ON THE ROAD – IAN LYNAS PREVIEWS THE KIA EV9
On a recent visit to Germany, my mission was not the customary motoring venture, but to visit Leitz-Park the home of Leica cameras. Based in Frankfurt I took time to explore how the EV is received in the largest financial hub in Europe. To my surprise I discovered a great absence of EVs; speaking with a number of people, the reason a poor infrastructure re charging; a problem all too common in parts of our island.
Almost every day a new EV is announced and like so many manufacturers Kia continues to strengthen its place on the electric highway with vehicles, the EV9 among the new recruits. This newcomer is the next step along the electric highway from the South Korean carmaker; a vehicle with a pronounced SUV identity, which has been inspired by the company’s Opposite United design philosophy, combining contrasting qualities of nature and modernity. The E-GMP flat-floor EV architecture amplifies interior space with third row seating, enhancing comfort while exuding a sense of high technology. The arrival of the EV9 is a pivotal step forward for Kia in the journey towards sustainable mobility solutions.
The South Korean carmaker’s .designers strive to create vehicles with unprecedented visual appeal. The result is a vehicle that effortlessly combines an undoubted aura of rugged capability for all conditions, with the serene calmness of a sophisticated EV that paves new paths for future electric SUV design. The front of the EV9 is denoted by simple clear-cut lines and body surfaces, which exude confidence, clarity and calmness in equal measure. Accentuated by the ‘Digital Pattern Lighting Grille’ and striking vertical headlamps, the newcomer’s signature ‘Digital Tiger Face’ imparts a visionary and futuristic look and feel. The Digital Tiger Face features two clusters of small cube lamps within the bodywork adjacent to each headlamp and the EV9’s innovative Star Map LED daytime running lights creates a new illumination experience and delivers a sophisticated animated lighting pattern that will denote Kia’s Digital Tiger Face for the brand’s future EV models. The side profile effortlessly combines a strong and indisputable SUV identity with exceptional aerodynamic efficiency. Dynamic triangular fender structures and highly pronounced geometric wheel arches combine with the fuselage body, unifying the polygonal elements into a cohesive structure that presents a determined look. Flush door handles and a tapered back roofline gives a sense of smooth and efficient motion. At the rear, the simple, clean lines of the tailgate, which are elegantly detailed by the slim rear lights that mirror the design of those at the front, further reflect the EV9’s strong and confident stance. Both six- and seven-seat formats will be on offer and Kia captured feedback from families to evaluate seating configurations and features to ensure the EV9 delivers equality of space, comfort and experience for all occupants without placing all of its focus on the driver. Occupants sitting in the first and second-row seats can simultaneously recline their seats to relax and rest when the vehicle is charging. The seats in the second row can be effortlessly swivelled 180 degrees so that occupants can interact with those sitting in the third row and these seats also offer cup holders and charging points for mobile devices.
Throughout the spacious, light, airy cabin, the EV9 embodies an elegantly simple, premium quality, exceptionally user-friendly design and the open, floating panoramic dashboard extends from the steering wheel to the vehicle’s centre. Two 31.2cm (12.3in) touch screens integrated with one 12.7cm (5in) segment display improve the digital experience, offering effortless control of the vehicle’s functions and ensuring physical buttons are kept to a minimum. The centre console is equipped with ample storage options, including a spacious compartment located at its base and its doors are further designed to add to the overall refinement of the interior space. The EV9’s extended display high-definition audio visual, navigation and telematics screen creates a rich and immersive experience. It enhances occupants’ ability to engage and interact with the digital world seamlessly and beneath the AVNT screen, an array of hidden type touch buttons provides a start/stop function along with AVNT and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning control. I look forward to bringing drive impressions of this futuristic vehicle at some future date.
I now am contacted on a regular basis by drivers frustrated with the lack of public charging facilities in their areas. This is a question that also must be on the minds of the manufacturers as they strive to bring the latest models to the market.