Kia will launch an electric version of its Soul small minivan in Europe in 2014. Kia is making a gamble that battery powered vehicles could help it comply with stiffening global emissions standards. Kia is making this move despite recent warnings from the former president of r&d at affiliate Hyundai, Kwon Moon-sik, regarding the high cost and low profitability of EVs.
Kwon recently resigned from Hyundai following a series of quality issues that have resulted to recalls of Hyundai and Kia vehicles around the world. The Soul EV will be run by a lithium-ion battery pack-powered electric motor, providing up to 109hp to the front wheels.
According to Kia, the Soul EV can be completely recharged in five hours using a domestic electricity outlet. It could also be charged to 80 percent of its capacity in 25 minutes through a fast-charging station.
Kia is targeting the Soul EV to be able to travel 200km (120 mile) on a single charge. Kia said it optimizes the potential range of the Soul EV by using regenerative braking to capture and recycle energy generated while the vehicle is coasting and braking. The Soul EV can propel itself from zero to 100km/h (62mph) in less than 12 seconds and to reach a top speed of around 150km/h (90mph), according to Kia.
To assure pedestrian safety, the Soul EV will let out an artificial engine sound at speeds of less than 20km/h (12mph) and when it is in reverse.
The Soul EV will feature special 16-inch alloy wheels designed for aerodynamics. It also has a distinct instrument cluster and more eco-friendly interior materials. While Kia has yet to unveil pricing for the Soul EV, media reports suggest that the vehicle will have a price of around EUR30,000.
The Kia Soul's electric vehicle version sports the bold exterior design of the original Soul model. The Soul EV’s look takes inspiration from the 2012 Kia Track’ster concept, from its "floating" roof to its greenhouse, which makes it look like wraparound sunglasses. Moreover, the Soul EV retains the original Soul’s iconic square-shouldered broad stance.
Initially, the EV is going to be available in three color choices: Caribbean Blue lower body + Clear White roof, Bright Silver lower body + Clear White roof, and Pearl White lower body + Electronic Blue roof. This two-tone color theme, which was inspired by the same treatment on the Track’ster, is exclusive only to the Soul EV.
What’s more, the EV’s exclusive front fascia uses a larger grille that accommodates the charging ports. The Soul EV’s unique exterior design features also include projector headlights, color accent trim for both front and rear fascias, LED tail lights, and LED positioning lamps. Furthermore, the car has "Eco Electric" fender badging instead of the "Soul" fender garnish of its gasoline-powered predecessor. The Soul EV also has its very own set of distinctive 16” alloy wheels wrapped with Super Low Rolling Resistance tires that are specially engineered and that offer 10% less resistance compared to the standard low rolling resistance ones, thus helping improve range.
When the all-new Soul was launched in 2014, it was admired for its premium interior as well as for its significantly reduced NVH levels. The Soul EV is going to be recognizable in an instant for these very same qualities. Just like the gasoline-powered Soul, the EV has a circular theme for its cabin that also provides a pleasing contrast to the angular good looks of its exterior.