volume adjustment, and temperature control for the front AC vents, physical buttons are conveniently located just below the touch panel. Adding to the innovation, the EV9 boasts a column-type electronic gearshift lever with an integrated vehicle start button.

Panoramic Wide Display

For the first time in Kia’s lineup, the EV9 features a ‘Panoramic Wide Display’ on the dashboard, comprising a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 12.3-inch infotainment system display, and a 5-inch climate control display, with the latter nestled between the two 12.3-inch screens. Additionally, the GT-Line trim offers a 12-inch full-color head-up display for an enhanced driving experience.

Luxurious Steering Wheel

The EV9’s steering wheel showcases a luxurious two-spoke, dual-tone design reminiscent of the K900 model. Notable refinements include a more angular lower spoke and a sleeker center pad. Unique to the EV9’s steering wheel are ‘Drive Mode’ and ‘Terrain Mode’ buttons. In the Land and GT-Line trims, an illuminated Kia logo adds a touch of sophistication.

Functional Center Console

The center console of the EV9 boasts a floating, oval-shaped design, incorporating practical elements such as two generously sized cup holders, a tablet compartment, and a spacious storage box. This console also houses two wireless charging pads and a convenient drawer-type tray. Beneath the storage box, a sizable open area provides ample room for groceries and other essentials. Conveniently placed buttons for Auto Hold, Downhill Brake Control, Surround View Monitor, and Park Distance Warning enhance ease of use.

Innovative Seating Options

Passenger comfort is paramount in the EV9, with options for both seven-seater and six-seater configurations. Notably, Kia offers a choice of four second-row seating options, including three-seater bench seats, basic-type, relaxation-type, and swivel-type individual seats. The swivel-type seats can rotate 180º inward and 90º outward, enabling versatile seating arrangements for meetings or accommodating differently abled passengers. Unfortunately, swivel-type seats are not available in the U.S. due to safety regulations.

Relaxation and Customization

The EV9 introduces a “Relaxation Mode” that allows first- and second-row occupants to enjoy power-operated leg rests for added comfort. Notably, second-row passengers can electronically adjust their seats in eight different ways, enhancing their comfort and control. A standard tri-zone automatic climate control system further enhances interior climate customization.

Dynamic Body Care and Seat Heating

Internationally, the EV9 offers a ‘Dynamic Body Care’ massage feature in the second-row seats, utilizing tapping motions and vibration for relaxation. Users can select from five tapping levels and three vibration levels through a dedicated display to customize their massage experience. Seat heating in the EV9 utilizes advanced metal-coated carbon fiber, offering improved durability and reduced power consumption compared to traditional heating methods.

Sustainability Focus

The EV9 showcases Kia’s commitment to sustainability by incorporating eco-friendly materials throughout the interior. It features non-leather polyurethane seating surfaces, BTX-free paint on select trim pieces, and fabrics and carpets made partially from recycled materials. Kia avoids the use of leather, opting for bio-polyurethane (PU) for seat covers and employing eco-friendly materials in various touchpoints, including fishnet debris, recycled plastic, natural wool yarns, and plant-based extracts.

Spacious Cargo and Frunk

The EV9 provides ample cargo space, with 20.2 cu. ft. of storage capacity that expands to a generous 81.7 cu. ft. when rear seats are folded down. Additionally, a frunk (front trunk) is available, offering 3.2 cu. ft. of storage in the Light trim and 1.8 cu. ft. in the Wind, Land, and GT-Line trims, enhancing practicality and versatility.

Dimension\MeasurementEV9 LightEV9 WindEV9 LandEV9 GT-Line
Luggage Space (behind 3rd row)20.2 cu. ft.20.2 cu. ft.20.2 cu. ft.20.2 cu. ft.
Luggage Space (behind 2nd row)43.5 cu. ft.43.5 cu. ft.43.5 cu. ft.43.5 cu. ft.
Luggage Space (behind 1st row)81.7 cu. ft.81.7 cu. ft.81.7 cu. ft.81.7 cu. ft.
Frunk Space3.2 cu. ft.1.8 cu. ft.1.8 cu. ft.1.8 cu. ft.
Frunk Payload Capacity88 cu. ft.44 cu. ft.44 cu. ft.44 cu. ft.
Seating Capacity6/7766
2nd Row Seat TypeCaptain’s chair (6-seater)/Bench (7-seater)BenchCaptain’s chair/Relaxation chairCaptain’s chair/Relaxation chair
Passenger Volume158.8 cu. ft. (2nd row Bench)/160.3 (2nd row Captain’s chair)158.8 cu. ft. (2nd row Bench)160.3 cu. ft. (2nd row Captain’s chair)/157.6 cu. ft. (2nd row Relaxation chair)160.3 cu. ft. (2nd row Captain’s chair)/157.6 cu. ft. (2nd row Relaxation chair)
Headroom (1st row)41.2 in. (w/o sunroof)/39.6 in. (single sunroof)39.6 in. (dual sunroof)39.6 in. (dual sunroof)39.6 in. (dual sunroof)
Headroom (2nd row)39.8 in. (w/o sunroof)/39.8 in. (single sunroof)38.8 in. (dual sunroof)38.8 in. (dual sunroof)38.8 in. (dual sunroof)
Headroom (3rd row)39.5 in. (w/o sunroof)/39.5 in. (single sunroof)39.5 in. (dual sunroof)39.5 in. (dual sunroof)39.5 in. (dual sunroof)
Legroom (1st row)41.4 in.41.4 in.41.4 in.41.4 in.
Legroom (2nd row)42.8 in.42.8 in.42.8 in.42.8 in.
Legroom (3rd row)30.8 in. (2nd row Bench)/32.0 in. (2nd row Captain’s chair)30.8 in. (2nd row Bench)32.0 in. (2nd row Captain’s chair)/29.9 (2nd row Relaxation chair)32.0 in. (2nd row Captain’s chair)/29.9 (2nd row Relaxation chair)
Shoulder Room (1st row)61.1 in.61.1 in.61.1 in.61.1 in.
Shoulder Room (2nd row)60.0 in.60.0 in.60.0 in.60.0 in.
Shoulder Room (3rd row)55.0 in.55.0 in.55.0 in.55.0 in.
Hip Room (1st row)59.4 in.59.4 in.59.4 in.59.4 in.
Hip Room (2nd row)57.9 in.57.9 in.57.9 in.57.9 in.
Hip Room (3rd row)41.9 in.41.9 in.41.9 in.41.9 in.

Additional features

Enhanced Vehicle Control and OTA UpdatesFeature on Demand (FoD) ServicesAdvanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)
Kia aims to reduce recall and campaign costs by leveraging OTA (Over-The-Air) technology in its electric vehicles (EVs). With fewer hardware components and increased software control, Kia plans to offer customers fewer visits to service centers and shorter service periods compared to ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles like the Telluride. OTA updates will enable remote updates of crucial systems like the Vehicle Control Unit, Airbag Control Unit, and Motor Driven Power Steering, enhancing convenience and efficiency.In addition to OTA updates, the production EV9 introduces FoD (Feature on Demand) services, allowing customers to purchase and activate separate individual software functions as needed. In South Korea, customers can access services such as Remote Smart Parking Assist 2 (RSPA 2), additional graphic options for the Digital Pattern Lighting Grille, and ‘Streaming Plus’ video streaming through the Kia Connect Store for a fee. This strategy represents a potential revenue stream for automakers in the era of software-controlled pure-electric vehicles.The EV9 boasts an extensive array of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). Noteworthy features include Advanced Highway Driving Assist (AHDA) and Lane Following Assist 2 (LFA 2), making it the first Kia in North America to offer these technologies. AHDA utilizes LiDAR-based technology to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead and stay centered in the lane. LFA 2 adjusts the vehicle within its lane to ensure a safe side passing distance. Additional ADAS features include Highway Driving Assist 2 (HDA 2), Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA 2), High Beam Assist (HBA), Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Safe Exit Assist (SEA), Safe Exit Warning (SEW), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA), Remote Smart Parking Assist 2 (RSPA 2), and Surround View Monitor (SVM).
Level 3 Autonomous DrivingEV9 GT-line and EV9 GT
The Kia EV9 introduces Level 3 autonomous driving with its Highway Driving Pilot (HDP) feature. HDP enables hands-free driving on highways, with the vehicle capable of operating without driver intervention in select markets. It employs 15 sensors, including two LiDARs, to provide a comprehensive view of the surrounding environment. In South Korea, HDP is operational at speeds of up to 80 km/h (50 mph), marking a significant advancement in Kia’s autonomous technology roadmap.The EV9 GT-line offers a unique interior theme with darker colors and distinctive upholstery to align with its sportier exterior. The upcoming EV9 GT is expected to feature exclusive interior touches and may incorporate a dual-motor powertrain along with a robust 99.8 kWh battery pack. This configuration could potentially result in impressive acceleration, with the ability to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in less than 5 seconds.

Kia is actively embracing cutting-edge technology, focusing on enhancing user experiences, and expanding the capabilities of its electric vehicles. The introduction of OTA updates, FoD services, advanced driver assistance systems, and Level 3 autonomous driving signifies Kia’s commitment to delivering innovative and feature-rich EVs to its customers.

Specifications

E-GMP PlatformPerformance & RangeCharging Capabilities
The Kia EV9 is built upon Hyundai Motor Group’s (HMG) advanced E-GMP platform. This platform primarily utilizes rear-wheel propulsion, channeling power to the rear wheels. However, customers have the option to add a second electric motor to power the front wheels, creating an all-wheel drive (AWD) configuration for improved traction. E-GMP models feature a standardized battery module comprised of pouch-type standard cells, allowing for flexibility in battery module configuration to suit various range requirements.The 2024 Kia EV9 offers a range of performance and range configurations in the U.S., catering to diverse preferences. Standard Range RWD: Equipped with a 215 hp/258 lb.-ft. motor and a 76.1 kWh battery pack, this variant achieves a 0-60 mph acceleration in 7.7 seconds and has a top speed of 118 mph. Expected range: 223 miles. RWD Long Range: Featuring a 201 hp/258 lb.-ft. motor and a 99.8 kWh battery pack, it accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds, with a top speed of 115 mph. Expected range: 300 miles. AWD Configuration: This setup includes two motors and the 99.8 kWh battery pack. In Wind and Land trims, it produces 379 hp and 443 lb.-ft. of torque, accelerating from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds and reaching a top speed of 124 mph. Expected range: up to 270 miles. In the GT-Line trim, it boasts 379 hp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque, achieving 0-60 mph in 5.0 seconds. Expected range: 243 miles.The EV9 supports versatile charging options. When using an AC charger, it charges at 10.9 kW. With a DC charger, the charging capacity varies depending on the battery pack: 236 kW (76.1 kWh) or 215 kW (99.8 kWh). Charging times vary accordingly: – Full charge using an 11 kW charger takes approximately 6 hours and 45 minutes (76.1 kWh unit) or 8 hours and 45 minutes (99.8 kWh unit). – A fast-charging session from 10% to 80% using a 350 kW charger requires about 20 minutes (76.1 kWh battery pack) or 24 minutes (99.8 kWh battery pack). Additionally, the EV9 features a V2L (Vehicle to Load) function, standard in the Land and GT-Line trims. This allows external appliances to be powered using the EV’s battery, providing up to 3.68 kW of electricity. Future plans include a V2X (Vehicle to Everything) function through the Kia Connect Store, potentially enabling power supply from the EV9’s battery pack to the grid or home.
Kia’s E-GMP platform offers flexibility in propulsion and battery configurations, allowing customers to tailor their EV experience to their specific needs. With the introduction of OTA updates and FoD services, the Kia EV9 represents a step toward the future of electric mobility, combining advanced technology with performance and range options to meet diverse demands.The Kia EV9 lineup encompasses various performance levels and ranges, from Standard Range RWD to Long Range RWD and AWD configurations. These options ensure that customers can select the variant that best suits their preferences and driving requirements.The EV9’s charging capabilities provide convenience and flexibility. Whether using AC or DC chargers, drivers can efficiently recharge their vehicle, and the V2L function enhances versatility by powering external devices. Future developments, such as V2X functionality, further enhance the potential applications of the EV9’s battery, promising a forward-looking EV experience.
Aspect\SpecificationEV9 LightEV9 WindEV9 LandEV9 GT-Line
Drivetrain LayoutRWDAWDAWDAWD
Power215 hp (Standard Range)/201 hp (Long Range)379 hp (FoD off) / 379 hp (FoD
on)
379 hp (FoD off) / 379 hp (FoD
on)
379 hp
Torque258 lb.-ft. (Standard Range)/258 lb.-ft. (Long Range)443 lb.-ft. (FoD off)/516 lb.-ft.
(FoD on)
443 lb.-ft. (FoD off)/516 lb.-ft.
(FoD on)
516 lb.-ft.
0-60 mph Acceleration Time7.7 sec. (Standard Range)/8.8 sec. (Long Range)5.7 sec. (FoD off)/5.0 sec.
(FoD on)
5.7 sec. (FoD off)/5.0 sec.
(FoD on)
5.0 sec.
Top Speed118 mph115 mph124 mph124 mph
Battery Pack77.8 (Standard Range)/99.8 kWh (Long Range)99.8 kWh99.8 kWh99.8 kWh
Range (Targeted)223 mi (Standard Range)/300 mi (Long Range)Up to 270 miUp to 270 mi243 mi
Max. AC Charging Power10.5 kW10.5 kW10.5 kW10.5 kW
Lowest AC Charging Time6h 45m8h 45m8h 45m8h 45m
Max. DC Charging Power236 kW215 kW215 kW215 kW
Lowest DC Charging Time (10-80% SoC)20 minutes24 minutes24 minutes24 minutes

Driving Impressions

Kia recently organized a global media drive for the EV9 in South Korea. It’s worth noting that the U.S.-spec EV9 will exhibit some variations, particularly with a firmer suspension setup. However, the South Korean-spec EV9, available for test drives in its home country, has garnered mostly positive feedback from testers.

While it may not be considered an electrifying and thrilling EV, the true excitement is expected to come with the GT variant. Nevertheless, the EV9 demonstrates commendable handling capabilities and proves itself more than capable of managing the demands typically placed on a three-row SUV.

As expected for a vehicle of this size and shape, the EV9 does exhibit a degree of body roll, but reports suggest it remains within reasonable limits. The steering wheel offers a satisfying weight, particularly when engaged in Sport mode, while Eco and Normal modes, which are typically active, provide a lighter steering feel. The dual-motor powertrain delivers ample power, and the overall handling of the EV9 is praiseworthy.

Considering its substantial build, the EV9 does convey a sense of weight when applying the brakes. However, it should be noted that the stopping power meets adequate standards, as reported by international media testers.

Kia EV9 Price & Release Date

EuropeUSAS.KoreaAustralia
Kia dealers in Europe are now accepting bookings for the EV9. In Sweden, the GT-Line trim variant of the EV9 can be ordered for SEK 869,900 (USD 78,799). While this price may seem high for a Kia, the EV9 is far from an ordinary offering from the brand.In the United States, the EV9 represents a significant milestone for Kia, developed over a 44-month period. Prices in the U.S. market are anticipated to start around USD 55,000 and could reach nearly USD 75,000. Customer deliveries are slated to commence in Q4 2023. Kia’s Q2 2023 report confirmed plans to begin mass production of the EV9 for the U.S. in the third quarter (July-September 2023), with expectations of hitting the market in the fourth quarter (October-December 2023).South Korea has displayed strong demand for the EV9. Pre-orders commenced on May 3, 2023, and within a mere 12 days, Kia received an impressive 10,367 reservations. The majority of initial demand, accounting for 60%, originated from individual customers, particularly those in their 30s and 40s. Among corporate customers, 79% preferred the six-seater configuration of the EV9. Deliveries of the EV9 in South Korea commenced in June 2023, attracting a significant number of new buyers to the Kia brand in its home market. This launch is also expected to influence many hesitant American customers to reconsider their perceptions of the brand, with 55% of EV9 pre-orders in South Korea coming from first-time Kia shoppers.Kia Motors Australia’s Chief Operating Officer, Damien Meredith, confirmed that the EV9 will enter the Australian market in Q4 2023. Approximately 400 units of the Korean electric SUV have been allocated for Australia for the year 2023, a significant step towards Kia’s electric presence in the country.
Kia dealerships in Europe are now open for EV9 bookings, offering the GT-Line trim for SEK 869,900 in Sweden. This reflects the premium positioning of the EV9 within the Kia lineup.The USA eagerly anticipates the arrival of the EV9, which has been in development for 44 months. Expected to be priced between USD 55,000 and USD 75,000, the EV9 is set to redefine Kia’s offerings in the American market. Deliveries are scheduled to commence in Q4 2023, following the start of mass production in Q3 2023.South Korea has shown strong interest in the EV9, with an impressive 10,367 reservations received within just 12 days of pre-orders opening. Both individual and corporate customers are embracing the EV9, particularly favoring the six-seater configuration. Deliveries began in June 2023, attracting new customers to Kia and influencing perceptions of the brand in its home market.The Australian market eagerly awaits the arrival of the EV9, scheduled for launch in Q4 2023. Kia Motors Australia has allocated around 400 units for 2023, marking a significant entry into the Australian electric vehicle landscape.

Production & U.S. allocation

S.Korea ProductionU.S. Production & Battery Integration
Production of the Kia EV9 occurs at AutoLand Gwangmyeong Plant 1 in South Korea. Notably, this facility is also responsible for manufacturing the Kia Carnival and Kia K9.Production of the EV9 will extend to the United States, with assembly taking place at Kia’s West Point, Georgia facility, commencing in 2024. An extensive upgrade of the plant, involving an investment exceeding USD 200 million, is underway to prepare it for EV9 assembly.
According to a report from Korea Economy published on August 20, 2023, Kia is temporarily suspending production of the Carnival at the end of the month. Production is expected to resume after the minivan undergoes a facelift in November 2023. This temporary adjustment aims to free up production capacity to accommodate increased EV9 output.Kia has scheduled the start of EV9 production in the U.S. for Q2 2024. Consequently, locally produced units may align with the 2025 model year update, expected in the summer of 2024. This localization is set to enhance eligibility for a federal tax credit, potentially providing at least USD 3,750 in savings for American buyers.
Kia has ambitious production plans for the EV9, targeting the manufacture of 50,000 units in 2023, as reported by Hankyung on May 29, 2023. Presently, the facility produces approximately 140 units per day. Importantly, the company intends to export a substantial portion of this production, with 70% (equivalent to 35,000 units) destined for North American and European markets.Kia’s plans for U.S. production include a deep integration into the manufacturing process, potentially extending to the cell level. These cells are expected to be sourced from Hyundai Motor Group’s (HMG) joint venture cell plants. HMG has two such plants, one in partnership with SK On and the other with LG Energy Solutions, both jointly owned at a 50-50 ratio.
Hyundai Mobis will play a crucial role in assembling battery packs using cells from both joint venture plants and supplying them to HMG’s U.S. vehicle manufacturing facilities. The HMG-SK On cell factory will be located in Bartow County, close to all three of HMG’s U.S. vehicle plants (HMMA, KaGA, and HMGMA). It is expected to have an annual production capacity of 35 GWh, enough to support the production of 300,000 EVs. The total expected investment for this factory is USD 5 billion, with production anticipated to commence in the second half of 2025.
The HMG-LG Energy Solutions cell factory will be adjacent to the HMGMA vehicle plant, boasting an annual production capacity of 30 GWh. This capacity is sufficient to power 300,000 EVs and comes with an investment of USD 4.3 billion. Production at this facility is expected to begin at the end of 2025.
The U.S. government’s Clean Vehicle Credit program imposes certain requirements for EV eligibility, including the sourcing of critical minerals such as lithium. As of 2023, at least 40% of the value of applicable critical minerals must be extracted or processed in the U.S. or a country with which the U.S. has a free trade agreement. This percentage will progressively increase over the years, reaching 50% in 2024, 60% in 2025, 70% in 2026, and 80% in 2027 and beyond, in compliance with the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

Defects

EV9 Sales in S.KoreaRecall Due to Critical Defect
Despite strong market response and excitement among customers in South Korea, Kia faced challenges in fulfilling demand for the EV9. In June 2023, the company sold 1,334 units, followed by 1,251 units in July 2023. This could be due to production capacity constraints or other factors.Unfortunately, Kia encountered a significant setback as several thousand units of the EV9 were affected by a critical defect. The issue stems from a design error in the software controlling the rear motor, leading to communication failure. This defect resulted in an abrupt cut-off of power supply to the rear motor during operation, causing the EV9 to come to a sudden stop while driving. Such incidents, especially on highways, could potentially lead to multiple collisions.
It appears that Kia either struggled to keep up with production to meet the demand or faced a significant number of customer reservation cancellations. However, it’s likely that production capacity limitations contributed to the challenge.The gravity of the situation led to a vehicle recall by South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The recall affected a total of 8,394 units of the EV9, including 2,583 units that had already been sold and 5,811 unsold units. These vehicles were manufactured between May 8, 2023, and July 28, 2023.
In addition to the communication failure issue, there were reports of unusual shaking of the side glass, as reported by local media. While there hasn’t been an official announcement regarding this defect, it’s an additional concern that Kia needs to address. It is hoped that Kia will rectify all these problems before the U.S. launch and ensure that American-built units are free from such issues.

Kia EV strategy in the U.S.

Kia is making significant strides in its commitment to electric vehicles (EVs) in the American market. According to Eric Watson, Vice President – Sales Operations, Kia America, the company has ambitious plans to launch one new Kia EV every year in the United States until the end of the decade. This strategic move is part of Kia’s broader plan to bolster its EV lineup, with the aim of offering a total of eight EV models by 2029 in the American market.

Kia America has set ambitious targets for EV adoption, aiming to transition 30% of its total sales to electric vehicles by the end of the decade, with an even more substantial goal of 50% in the early part of the next decade. Achieving such high conversion rates will necessitate a fundamental reevaluation of Kia’s marketing and sales strategies to align with the growing EV market.

To support its EV expansion plans, Kia America is actively developing a network of showrooms and service centers specifically designed to cater to electric vehicles, ensuring customers have access to the necessary infrastructure and support for their electric Kia vehicles.

On a global scale, Kia is also committed to expanding its EV portfolio. By 2027, the company intends to offer a total of 14 electric vehicles worldwide. This diverse lineup will encompass various vehicle types, including two new electric truck models, one designed exclusively as an EV and another strategically converted from an internal combustion engine (ICE) pickup truck.

In the near future, Kia enthusiasts can anticipate the arrival of exciting EV models. Following the launches of the EV9 and EV5 this year, Kia is set to introduce the EV4 SUV and the EV3 sedan on a global scale next year. These innovative additions to the Kia EV family showcase the brand’s dedication to electrification and its commitment to providing customers with a wide range of electrified options.

Kia EV9 FAQs

When is the Kia EV9 expected to be released?

The Kia EV9 is scheduled to be available for sale in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Which upcoming models will compete with the Kia EV9?

The Kia EV9 is expected to face competition from rivals such as the Hyundai Ioniq 7, Vinfast VF 9, and the Ford Explorer Electric.

What is the estimated price range for the Kia EV9?

Anticipate the starting price of the Kia EV9 to be approximately USD 55,000 in the U.S. market.

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