Kia EV9: Concept for big, boxy electric SUV debuts at 2021 LA Auto Show

Kia has only just launched the 2022 EV6 but the small crossover is just one of 11 electric vehicles the automaker will have its lineup by the end of 2026.

Next in the pipeline is a rugged SUV of some sort, previewed on Wednesday at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show by the Concept EV9.

For its dedicated EVs, Kia is using a naming strategy in which the prefix “EV” is joined by a number representing the vehicle's positioning in the lineup. Thus the Concept EV9 likely previews a vehicle that will sit at or near the top of Kia's electric range.

The concept, and likely the production model it will spawn, is based on Hyundai Motor Group's E-GMP platform. The platform features an 800-volt electrical system, bi-directional charging, and, in the EV6 GT, offers up a meaty 576 hp and 546 lb-ft torque.

The only specs for the Concept EV9 that we have is a range of up to 300 miles and the ability to charge the battery from 10-80% in less than 30 minutes. The rapid charge is possible when using a 350-kilowatt charger.

We also have dimensions. They include a length of 194 inches, a width of 81 inches and a height of 70 inches, which makes the concept just a tad smaller than the Kia Telluride. The wheelbase is 122 inches, which is about four inches shorter than the wheelbase of the Hyundai Seven crossover concept also on show in L.A. The Seven is also based on the E-GMP platform and confirmed to spawn a production model in 2024, likely called an Ioniq 7. It's a good bet the production EV9 will bow at this time, as the two vehicles are likely to be closely related.

With the Concept EV9, Kia is also demonstrating how a rugged SUV designed for lifestyle-oriented buyers can be made more efficient. Naturally there's no grille, which Kia said has greatly improved the aerodynamics. And further enhancing aero efficiency are retractable roof rails that only emerge when required, as well as side mirrors that have been replaced by small camera units. A solar panel has also been added to the hood, to help take advantage of sunlight when the vehicle is parked outside.

The interior features three rows of seats and has been designed to be flexible. For instance, the front seats can be flipped to face the other passengers, and the middle row can be folded flat to create a table. The dash sports a yoke-style steering wheel, and a 27-inch display spanning roughly half of its length.

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