With the LA Auto Show about to kick off, Hyundai and Kia have made a splash at the preceding press days by officially unveiling the Hyundai Seven SUV concept and the Kia Concept EV9.
Both Hyundai and its brand offshoot Kia had already promised to reveal both vehicles at the LA Auto Show, which will kick off on Friday 19 and run through to November 28. The Hyundai Seven SUV concept was teased, though barely, earlier this month, while Kia provided vague silhouette images and followed it up with digital renders a few days later.
But both vehicles were on display at the AutoMobility LA Press & Trade Event which precedes the LA Auto Show proper, heralding each company’s electrical ambitions and the changing nature of the automotive industry.
The Kia Concept EV9 was designed to present the company’s “clearest signal yet … as to what might be the next addition to its new-generation EV lineup” and follows on the heels of the similarly ambitious EV6, which Kia unveiled earlier this year.
Boasting a stylised geometric design that does what Tesla’s Cybertruck missed, the Concept EV9 represents for Kia “a next possible iteration for the SUV.”
Developed on the E-GMP electric vehicle architecture designed in collaboration between Hyundai and Kia, the Concept EV9 makes use of the extra space inherent to electric vehicles. Specifically, Kia has designed swivelling seats which, in ‘Pause Mode’ “modifies the interior space to be more akin to a first-class lounge”.
In Pause Mode not only do the front two passenger seats swivel to face the rear, but the second row of seats fold down to become a table, “completing the first-class lounge arrangement.”
Of a more technical nature, the Concept EV9 delivers a driving range of 480-kilometres and features ultra-fast charging technology with a 350kW charger that is able to recharge the battery from 10% to 80% in between 20 and 30 minutes.
The interior also follows the recent automotive trend of recycled materials with vegan leather, seating fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and recycled wool fibres and recycled fishnets have been used in the flooring.
“The Kia Concept EV9 is yet another important marker for us in what has been an incredible journey since the start of the year,” said Karim Habib, senior vice president and head of Kia Global Design Center.
“Having made our intentions clear – to become a global leader in sustainable mobility solutions – today we are proud to show the world our all-electric SUV concept, which fuses together an advanced zero-emissions powertrain, a cutting-edge exterior design and a contemporary and innovative tech-based interior space.”
Across the way at parent company Hyundai, the recently teased Seven concept also made an appearance at the AutoMobility Press & Trade Event, billed as the company’s new “sport utility electric vehicle”, or SUEV, which will also be on display at the company’s booth during the LA Auto Show.
Hyundai’s Seven concept follows in the tire treads of the 45 concept unveiled in 2019 and the Prophecy concept of 2020, presenting the next iteration of Hyundai’s “dedicated battery electric vehicle showcase.”
Similarly to the Kia Concept EV9, the Hyundai Seven is built from the ground up on the E-GMP platform and also provides an all-electric range of 480-kilometres. Seven also boasts a 350-kW charger but Hyundai is more confident in claiming it can recharge from 10% to 80% in about “20 minutes”.
Also boasting swivelling chairs and a retractable control stick that can hide away when not in use, Hyundai has made an effort to utilise the space-saving qualities of the EV to create “a more fluid interior layout” as “an alternative to the traditional row-based seat arrangements.
With pillarless coach doors like the Kia EV9, there are nevertheless three “rows” available for seating – though in the photos Hyundai has focused less on family seating and more on its “lounge” aesthetic. As proof, a built-in mini-fridge combines with side-door ambient light as well as a panoramic screen.
Hyundai is also highlighting the sustainable materials used in the interior of the Seven, including bio-paint for the exterior and mineral plaster, bamboo wood and carpet, bio-resin and interior paint all based on renewable sources.
“The Seven concept demonstrates Hyundai’s creative vision and advanced technological development for our electrified mobility future,” said José Muñoz, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor North America.
“Its innovative interior space, eco-friendly powertrain and cutting-edge safety and convenience technologies reveal an exciting future for Hyundai SUV customers.”
“As a tangible proof of Hyundai’s vision of ‘Progress for Humanity’, IONIQ changes the paradigm of electric vehicle customer experiences, accommodating diverse lifestyles without constraints,” said Thomas Schemera, executive vice president and global chief marketing officer at Hyundai Motor Company.
“Seven represents our commitment to a human-centered approach to redefine everyday experiences.”