Kia to introduce a small electric car by the end of the year

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 3, 2011

A Kia-badged small electric vehicle is expected to be launched by the end of 2011 while more EVs will start to arrive in 2014. The announcement was made by Hyundai Motor Group, the umbrella company that consists of Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., at the Green Car Symposium in Gwangju, South Korea.

However, it wasn’t stated if the new EVs would later be made available in the U.S. TAM project is the name given to Kia’s EV plan. Kia's first EV is a small vehicle that will be based on the platform that underpins the Hyundai i10 minicar.

The automaker expects to have an output of 2,000 units in 2012. According further to this announcement, Kia intends to launch another compact EV in the first half of 2014 and Hyundai aims to launch a compact EV in the second half of 2015. A small fleet of i10-based BlueOn EVs, which debuted in September 2010, is being tested by Hyundai in South Korea.

These tests indicate that the automaker is prepared to start small-scale mass production of EVs for the TAM project. Hyundai aims to incorporate EVs in its overall strategy to comply with the more stringent global emissions standards. This year, the company’s first electrified vehicle, a hybrid version of the Hyundai Sonata mid-sized sedan, was released. Kia also started to sell its Optima Hybrid in a limited run this year.

Range anxiety has always been one of the top concerns for electric vehicle buyers. And this is what the Soul EV is trying to solve. The Soul EV uses a lithium-ion polymer battery that is packed with energy. The 27 kWh battery is placed under the floor. The 200 watt-hour/kg air cooled battery is estimated to have enough power to propel the Soul EV to go for 80 miles up to 100 miles in real world driving conditions. Internal evaluation and tests found that the battery can go for more than 100 miles in ideal conditions.

The 96-cell 360 volt lithium-ion polymer battery was designed for high capacity, safety and thermal stability. It has a nickel-cobalt-manganese cathode as well as a graphite-based anode that makes it more powerful and more durable while also making it more lightweight. The cells use gel electrolytes and contain ceramic separators for more safety and better thermal ratings.

To get the most range and efficiency, the Soul EV uses the third generation regenerative braking system. The Kia system converts up to 12 percent of the car’s kinetic energy into more power for the battery. There are four regeneration modes to choose from:

"Drive" mode in Eco-mode "Off"

"Brakes" mode in Eco-mode "Off"

"Drive" mode in Eco-mode "On"

"Brakes" mode in Eco-mode "On"

Just a tip: you get the most regeneration using the "Brakes" setting with Eco-mode "On".

The Soul EV allows you to plug into any 120 volt outlet or use the 240 volt EV charger, making charging very convenient. The Soul EV has two standard charging ports: the SAE J1772 port for Level 1 and Level 2 alternate current plus the CHAdeMo DC fast-charging port. These charging ports are hidden away by a sliding door you find on the front grille and give you more flexibility to go anywhere and still be able to recharge when needed. Now you can charge inside your garage or anywhere on the road.

Charging times range from 24 hours on the 120 volt outlet, or a little less than 5 hours using a 240 volt outlet. And if you use the 50 kW output charger, you can get the Soul EV recharged to 80% in just a little over half an hour.

Kia is working with three charger providers: Leviton, AeroVironment, and Bosch. This gives Soul EV buyers more flexibility to choose the charging unit that is perfect for them. Plus the South Korean carmaker is working with retailers that sell the Soul EV to offer free charging for the Soul EV. That makes charging very convenient!

Topics: kia, electric car

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