A Kia Soul with an electric engine? You betcha.
Competition in the electric car market just got hotter. Kia has publically unveiled the Soul EV, an all-electric version of the new Soul hatchback that will take on the likes of the VW e Up, Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe.
The Kia Soul EV, which will go on sale later in 2014 in the UK, was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show. It features a 109bhp electric motor that produces a hefty 210lb/ft of torque, giving it a 0 to 60mph time less than 12 seconds and a top speed of 90mph.
Keeping the electric motor running is an air-cooled 27kWh lithium-ion polymer battery, which has been ‘engineered for high capacity, thermal stability and safety’. Regenerative braking turns slowing down into usable energy to recharge the battery. Kia says the range is 80 to 100 miles ─ better than the Mitsubishi iMiev and its 93 mile range but less than the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf.
Four modes for the regenerative braking let the driver fine-tune just how much or how little energy from braking and coasting is turned back into electric power.
Charging the battery from empty to full takes 24 hours using a standard 120v outlet and less than five hours using a 240-volt UK socket. If you have access to a 50kWh ‘supercharger‘ a 0 to 80 per cent charge can be done in 33 minutes.
Pedestrians will be pleased to know the Kia Soul EV produces a virtual engine sound – created by the Virtual Engine Sound System or VESS – at speeds below 12mph and when reversing. We’re guessing the engine sound isn’t that of a V12, sadly.
Looks-wise the Kia Soul and Soul EV are on the same page. There is, however, a two-tone paintjob, three colour choices and a set of unique 16-inch alloy wheels that make the EV model stand out. It also has a larger grille where the charging points live, Eco Electric badges instead of the standard ‘Soul’ ones and tyres that offer 10 per cent less rolling resistance.
Rear legroom has been reduced by 3.1-inches (39.1 to 36-inches) and boot space decreased slightly in accommodating the battery.
Standard equipment includes a sat nav, cruise control, electric windows, eco-friendly cloth for the upholstery, rear view camera for parking and Bluetooth connectivity. Much of the interior is made from eco-friendly recycled materials.
No word yet on a price. We’ll keep you posted.
Kia Soul EV image