The KIA EV9 will become the company’s first-ever EV assembled in the United States when production begins at Kia’s factory in West Point, Georgia. But before that happens, some development steps still have to be checked off the list, like extreme cold weather testing.
Built on the same 800-volt E-GMP platform as the Kia EV6, the all-electric SUV can accept up to 230 kilowatts from a DC fast charger to replenish the battery from 10 to 80 percent in under 25 minutes. But as any EV enthusiast knows, that only happens in ideal conditions.
And here’s where the carmaker’s battery conditioning system comes in, ensuring the 76.1-kilowatt-hour (or optional 99.8-kWh) battery pack can accept as much juice as possible whatever the weather conditions.
Gallery: Kia EV9 Cold Weather Testing
To put the aforementioned system to the test in freezing temperatures, Kia engineers took an EV9 prototype to Arjeplog, Sweden to make sure everything works as advertised. The South Korean carmaker then published a video of the whole thing, which you can watch at the top of this page.
“Like the human body, a battery also has a certain temperature range where it feels most comfortable,” says Gunther Frank, General Manager Development Project Operations at Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Center (HMETC). “Within this range, it can provide its best performance while driving and charging. Outside that range, dedicated, state-of-the-art battery thermal technologies have been implemented to manage these extreme conditions.”
The battery conditioning feature was first introduced on the Kia EV6 and works by preheating the pack before charging to ensure it has an optimal temperature and can accept high power.
Additionally, the EV9 benefits from a so-called EV Route Planner which automatically adds charging stops along the route of the navigation system, much like the system on Tesla vehicles.
Kia’s EV Route Planner works together with the battery conditioning feature to preheat the power source in cold conditions before arriving at a high-speed charging station.
“Our target is to provide the best possible driving and charging experience to our customers,” said Frank. “We want them to be able to drive longer distances in the shortest possible time and in the most relaxed way to make the step from ICE to EV cars as easy and smooth as possible.”
Another winter-related feature of the EV9 is a dedicated Snow mode in the vehicle’s traction control settings, which adjusts motor torque output and distribution, as well as the chassis systems and other stability control characteristics to ensure safe performance, even in low-grip conditions.