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Kia EV9 vs Mercedes EQB: A Digital Technology Expert‘s Take

The electric vehicle revolution is kicking into high gear, and two of the most compelling new battery-powered SUVs coming down the pike are the Kia EV9 and Mercedes EQB. While the Mercedes is already on sale, the Kia won‘t be fully unveiled until later this year. However, the EV9 is already generating a ton of buzz as Kia‘s new electric flagship and a potential major player in the hot EV SUV segment.

As a digital technology expert, I‘ve been closely following the development of these two high-tech electric haulers. In this in-depth comparison, I‘ll be analyzing the Kia EV9 and Mercedes EQB from a technical perspective, evaluating everything from their electric powertrains and battery technology to their autonomous driving capabilities and infotainment systems. I‘ll also be offering my expert opinion on how they stack up against each other and rivals like the Tesla Model X and BMW iX.

Tale of the Tape

Let‘s start by looking at how the Kia EV9 and Mercedes EQB compare in terms of their key specs and features:

Specification Kia EV9 (estimated) Mercedes EQB
Price $56,000 $52,750 – $60,550
Range 300+ miles 221-245 miles
Battery Capacity 100 kWh 70.5 kWh
DC Fast Charging 350 kW 100 kW
0-60 MPH Time 5.0 seconds (GT model) 6.0 seconds (EQB 350)
Power Output TBA 225-288 hp
Seating Capacity 7 7
Cargo Volume TBA 62 cubic feet

As you can see, the Kia EV9 looks to have an advantage over the Mercedes EQB in several key areas, most notably estimated driving range and charging speed. The EV9 is targeting over 300 miles per charge, while the EQB tops out at just 245 miles in its most efficient form. Kia is also aiming to offer DC fast charging at up to 350 kW, enabling a 10-80% charge in as little as 20 minutes. The Mercedes maxes out at 100 kW charging, resulting in slower recharge times.

While the Mercedes EQB is available with up to 288 horsepower in the EQB 350 4MATIC model, Kia is promising even stronger performance from a potential EV9 GT variant. Expect 0-60 mph acceleration in the 5-second range, which would put it ahead of the 6-second time of the quickest EQB.

Of course, the Kia‘s figures are still just estimates at this point, as the EV9 has yet to be fully revealed. Mercedes has an advantage in terms of cargo space, with the EQB offering up to 62 cubic feet of storage with the rear seats folded. But the EV9‘s larger dimensions could give it the edge in real-world carrying capacity. Both SUVs have three rows of seating to accommodate up to seven passengers.

Under the Hood: EV Powertrains and Battery Tech

Now let‘s take a closer look at the electric powertrains and battery technology that will power the Kia EV9 and Mercedes EQB.

The Mercedes EQB uses a 66.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack with a usable capacity of 190 Ah. In the base EQB 250+, this battery powers a single electric motor delivering 188 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque. Stepping up to the EQB 300 4MATIC adds a second motor for all-wheel drive and boosts output to 225 hp and 390 lb-ft. Finally, the top-spec EQB 350 4MATIC ups the ante to 288 hp and 384 lb-ft. The EQB‘s battery features an advanced liquid cooling system to maintain optimal operating temperature and enable repeated DC fast charging without degradation.

Kia hasn‘t revealed full powertrain details for the EV9 yet, but we can make some educated guesses based on its E-GMP platform, which is shared with the smaller EV6 crossover and Hyundai IONIQ 5. Expect the EV9 to utilize a large battery pack with a usable capacity of around 100 kWh. Like the Mercedes, single-motor rear-wheel drive and dual-motor all-wheel drive configurations are likely. Kia is targeting a range of 300 miles or more, so expect an efficient powertrain with a highly optimized battery management system.

The E-GMP platform is also designed for 800V charging, enabling ultra-fast DC charging at up to 350 kW with a compatible charger. Kia says this will allow the EV9 to go from 10-80% charge in as little as 20 minutes, making road trips much more feasible. The Mercedes EQB supports up to 100 kW DC charging, which is still relatively quick but not on the same level as the Kia‘s 350 kW capability.

Infotainment and ADAS Tech

Next up, let‘s examine the infotainment technology that Kia and Mercedes are packing into their electric SUVs.

The Mercedes EQB features the automaker‘s latest MBUX infotainment system, displayed on a pair of 10.25-inch screens mounted side-by-side on the dashboard. On the right is a touchscreen for audio, navigation, and other vehicle functions, while the left screen serves as a digital instrument cluster in front of the driver. The graphics are crisp and clear, and the system responds quickly to inputs.

One of MBUX‘s standout features is the "Hey Mercedes" voice control system, which uses natural language processing to understand commands like "I‘m cold" to turn up the heat or "find the nearest Starbucks" for navigation. It works remarkably well and allows you to control many vehicle functions hands-free.

Other tech highlights include a head-up display, wireless charging pad, and a Burmester surround sound audio system. The EQB also offers Mercedes‘ full suite of driver assistance technologies, including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and automated parking.

Kia hasn‘t pulled back the curtain on the EV9‘s infotainment system yet, but expect it to build on the dual 12.3-inch curved display screens offered in the smaller EV6. From the teaser images, it looks like the EV9 will feature an even larger screen spanning two-thirds of the dashboard. Kia‘s latest infotainment software has received high marks for its intuitive interface, fast response times, and extensive customization options.

Like Mercedes, Kia will likely offer advanced driver assistance systems such as Highway Driving Assist, which combines adaptive cruise control and lane centering to enable semi-autonomous operation on highways. Kia is also investing heavily in next-generation sensor tech like lidar and vehicle-to-vehicle communication, which could find their way into future EV9 variants.

The Competition

While the Kia EV9 and Mercedes EQB are two of the most exciting new electric SUVs on the horizon, they‘ll be squaring off against some formidable competitors. The Tesla Model X is still the king of the category, with up to 348 miles of range, blistering acceleration, and unmatched brand cachet. However, its $114,990 starting price is nearly double that of the Kia and Mercedes.

The BMW iX is another strong contender, with up to 324 miles of range and over 600 horsepower in its highest-spec M60 guise. But again, pricing starts far higher than the Kia and Mercedes at $85,000. More mainstream rivals like the Audi e-tron and Volkswagen ID.4 are closer in price but can‘t quite match the range or performance of the EV9 and EQB.

The Verdict

So which electric SUV comes out ahead in this high-tech face-off? From a pure technology standpoint, the Kia EV9 looks extremely impressive based on the details released so far. With a targeted range of over 300 miles, 350 kW DC fast charging, and a cutting-edge infotainment system, the EV9 seems poised to reset expectations for what a mainstream EV SUV can offer.

The Mercedes EQB is certainly no slouch, especially in EQB 350 4MATIC trim with its potent dual-motor powertrain and premium interior. But its range and charging capabilities can‘t quite measure up to what Kia is promising from the EV9. The EV9‘s value proposition is also hard to ignore – if Kia can deliver flagship-level tech and performance at a mainstream price point, it could be a real game-changer.

Ultimately, a definitive winner can‘t be crowned until we have final details on the Kia EV9‘s specs, pricing, and on-road performance. But based on what has been revealed so far, the EV9 looks like the one to beat in this battle of electric SUV superiority. Its combination of long range, fast charging, spacious interior, and advanced technology seem to check all the right boxes.

For buyers cross-shopping the two, the Mercedes EQB remains a compelling option, especially for those who prioritize badge prestige and luxury. But from a pure technology perspective, the Kia EV9 looks like it will be tough to top, delivering next-gen EV capabilities at a more accessible price point. As the electric SUV arms race heats up, the EV9 vs EQB rivalry will be one to watch closely.