Shape of things to come

While we await the imminent arrival of Kia’s well-received EV6 all-electric vehicle, the Korean manufacturer stunned the motoring world once again at the recent Los Angeles Moto Show, with the Concept EV9 all-electric SUV.

Seen as the clearest signal yet from Kia as to what might be the next addition to its new-generation EV line-up, the Concept EV9 was developed and optimised on the company’s advanced Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP).

Kia says the EV9’s bold exterior proportions and design were inspired by nature. The concept vehicle uses upcycled materials developed from waste deposited into the marine ecosystem. Recycled fishnets have been used to help create the flooring and the seat fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles and wool fibres.

The Concept EV9 embodies an adventurous and recreational form with a rugged, upright stance. From the outside, these proportions help outline a three-row SUV footprint, signifying a vehicle that is highly capable and practical. A low gravity side body creates maximum and instant impact with the sharp crystalline inspired fender volumes that sit high up on the vehicle. This low side body profiling effect makes the fender volumes of the Concept EV9 pop out, resulting in a strong SUV stance.

The Concept EV9 measures 4,930mm in length, 1,790mm in height and is 2,055mm wide, with a wheelbase of just over three metres. The concept combines its stunning SUV form with state-of-the-art engineering. Although only concept at this stage, Kia says the all-electric SUV delivers driving range of up to 480km and features next-generation ultra-fast charging technology with a 350kW charger that allows its advanced battery electric powertrain to replenish energy from 10% to 80% in 20-30 minutes.

At the vehicle’s frontend, Kia’s iconic ‘Tiger Face’ facade has been reinterpreted for the BEV era and is showcased on the Concept EV9. The new Digital Tiger Face benefits from the fact that all-electric vehicles don’t need the traditional grille that ICE vehicles rely upon, resulting in the Concept EV9 having a full body coloured front that clearly conveys sustainability values.

The new BEV-focused grille houses an intricate star cloud pattern display that is completely hidden behind the body panel of the Concept EV9 when not in use. This stylish lightshow further highlights the high-tech nature of the all-electric SUV while still paying homage to the natural world. Sequential patterns create a ‘welcome light’ for the driver and function to appropriately position lights during driving. The star cloud pattern inspired the Kia design team to create standout vertical Daytime Running Lamps for both the front and rear of the car, in turn creating a unique signature look from start to finish.

Another big talking point for the Concept EV9 is its interior. Kia says the Concept EV9 has been carefully crafted to offer the driver and passengers a transformative interior space as the journey experience evolves.

Inside the all-electric SUV is a design undertaking that integrates the qualities of nature, movement, and stillness as part of a scenic, first-class lounge. An interactive 27-inch ultra-wide display connects the Concept EV9 from the real-world to the virtual one, while serving as the nerve centre for all driver and passenger requirements, including media, climate control and comfort functions.

A visionary approach to interior design also extends to the steering wheel. The automotive industry today treats the steering wheel like a separate product – a total standalone subsystem; the Concept EV9, however, takes a radically different approach in which the pop-up steering pad is an extension of – and integrated and harmonised within – the interior space.

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