It was November 2021 when Kia signalled its intentions toward launching a large electric SUV with the unveiling of the EV9 Concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Riding on the same E-GMP platform as the EV6, the zero-emission family hauler will be unveiled in production guise in the first half of this year. The announcement was made this week by the Hyundai Motor Group during a meeting held at the Namyang R&D Center in South Korea.

When it launches, the Kia EV9 will be the brand's first model to feature Highway Driving Pilot. Already announced for the Genesis G90 fullsize luxury saloon, HDP is a level 3 autonomous driving system. Drivers have to take control of the car only in emergency situations when human input is required to avoid a potential accident.

Kia EV9 Spy Shots

An electric alternative to the Kia Telluride, the upcoming EV9 is expected to carry a starting price of around $50,000 (approx. £41,400). It means the boxy vehicle will significantly undercut all the other three-row electric SUVs out there, including the smaller Tesla Model Y. For your money's worth, you'll be getting a large vehicle capable of covering approximately 300 miles (483 kilometres) in the EPA cycle before having to recharge the battery pack.

When the concept was unveiled, Kia touted support for 350-kW charging, in which case it would take 20 to 30 minutes to juice up the battery from 10 to 80 percent. Spy shots and official teasers depicting prototypes have strongly suggested the design won't be significantly modified on the road to production.

To get an idea about its size, we'll remind you the concept was 4,930 millimeters (194 inches) long, 2,055 mm (80.9 in) wide, 1,790 mm (70.4 in) tall, and had a generous wheelbase of 3,100 mm (122 in). Although the Concept EV9 was overall shorter than the Telluride, its wheelbase was much longer courtesy of the dedicated E-GMP platform. Consequently, the cabin should feel more spacious.

The EV9 will be just one of the seven purely electric models already confirmed to arrive by 2027. Two of the new models will be pickup trucks, one riding on a dedicated electric platform while the other will sit on an adaptation of an architecture used for ICE-powered vehicles.