Kia will have its all-new Kia Soul EV debut in Europe at the 84th Salon International de l’Automobile in Geneva on March 4, 2014. During the Geneva Motor Show, Kia intends to feature a special technology exhibit for its next-generation hybrid powertrain. The exhibit will be complemented by the improved Kia Sportage, the upgraded Optima Hybrid, and the GT4 Stinger concept car.
The all-new Kia Soul EV will become Kia’s first EV to be sold globally when its production commences in the second half of 2014. The front-wheel drive Soul EV features a high-capacity 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and a 200 Wh/kg battery energy density.
Power is derived from an 81.4kW electric motor that provides 285 Nm of torque. Kia expects the Soul EV to appeal to city commuters as it boasts of around 124 miles (200km) in driving range on a single charge. The Soul EV also boasts of providing good ride and handling and a high level of refinement thanks to its low center of gravity, revised platform and chassis. It also features new materials designed to cut noise, vibration and harshness.
Kia also loaded the Soul EV with a number of energy-saving technologies that cut load on the battery and increase maximum driving range, thereby maximizing the EV’s efficiency and potential range.
These include advanced heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technologies, like a driver-only individual ventilation system, four-mode regenerative braking and a battery heating system. Kia touts the Soul EV as practical EVs on the market when it arrives in Europe later this year, thanks to the minimal intrusion of the batteries into the cabin and luggage space.
When Kia first released the Soul back in 2014, it received praise for having a premium interior and lower NVH levels. Having these same qualities, it is no wonder that the new Soul EV is immediately recognizable. Like the gas-powered version, the interior is defined by a circular theme. This allows it to contrast the angular appearance of the exterior.
The bright white accent trim on the door panels, instrument panel, and center console give the inside passenger space a contemporary and light feel. It also results in the Soul EV being differentiated from its gas-powered counterpart. Further, the Soul EV is made even more exceptional with the rather all-inclusive utilization of bio-based materials.
The interior plastic of the model is revealed to have bio-based organic content amounting to 10.9 pounds. This has since been given the automotive environmental claim validation from UL, a first. These bio-based plastics are manufactured from sugarcane and cellulose. Other areas in the interior that contain this plastic are in the carpeting, headliner, roof pillars, seat trim, and door panels.
Meanwhile on the front and center of the inside is the BTX-free paint not only on the audio system surround but also the floor console and vent bezel. Looking at the exterior design, the EV is as bold as the Soul.
This includes the greenhouse all the way to the “floating” roof resulting in this model looking as if it is wearing what can be described as wraparound sunglasses. There is no question that this appearance is based on the 2012 Kia Track'ster concept.
However, it still has that well-known square-shouldered broad stance seen in the first version of the Soul. Kia revealed that once released, the Soul EV will come in a choice of three colors. The first will have Caribbean Blue on the lower body with the roof in Clear White. Meanwhile the second option has White on the lower body and roof in Electronic Blue.
Finally, there is the Bright Silver on the body having a Clear White roof. Offered as well, and exclusive to the EV, is the signature two-tone paint theme. This particular theme was inspired by the same thing done on the Track'ster.
Another exclusive feature is the front fascia which makes use of a larger grille. The reason being, it would allow for the charging ports to be placed on this area. These are just some of the many unique design features on the Soul EV. Other such features include the LED tail lights, LED positioning lights, projector headlights, and even the color accent trim on both the front fascia and the rear one. In the gas-powered version, there is the “Soul” fender garnish.
However, the Soul EV instead will have the “Eco Electric” fender badging. Further, the new Soul EV will also have its very own set of alloy 16-inch wheels that have been wrapped with the Super Low Rolling Resistance tires specially engineered to deliver 10% less resistance compared to the usual low rolling resistance tires. As such, it helps to enhance the range.