South Korean automaker Kia has been working on an all-electric version of its second generation Soul EV for some time now, with plans to launch it some time next year as a 2014 model year. But while Kia has been open about its plans to enter the EV market for some time, the only specifications we knew for sure was the fact that the all-electric urban crossover would feature CHAdeMO quick charging capabilities after a heavily-camoflagued prototype Soul EV was spotted drinking at a southern California quick charge station.
Now, thanks to an official Kia press release earlier this week, we can tell you a whole lot more. The Kia Soul EV will come with a 27 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, an 81.4 kilowatt motor producing 285 Nm of torque, and have a similar range to the Nissan LEAF. 0-62 mph (0-100kph) is expected to take ‘less than 12 seconds.’ Like its gasoline sibling, the Soul EV will be front-wheel drive.
Kia says the Soul EV will be its first all-electric car to be offered outside of its home country of Korea, and will lead the company’s future electric vehicle efforts. It isn’t Kia’s first electric car, however: three years ago, Kia launched its all-electric Ray EV mini MPV in South Korea, and says lessons learned from the Ray EV have helped it ready the Soul EV for production.
On paper, the Kia Soul has a claimed range of ‘more than 200 kilometres on a single charge.’ That’s equivalent to just under 125 miles per charge, but given Kia’s range estimates are likely to be based on Japanese test cycles rather than real-world range, we’d suggest that an expectation of 80 to 90 miles per charge is likely to be more achievable in the real world.
Like many other EVs on the market, the Kia Soul EV is electronically limited to a top speed of 90 mph, making it more than capable of reaching — and beating — most speed limits around the world. Thanks to its high, squared-off shape however, don’t expect the Kia Soul EV to go far at those kind of speeds.
From outside, the Kia Soul EV will look very much like its gasoline siblings, with the only tell-tale signs of its eco-credentials being a revised front grille and EcoElectric badges. Inside, an exclusive instrument cluster and eight-inch display specially designed for the Soul EV set it apart from the rest of the Soul range, while recycled and eco-friendly interior trim materials like Bio Foam, Bio Fabric and Bio PET felt emphasise the green elements of driving an EV.
In addition to CHAdeMO Quick charge capability which Kia says will charge the car from empty to full in at a 100kW rapid charging station in around 25 minutes, Kia says the on-board charger will fill the car up in around four to five hours.
Pricing has yet to be released, as has availability, but Kia has previously said that it expects the Kia Soul EV to be offered at a price point which reflects the car’s value, not one designed to stimulate sales. As to where you’ll be able to buy one? All the signs from Kia point to the Soul EV being a compliance car in the U.S., restricted initially to sales in California and other states who have adopted California’s ZEV mandate. Over in Europe, expect sales to start in countries where EVs are best supported — like Norway — before it goes on sale anywhere else.
Do you think the Kia Soul EV sounds like your sort of car? Do you like its styling, and would you want to buy one? Let us know in the Comments below.
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