Kia’s flagship EV9 electric SUV marks a new software-driven era for Hyundai


Kia aims to enter a new software-driven era with its flagship EV9 electric SUV. The EV9 will be the Hyundai Motor Group’s first model to offer on-demand features and over-the-air (OTA) updates.

The Hyundai Motor Group, including the Kia and Genesis brands, surpassed GM, Nissan, and Stellantis last year to become the third-largest global automaker.

Hyundai believes it can also become an EV powerhouse, among the top three based on sales by 2030. According to the South Korean automaker, its first dedicated EV, the IONIQ 5 electric SUV, is already attracting new “premium” buyers.

Kia, a brand generally associated with affordability, is using the new electric era to redefine its image. With the brand’s first dedicated EV, the EV6 crossover, Kia is already challenging the status quo.

The souped-up 576-hp Kia EV6 GT will beat a Ferrari Roma, Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder RWD, and Lamborghini Aventador SVJ (see the video here) off the line and costs just over $61,000.

Compared to the cost of a Ferrari Roma (starting at $250,000), Lamborghini Huracan ($270,000), or Lamborghini Aventador SVJ (+$500,000), the Kia EV6 GT gives buyers an attractive all-electric performance car at a fraction of the cost.

Even the Porsche Taycan GTS, which the EV6 edges out in 0 to 60 mph (3.4 sec vs. 3.5 sec), costs twice as much starting at $134,100.

With the launch of the EV9, Kia is taking on another big market with a luxury three-row SUV. The flagship Kia EV9 SUV will be the first Hyundai model to offer on-demand features and OTA software updates.

Kia enters new software-defined era with EV9 electric SUV

On Thursday, Kia revealed its Software Defined Vehicle (SDV) technology with the EV9 as the first model to offer a range of digital features and software available through the Kia Connect Store.

The Kia EV9 was officially launched in March as a three-row SUV based on Hyundai’s E-GMP platform loaded with features, including OTA updates, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities, and up to 336 miles of range.

The automaker says that through OTA software updates, drivers will have access to new innovative experiences which will be continuously introduced, such as Highway Driving Pilot (HDP).

With upgradeable software, EV9 drivers can access the latest safety, convenience, connectivity, and driving performance functions through the Kia Connect Store.

The Kia Connect Store currently offers features like Remote Smart Parking Assist 2 and Lightning Pattern which allows you to adjust the small cube lamps adjacent to the vehicle’s two vertical headlamps.

Starting with the EV9, the Hyundai Motor Group, including its sister brands Kia and Genesis, are accelerating toward Software Defined Vehicles (SDVs).

Electrek’s Take

As automakers look to drive revenue and growth amid shrinking margins, there is a clear trend toward software-driven electric vehicles.

Hyundai and Kia are the latest automakers to announce they will move toward SDVs by introducing technology like OTA updates and on-demand services.

Ford CEO Jim Farley highlighted this idea on Tuesday’s first-quarter earnings call, explaining how on his trip to China, he noticed that “customers are no longer just attracted to traditional luxury brands with EVs or even hardware design anymore.”

He went on to explain:

The best new brands are offering integrated digital, retail, lifestyle and experience that are software defined.

Ford’s BlueCruise gained 65% more miles traveled in the first three months of the year, and as Farley said, “the reason why that’s growing so fast is because we continue to do OTAs” to continuously improve it and attract subscribers with new features.

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