I recently wrote about Hyundai and Kia landing a bunch of awards for their EVs. Now, Kia has won a few more.
First of all, there’s the Platform Beyond Vehicle business strategy Kia rolled out at CES 2024 earlier this month, which included 5 concept EVs. This won Kia a “Top Tech of CES 2024” award from Digital Trends. “Kia has been one of the most influential companies in terms of the transition to EVs. The PBV Concept shows it’s ready to also take a fresh step into a futuristic vision of what vehicles can be,” commented Digital Trends. “Modular and easy-to-build layouts, external informational displays, and the incorporation of accessibility features are all the little touches that make the PBV Concept so interesting.”
One of the concept EVs from the PBV rollout, the PV5, also won the “Best Car” award from The Verge at CES 2024. “Alongside the Concept PV1 and Concept PV7, Kia presented several different variants, including Basic, Van, High Roof, and Chassis Cab,” Kia notes. “Thanks to Kia’s ‘Easy Swap’ technology, a range of body modules can be quickly and simply interchanged on the PV5 chassis cab to repurpose the vehicle to suit customers’ needs.”
Interestingly, Kia built up for this CES and made sure it came to play. The company had not attended CES for five years before this one. Overall, Hyundai Motor Group had its biggest overall presentation ever.
Outside of CES, the Kia EV9 just won the 2023 Good Design Award in Transportation category, and the EV9’s ‘Ki’ infotainment system won the 2023 Good Design Award in Interactive Media category. The EV9 just racks up award after award. “Kia has claimed two prestigious accolades at the Good Design Awards 2023, recognizing the brand’s dedication to emotive and engaging design as expressed through its transformative ‘Opposites United’ philosophy,” Kia writes. The EV6 was the first model to come out of that “Opposites United” philosophy. These models do indeed stand out when you see them on the road, like their cousins, the Hyundai IONIQ 5 and IONIQ 6. By 2027, there are supposed to be 15 fully electric Kia models based on the Opposites United framework.
This is how Kia explains the Opposites United philosophy in action in the EV9: “In the case of the EV9’s design, this is denoted by simple, clear-cut lines and surfaces which exude confidence, clarity, and calmness in equal measure, as well as a signature ‘Digital Tiger Face,’ which delivers a visionary and futuristic look and feel.
“Kia’s designers strove to bestow the seven-seat EV9 with unprecedented visual appeal, uniquely harmonizing the agility of an EV with the robustness of an SUV and increasing space utilization with a sleek profile. They also implemented a rugged yet refined exterior design by utilizing the visual symbolism of polygons and triangles.”
“With the EV9 we aimed to create a fresh design which not only broke new ground, but instinctively communicated the purity, practicality and safety of the vehicle within,” said Karim Habib, Executive Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design.“This is in keeping with Kia’s overarching design philosophy, which seeks to empower users to make the most of their lives by providing exciting products, innovative in-car spaces, and convenient services that inspire customers and free them to pursue the activities that they enjoy most.”
As far as the infotainment award goes, we are in a funny phase in which some infotainment systems seems to be stuck years in the past, some try too boisterously to jump into the future and overdo it, and previous few get it just right. The EV9’s system seems to be in that latter category.
“This diagonal edge promotes a distinctive and unified appearance while maintaining clarity and cognition. Electric vehicle (EV) charging and vehicle to load (V2L) user experience (UX) is designed to be more intuitive and readable with a panoramic display-optimized UI configuration, making it easier for users to recognize signal transitions and contextualize charging and discharging information. A graphic style has also been unearthed that not only aligns with Kia’s brand aspirations but also complements the vehicle’s design, employing eye-friendly, recognizable colors to round out a unique and contemporary brand experience for Kia,” the company writes.
On the back of all of these awards and looking to stir up more demand for its EVs, Kia says that it is prepping a Super Bowl ad for 2024. The company previously launched buzz for the EV6 in the US with some great Super Bowl ads featuring a robotic dog. It was adorable and fun. It’s interesting to see the company go back to that big ad Super Bowl strategy. The Super Bowl LVIII ads will be up to 60 seconds in length. Naturally, the ad will feature the EV9.
Kia ends that announcement with a little preview of what it might be highlighting as well as a note about one (or two) more awards Kia’s EV have won. “The EV9 was recently named North American Utility Vehicle of the Year™ by the North American Car of the Year (NACTOY) jury. This is the third occasion in five years that the NACTOY jury has named a Kia vehicle as its top choice in the category, and the second win for a Kia electric vehicle (EV). Later this year, the Kia EV9 is expected to be assembled in the U.S. at Kia’s manufacturing facility in West Point, Georgia.” As you probably noted at the end there, Kia is also pointing out that the EV9 will be manufactured — to some extent — in the USA later this year. Perhaps it will also be sourcing its batteries from a US facility so that the EV9 can qualify for the $7,500 federal EV tax credit that it currently doesn’t qualify for. The EV9 doesn’t even qualify for the 50%, or $3,750, tax credit, so if Kia could rearrange things manufacturing wise in order to cut $7,500 off the price of the EV9, imagine what that could do for the large EV model, especially on top of all of those awards it is racking up.