Kia’s entry into the electric SUV market with the EV9 has been met with considerable interest. Priced at an initial point of $54,900, it stands out as a game-changer, especially when compared to the starting prices of most other three-row electric SUVs, many of which exceed $80,000. However, the EV9’s pricing story becomes increasingly intricate upon closer inspection.
The Price Factor
The first wave of EV9 units to arrive in the U.S. will be manufactured in South Korea, which unfortunately disqualifies them from eligibility for the U.S. federal EV tax credit that can potentially reduce the cost by up to $7,500. Nevertheless, Kia has forward-looking plans in place. By 2024, production will shift to their new assembly plant in Georgia, a move that could make the EV9 eligible for the sought-after tax credit. However, there’s a twist to the pricing puzzle: certain configurations of the EV9 might breach the $80,000 threshold, rendering them ineligible for the tax credit. Furthermore, while the transition to Georgia might suggest a potential price decrease due to reduced import costs, Kia could maintain prices to recover the establishment costs of the new plant.
Early adopters of the EV9 will find a CCS charging port in their vehicle, which aligns well with the current U.S. charging infrastructure, particularly at stations like Electrify America. Nevertheless, the landscape of technology is in a constant state of flux. Tesla’s NACS connector is gaining popularity, and Kia’s parent company, Hyundai, plans to embrace it by the end of 2024. This shift implies that the charging ecosystem may gradually move away from CCS in favor of NACS. Early EV9 owners may soon find themselves in a dwindling charging environment. Although the solution—a CCS to NACS adapter—is straightforward, it’s not the most ideal option. With the expected proliferation of NACS charging stations by mid-2024, waiting a little longer might provide a more seamless charging experience.
The appeal of the EV9 is undeniable, but it’s entering a market that is on the brink of significant expansion. Large vehicles have always been popular in North America, and this preference is influencing the strategies of automakers. Hyundai’s Ioniq 7 is on the horizon, although it is still in its conceptual phase. Insider information also suggests that more budget-friendly offerings from Rivian and expanded electric lineups from industry giants like Ford are in the works. The next few years promise an abundance of electric SUV options.
Who’s the EV9 for?
While the EV9 presents an enticing option at present, prospective buyers must carefully weigh their priorities. If an immediate need for a spacious electric vehicle takes precedence over potential future advantages and price adjustments, then the EV9 is a compelling choice. However, the evolving landscape of electric SUVs and charging infrastructure indicates that exercising some patience might lead to a more optimized ownership experience.
In conclusion, the Kia EV9 is undeniably an exciting addition to the electric SUV market. But whether to jump on board now or wait for potential enhancements and broader market developments is a decision prospective buyers must weigh carefully.