Kia Teases Flexible Concept EV9 Electric SUV

Kia revealed the first official images of the Kia Concept EV9, an all-electric SUV concept that the automaker will officially unveil at the upcoming AutoMobility LA auto show. (Kia)

Kia's latest all-electric vehicle (EV) concept is a high-tech SUV with a flexible interior. Kia teased the Concept EV9 today by releasing a handful of digital renderings before taking the wraps off the real thing at AutoMobility LA in Los Angeles next week.

The angular Concept EV9 appears to be a chance for Kia designers to further experiment with a battery-electric powertrain's possibilities for SUV drivers. The large cabin is more of an "adaptive and smart lounge space," the company said. A rectangular yoke has replaced the steering wheel. A vertical screen that stretches from the driver's side to the vehicle's center dominates the thin, horizontal dashboard. The center console is similarly elegant and minimalistic, as is common in concept vehicles.

Outside, strong lines give the Concept EV9 a chunky presence, one that would likely draw the eye driving down a city street at night. Or, as Kia put it in its announcement, the design hints at "a contemporary recreational treatment that's brought to the fore by an upright and capable stylistic stance."

Sometimes, future EV concepts aren't just about new vehicles that automakers can sell to their customers, which may be the case with the Concept EV9. Kia said the "highly conceptual" cabin will be able to somehow adjust "as the experience of the journey evolves." The automaker also said the SUV "embodies the company’s commitment to becoming a sustainable mobility solutions provider," which leaves the door open to many possibilities regarding how Kia might deploy this vehicle.

In the United States, Kia currently sells the Niro EV, a crossover utility vehicle (CUV) that starts at around $40,000 and has an EPA-estimated driving range of 239 miles on a full charge. Kia has previously shown other electrified concepts, including the EV6 electric CUV. The automaker will start deliveries of this model in January 2022. Whatever future production vehicle the Concept EV9 eventually turns into, we'll stay tuned for more details from the L.A. Auto Show next week.

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