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Kia to enter electric car market with Soul

Kia’s first foray into the electric market was the Ray EV, which was only available in limited numbers in its home country of South Korea. But rumblings on the Interweb suggest the pocket-friendly brand is looking at making another ozone-friendly electric vehicle.

Kia may be about to enter the electric car arena with an electrified Soul.
Kia may be about to enter the electric car arena with an electrified Soul.

An all-electric Kia Soul EV will be released in 2014, according to Auto Car, complementing the usual array of petrol and diesel engines found in the current version of the boxy compact SUV.

Exact specifications are scarcer than a scarce thing but test vehicles of the Kia Soul EV have been spotted at the company’s technical headquarters in Russelsheim, Germany, suggesting the wait for more information won’t be an agonising one.

It’s sensible to assume the electric motor from the Kia Ray EV will be used as a basis for the Soul EV, so you can expect a minimum of 129lb/ft of torque from a single 50kW (67bhp) unit. The Ray’s power came from a 16.4kWh lithium-ion battery that can be charged in 25 minutes with fast charging and six hours when plugged into a good old fashioned wall socket.

Kia says the range of the Ray is 86 miles, putting it between the 100 mile Nissan Leaf and the 75 mile Citroen DS3 Electum ranges, ensuring the Soul would be competitive in its field. Just don’t expect lightning performance – 0-60mph in the Ray allegedly took 15.9 seconds, which is an age even for electric cars.

Rumours suggest Kia will be redesigning the current Soul in the not too distant future. This rejig purportedly includes a brand new interior design and styling cues from the Track’ster Concept first seen at the Chicago Auto Show. If true, the new Soul will retain its love or hate boxy styling and practicality but will benefit from a far sportier look that reminds us of a Renault Megane from the back and a Mini Countryman from the front.

More on this as it emerges.

Source: AutoCar

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