Hyundai and Kia are thinking big with their next electric vehicles
The Hyundai Seven concept does not have a steering wheel but a handle instead, which folds up for autonomous driving. Its rear seats are arranged like a sectional sofa, folding in an L-shape around the rear corner of the SUV.
The Kia EV9 is less fancy. It has a rectangular steering wheel – concept vehicles rarely have round steering wheels – and seats arranged in rows like those on a real SUV.
Hyundai and Kia are closely related companies and often share the engineering of their vehicles. Hyundai’s parent company, Hyundai Motor Group, owns a significant stake in Kia, and both have had major successes with large gasoline engines. Crossover SUV. Even before the global computer chip caused production delays for virtually every automaker, Kia was struggling to keep its popular Telluride SUV in stock due to high demand. Hyundai’s Palisade three-row crossover, which shares much of its engineering with the Telluride, also sold well.
And both want to continue this success even in the transition to electric vehicles. These are clearly concept vehicles rather than production models, but automakers say they are offering clues to real future products. The concepts are packed with features that are unlikely to make it a production SUV, however. Both have doors that open outward from the center, like barn doors, without a central pillar.
“There is no denying that South Korean brands have recently enjoyed somewhat greater than expected success in the large SUV segment,” said Jessica Caldwell, industry analyst for automotive site Edmunds.com. âWhile both concept vehicles appear to be quite a step away from actual production, these are positive indicators that Hyundai and Kia are planning to expand their customer base and expand their extensive SUV product portfolio to include electrified versions in the future. . “
Hyundai and Kia have described these concepts as sharing the same underlying engineering, called âE-GMP,â or the global modular electric platform. Very flexible basic electric vehicle engineering platform, it can be used to create a variety of models of very different types and sizes.
The Hyundai Seven concept is designed to deliver a âpremium salonâ experience, according to Hyundai. Lights built into the interior of the doors give off a warm glow when the doors open. There is a small refrigerator and a maintenance compartment for cleaning and refreshing the occupants’ shoes. On the ceiling there is a huge video screen that occupants can lean back and watch.
There is also a great concern for hygiene. Airflow can be separated for front and rear occupants to avoid cross contamination. Built-in ultraviolet lights can disinfect the cabin, and there are also disinfectant compartments to kill germs on personal items.
The Kia Concept 9 has more normal looking characteristics. Kia boasts of its fast charging capabilities indicating that it will be able to go from a charge of just 10% to 80% in less than 30 minutes. When parked, the seats can face towards each other for easy conversation. Instead of a screen, the roof has a large panoramic sunroof, a feature offered on many SUVs today.
Hyundai and Kia plan to start selling a new small electric car based on the same E-GMP platform by early next year. Neither automaker has specified when, exactly, they might start offering large electric SUVs.