Kia’s US-made EV9 may not qualify for the full $7,500 EV tax credit at first

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Kia is plowing ahead with plans to produce its first three-row electric SUV in the US, which is slated to begin this spring. However, it’s unclear whether Kia’s new US-made EV9 will fully qualify for the $7,500 EV tax credit at first.

After opening orders for its first three-row electric SUV in October, Kia’s EV9 has garnered significant interest.

Kia calls the EV9’s sub-$55K starting price a “wake-up call to the industry.” The automaker is already importing models to the US as sales have grown from 1,118 in December to 1,408 last month. Kia expects to sell about 2,000 EV9 models a month eventually.

As Kia’s first large electric SUV (with a range-topping AWD GT-Line trim starting at $73,900), the EV9 is expected to play a big role in the brand’s shift to electric.

According to online auto research firm CarsDirect, the EV9 is already being marked up at dealers despite Kia’s plea to keep prices low.

The 2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line is being marked up by up to $7,000. Some dealers have the range-topping EV9 listed at $83,315 before taxes and fees.

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2024 Kia EV9 GT Line (Source: Kia)

With 42.8″ rear legroom, the EV9 tops the Cadillac Escalade, 3-row Range Rover P400, and Mercedes EQS. It also has more shoulder and legroom than Tesla’s Model X. It’s no wonder the electric SUV is in high demand.

Does the Kia EV9 qualify for the full $7,500 EV tax credit?

Although the EV9 is already sold in the states, Kia is moving EV9 production to the US to gain access to the federal tax credit.

Kia’s Georgia facility is undergoing preparations to start building the electric SUV this spring, with the first US-made models rolling out this summer. However, it’s not certain that the Kia EV9 will initially qualify for the full $7,500 tax credit.

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Kia EV9 interior (Source: Kia)

After new requirements were put into place this year, only 13 all-electric cars qualify. That’s down from 25 last year.

The new requirements limit 2% of the vehicle’s battery parts to be from a “foreign entity of concern,” like China.

CEO of Kia Georgia, Stuart Countess, told Automotive News, “We’re finishing some fine-tuning in the trial phase.” He added the facility will undergo a transition phase before it can begin using locally sourced batteries for the EV9.

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2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line (Source: Kia)

“We will receive a battery assembly to marry into the car that comes to us through Hyundai Mobis,” Countess explained.

The battery packs will come from Hyundai or another external supplier. Hyundai is pushing ahead with plans to build two battery factories in the US. But neither is expected to begin production until next year.

Pushing ahead

Hyundai is building an EV battery plant as part of its $7.6 billion Metaplant near Savannah, Georgia. The other is in collaboration with SK On in Bartow County.

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Kia EV9 interior (Source: Kia)

The battery and EV plant will support the production of 300,000 Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis EVs. Hyundai has already drastically pulled ahead the start of production to gain access to the IRA tax credit. It could come online as soon as October.

Hyundai also upgraded its Alabama facility last year and began building the first US-made electric Genesis GV70 models.

Kia’s EV9 will be the first all-electric model built at its West Point facility. The plant is best known for building Kia’s high-volume crossovers like the Telluride, Sorento, and Sportage.

Once the EV9 comes online, Kia will adjust the output mix according to demand. The facility currently can build up to 350,000 vehicles a year. The Sportage tops the mix, with the Telluride closely behind.

Kia has sent team members to Korea to work with prototypes and learn how to install the battery packs. Countess said plant managers are eager to get the EV9 into the building.

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