Kia is busy working away on its interesting new EV9 fully electric large SUV, with engineers currently undergoing testing and calibration of its cabin climate system in extreme conditions.
You see, the EV9 is effectively going to come in as an electric alternative to the Kia Sorento. And the Sorento is a great SUV, but also one that has to live up to the demands and lifestyles of busy families. The EV9 will need to fulfil similar duties, albeit packing electric power.
With electric power it means there is obviously no engine and that means the air-conditioning system is completely different. It doesn’t just run on a pulley from the engine belt. Kia says it has implemented an innovative heat pump system to balance comfort and energy consumption. Kia explains:
“The heat pump works like a reverse refrigerator: when the outside gets cool, the inside gets warm. And for even more efficiency, the waste heat of the e-motors and Power Electronics (PE) system is collected and used to heat the cabin. This reduced energy consumption has a positive effect on driving range.”
The EV9 will feature three rows of seats, which means it is a big cabin to manage. However, Kia is using two independent climate control systems to divide up the driver, front passenger, and rear passenger sections. Gregor Krumboeck, product marketing manager at Kia Europe, said:
“Having two independent HVAC systems doesn’t only increase comfort – it also reduces unnecessary power consumption. The can save energy by turning off the air conditioning for empty seats, or for passengers who don’t want it.”
The EV9 will also debut a new climate control panel layout for Kia. It has been designed for ease of use, with various controls and settings available with just one click. This means no more selecting multiple menus within a touch-screen just to perform a simple task.
Another highlight is a set of new and improved vents in the ceiling that promise optimised air resistance and diffusion angles for the second and third row passengers.
The Kia EV9 has been locked in for Australia and is scheduled launch in 2024. It rides on Hyundai Motor Group’s E-GMP architecture, and will be offered with a range of battery sizes. So far a 76.1kWh and 99.8kWh battery have been confirmed, with RWD and AWD options, and a range target of up to 541km.
Although not yet officially revealed, an ‘EV9 GT’ performance variant is set to be in the works as well, potentially featuring the 430kW/740Nm package from the EV6 GT. As it stands the most powerful dual-motor version produces 283kW and 600Nm, which is enough to cover 0-100km/h in 5.3 seconds when using the boost function (700Nm). Stay tuned for more details.