Kia recently made two important announcements about the EV9. United States pricing has been announced, and the EV9 will be the first vehicle to get plug & charge capability in Europe, followed by other Kia vehicles. Let’s take a look at the details of both announcements!
EV9 US Pricing Announced
Kia America just announced the base price for the highly anticipated 2024 Kia EV9, its first three-row electric SUV. Starting at $54,900, the EV9 Light RWD model offers impressive features. It includes DC fast-charging, spacious seating for up to seven, luxurious SynTex leather-trimmed seats, sleek 19-inch alloy wheels, and an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with heating and ventilation. The EV9 is powered by a seamless permanent magnet synchronous electric motor, delivering 215 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque.
“We knew we had to get the EV9 pricing right and we believe today’s announcement will be a wake-up call to the industry,” said Steven Center, EVP & COO, Kia America. “A well-equipped three-row SUV EV doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive. It should offer the perfect balance of standard features, the ability to fast charge and be equipped with the technology savvy EV buyers are looking for. The EV9 provides all of this, and we can’t wait for it to go on sale later this year.”
The price announced is only for the cheapest version of the vehicle, with pricing announcements for higher-end EV9s to come later. The EV9 will initially be constructed in South Korea, but will be relocated to the advanced facility in West Point, Georgia, in 2024. Pricing details for the Light Long Range, Wind, Land, and GT-Line models will be disclosed at a later date.
The all-electric EV9 is a flagship SUV that combines ruggedness with sophistication. Its boxy, triangular design language and long wheelbase give it a distinctive appearance. The interior features a modern and simple aesthetic, with a floating elliptical-shaped dash and a wide panoramic display. The EV9 also offers a blend of futuristic haptic switches and traditional physical controls for practicality.
The back package also comes with some impressive technology for being “bottom of the barrel.” The EV9 by Kia offers a next-generation Connected Car Navigation Cockpit system with faster processing and higher fidelity. It includes features like quick controls, navigation-based charging guidance, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and wireless phone charging. Additionally, the EV9 introduces Digital Key 2 technology, allowing virtual vehicle key access through compatible smart devices. Safety features include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with enhanced detection capabilities for vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and more.
Plug&Charge In Europe
Kia is introducing Plug&Charge to its electric vehicles in Europe. Initially available with the EV9, this charging feature will gradually be extended to upcoming Kia electrified models. With Plug&Charge, Kia customers can effortlessly connect their EV to any compatible public charging station. The charging process is fully automated, eliminating the need for additional identification or intermediate steps. By embracing Plug&Charge technology, Kia provides its customers with the latest advancements in fast, secure, and convenient charging.
“Plug&Charge is a very convenient technology that offers decreased manual handling, resulting in a faster, smoother process for our customers,” says Sjoerd Knipping, Vice President of Marketing and Product at Kia Europe. “By offering our customers electric vehicles as well as the most advanced charging solutions, we’re smoothing the way for the switch to sustainable mobility, as well as proving ourselves to be serious contenders in the highly competitive EV market in Europe.”
Plug&Charge is an innovative identification method that allows vehicles to seamlessly communicate with compatible charging stations, eliminating the need for an app, RFID, or credit card for payment. By automating the exchange of digital certificates, this secure service simplifies the charging process for customers, ensuring a smooth and efficient experience.
Kia says that Plug&Charge simplifies the charging process while maintaining the benefits of the Kia Charge app, which offers navigation, real-time updates on charging fees and availability, and filter options for plug type, charging speed, and access type. This technology informs EV drivers about available public EV charging infrastructure efficiently. Upon completion of charging, customers can disconnect and drive away, with payment added to their monthly bill depending on the contract.
“Together with our partners such as DCS (mobility provider), Hubject (Plug&Charge service provider), and several network partners like IONITY, we at Kia are using all available technology to improve customer experience,” concluded Knipping.
A Note On Tesla’s NACS
While most automakers have announced a switch to NACS, Kia and Hyundai vehicles would be challenging to put on Tesla’s Supercharging network. The superior 800-volt system Kia’s EVs use can charge much faster than most Tesla vehicles, as Tesla’s chargers are only able to deliver 500 volts maximum. This means that going to the Supercharger is a step backwards for most Kia EVs.
Kia may eventually figure out a better solution for a NACS implementation, and other charging networks will likely improve drastically with the latest round of federal funding meant just to fix busted chargers. But, for now, we’re seeing a limited announcement from Kia on charging capabilities for the new EV9.
Final Note On Kia EV9 US Pricing
When it comes to US pricing, it’s a little disappointing to see that the vehicle will start in the $50,000 range. It makes sense for the earlier EVs that aren’t compliance cars to cost more, and for manufacturers to work their way down the market, but I’d like to see more affordable options emerge in the coming years.
Featured image provided by Kia.
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