The Concept EV9 showcases Kia’s rationale on the SUV form for the sustainable mobility era. More than just a show car, the Concept EV9 fuses together aesthetics that inspire and are thought-provoking, an interior that redefines the parameters of what the inside space of an SUV should be, and a next-generation all-electric zero-emissions powertrain. It’s a prelude to what’s coming next from Kia as the brand trailblazes the road to sustainable mobility.
“The Kia Concept EV9 is another important marker for us in what has been an incredible journey so far for the new Kia brand. Having made our intentions clear – to become a global leader in sustainable mobility solutions – we have had to carefully assess how the near- to medium-term future will impact every type of vehicle and model. This includes the SUV,” said Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design Centre.
“In the Concept EV9, we are showcasing how the SUV of today can evolve to play a fundamental role in the sustainable mobility era. The nucleus of the Concept EV9 is a cutting-edge exterior design, a contemporary and innovative tech-based interior space and an advanced all-electric powertrain. And these are the core principles that will shape our future SUV creations.”
A production version of Concept EV9 is now confirmed for Europe in 2023 and will build on the success that the acclaimed EV6 crossover has achieved since its launch last year.
Bold for Nature
Concept EV9 represents a sustainable, eco-friendly and mindful future for the SUV. Created on Kia’s advanced Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) – the Concept EV9 is a high-tech, flex lifestyle vehicle that is powered by a zero-emissions all-electric powertrain.
It blends a stunning exterior profile with a visionary interior space that is further accentuated with state-of-the-art tech. The incredible aesthetics of the Concept EV9 – both inside and out – have been carefully honed from Opposites United, Kia’s abstract design philosophy.
Taking inspiration from the ‘Bold for Nature’ design pillar of Opposites United, Concept EV9 embodies an adventurous, outgoing and recreational form with its rugged and upright stance. From the outside, such proportions help outline a three-row SUV footprint, signifying a vehicle that is highly capable, practical and ready for action.
These proportions – along with dimensions of 4,930mm length, 2,055mm width, 1,790mm height and a wheelbase of 3,100mm – give the Concept EV9 an aesthetically rare but visually stunning quadrilateral-like on-road presence.
From the side, this modernistic angular profile affords the all-electric SUV a simple but distinctive outline that is deeply rooted in the ‘Bold for Nature’ pillar of Opposites United. 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.
Contrasting with its muscular silhouette, soft and welcoming volumes across the body of the Concept EV9 are offset with sharp and neatly edged elements. Solid rock geometry is expressed through a sophisticated design distribution of mass, while the volume of the soft fuselage cabin has been made to feel welcoming and approachable.
A modern Tiger Face
Kia’s iconic Tiger Face has been reinterpreted for the sustainable mobility era and is showcased on the Concept EV9.
The new Digital Tiger Face benefits from all-electric vehicles not needing the traditional grille that internal combustion engine vehicles rely upon, resulting in the Concept EV9 having a full body coloured front that clearly conveys sustainability values.
The new 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 astral-inspired form 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 map pattern inspired the Kia design team to create standout vertical Daytime Running Lamps (DRLs) for both the front and rear of the car, in-turn creating a unique signature look from start to finish.
The opportunities presented with a re-styled grille and Digital Tiger Face have resulted in a new air vent design that reduces frontal mass and greatly improves aerodynamics.
The hood vent duct area is utilised as a solar panel, helping to regain some of the electric energy that the Concept EV9 uses. This gives BEV owners an alternative source of energy when they are not close to a charging station.
Further enhancing aero efficiency are retractable roof rails that close inward into the roof of the Concept EV9 when not in use, creating smooth airflow over the vehicle. When needed, the roof rails can be raised by a simple touch of a button, further emphasising the all-action and all-go attitude of the Concept EV9. A next-gen camera monitoring system that replaces the conventional wing mirrors further improves aerodynamic properties while enhancing the spatial awareness of the driver.
At the rear of the Concept EV9 is a compelling yet beatifically delicate triangular d-pillar treatment that acts as a visual focal point and resonates with the SUV’s angular elements. The innovative d-pillar design also creates a unique Daylight Opening (DLO) signature.
The machined 22-inch wheels further add to the geometric appearance and robust nature of the Concept EV9. A triangular aero design piece controls the airflow around the wheel and creates a visual contrast to the circular nature of the wheel to fully express the Opposites United design philosophy, making sure a balance in harmony extends into every element.
To stay in tune with the environment – and tapping back into the ‘Bold for Nature’ design pillar – the Concept EV9 has an all-encompassing DLO panoramic sky roof. This not only offers passengers relaxing views from above but also opens the potential for positive impact on wellness and mood.
The beautiful sleek glass structure creates a direct connection to the outside environment, be that sunshine flooding into the cabin on a blue-sky day, the tranquil sound of rain during a weekend drive in autumn or the calming feel of the luminous glow of moonlight and the stars on a cloudless evening.
Reimagined interior space
Against a wellbeing, wellness and mindfulness backdrop, the Concept EV9 has been carefully crafted to offer the driver and passengers a transformative interior space as the journey experience evolves. Mirroring the exterior design, the interior of the Concept EV9 has also been greatly influenced by the ‘Bold for Nature’ design pillar of Opposites United.
Inside the all-electric SUV is a design undertaking that integrates the qualities of nature 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 functionality features.
The sense of ‘tomorrow’ extends from the visionary cabin design flowing into the steering wheel, which has been reinterpreted as a pop-up steering pad that is an extension of – and integrated and harmonised within – the interior space.
The still of water
The Concept EV9 features a design inspired by taking note of the simplicity and perfection of nature, and how it contrasts and works together in perfect harmony. As a result, the Concept EV9 took further inspiration from the ‘Water Element’ of Opposites United, taking on characteristics that relate to serenity, calmness and wellbeing. For example, the exterior colour mimics the expansive depth of the ocean; this is then balanced by a soothing and clear blue sky that radiates throughout the interior.
The ‘Water Element’ ethos also came to the fore when the Kia design team was looking at sustainable and ecological materials for use in the Concept EV9. Recycled fishnets have been used to help create the flooring of the vehicle and seating fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles and recycled wool fibres. Also, vegan leather, which is far more ethical and sustainable compared to conventional animal leather, was used throughout the interior space. Kia plans to gradually reduce the use of animal leather in all its vehicles.
Active, Pause, Enjoy
The interior of the Concept EV9 explores new perspectives as the journey experience evolves. In this respect, the all-electric SUV has three forward-thinking interior modes that capture different journey situations and requirements.
Active Mode is when the Concept EV9 is on the move, making sure the driver and passengers have an optimal driving experience from within the all-electric SUV.
The two other modes relate to when the Concept EV9 is not moving.
Pause Mode modifies the interior space to be more akin to a first-class lounge, giving occupants the opportunity to directly interact with each other while benefiting from the light streaming in from the wide panoramic roof. 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, completing the first-class lounge arrangement.
The second stationary mode is Enjoy Mode, which opens the interior into a downtime breakout space by turning around the three-row seat configuration. In this mode, the tailgate opens, giving all occupants the opportunity to connect with the outside environment and gaze ahead and beyond the vehicle while sitting comfortably inside the all-electric SUV.