Kia Motors America (KMA) is planning to offer an electric version of the Soul urban passenger vehicle in select markets in 2014. It is only logical for the ever-popular Soul to have an all-electric variant as the vehicle is one of Kia’s best-selling models. Kia will announce details of the Soul EV’s powertrain, range/MPGe, packaging and go-to-market strategy at an upcoming auto show in the United States.
Interbrand recently included Kia Motors in its list of “50 Best Global Green Brands,” with the Soul EV becoming the brand’s second alternative-fuel to be sold in the US. The first was the Optima Hybrid that Kia launched in 2011. For 2013, the Optima Hybrid will feature several improvements like a number of powertrain upgrades for smoother operation and enhanced drivability. These powertrain upgrades include a better 47 HP electric traction motor, a stronger Hybrid Starter Generator (HSG) and a more powerful 47 kW Lithium Polymer battery.
Orth Hedrick, executive director of product planning at KMA, noted that eco-consciousness is already a standard feature on the new Soul as 85 percent of the vehicle’s materials are recyclable at the end of its lifespan. He remarked that Kia will further show its engineering capabilities and commitment to producing environment-friendly vehicles by offering an EV version of the Soul.
He added that the all-new Soul features a good balance of technology, refinement, style, improved dynamics and value – all making the urban passenger vehicle efficient and fun to drive. Meanwhile, Kia is proud to be one of only three auto brands able to boost their US sales in each of the past four years. In fact, the carmaker topped the 500,000-unit mark for the first time in 2012.
Kia’s unprecedented rise both in terms of sales and sophistication has been attributed to its employment of European-influenced styling, cutting-edge technologies, premium amenities, affordable pricing and very low cost of ownership. Its rise is proven by the fact that it has joined Interbrand’s exclusive list of “Top 100 Best Global Brands.” The carmaker does not intend to stop and is even fueling its momentum by launching seven all-new or significantly redesigned vehicles in 2013.
Kia Motors has invested over $1.4 billion in the US over the past decade – including Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, its first assembly plant in the country located in West Point. The plant is home of the Optima and Sorento, which were responsible for fueling Kia’s rapid growth in the US. The carmaker’s product lineup includes the Cadenza flagship sedan, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Sportage compact CUV, Optima Hybrid, the Forte sedan, Forte5, and Forte Koup compacts, Rio and Rio 5-door sub-compacts and the Sedona minivan.