Kia’s Soul EV — the first Kia-branded plug-in to be sold outside of its home market of South Korea — will get its official unveiling this week at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, Kia confirmed today.
While Kia remains tight-lipped on the specs for its all-electric urban crossover, we can tell you based on past encounters with pre-production Soul EV prototypes that the car will make use of the CHAdeMO quick charge system currently found on Nissan’s LEAF and Mitsubishi’s i electric hatchbacks. That means you’ll be able to recharge from empty to around 80 percent full in under 30 minutes in most situations at a CHAdeMO quick charge station.
According to Australian website CarAdvice.com.au — which leaked early spy shots of the car while it was being filmed for a commercial in downtown Chicago — the Kia Soul EV’s battery pack is 27 kilowatt-hours in size and is based on the same lithium-ion cell chemistry used by Kia in its Optima hybrid. But what’s perhaps more interesting is the claim that the Kia Soul EV’s battery pack is 46 percent more energy dense than the Nissan LEAF, meaning it will take up less space than the LEAF’s 24 kilowatt-hour pack.
Designed and built around the same chassis as the gasoline second-generation Soul we saw debut last year as a 2014 model year, the Kia Soul EV does however have some distinctive features which set it apart form the rest of the Soul range.
As the spy shots we’ve seen show, the Kia Soul EV features a white body with blue accents around the headlights, grille and mirrors, along with an all-blue roof. Unlike the gasoline version, the grill is closed off, supposedly hiding both a J1772 and CHAdeMO charge port, while the rear of the car also receives a slight redesign to differentiate it from its gasoline siblings. Finishing off the Kia Soul EV’s unique look are specially-designed five-spoke white alloy wheels.
While official specifications are under wraps, we’ve heard the Kia Soul EV will have a range somewhere around 120 miles per charge, an electronically-limited top speed of 90 mph and a 12-second 0-62 mph time.
What we can tell you for sure, courtesy of an official press release from earlier today, is that the Kia Soul EV has an interior built with 10 percent bio-based organic carbon materials, which include bio-based plastic, bio-fabric and thermoplastic elastomer fabric. That’s been enough to gain Kia an official UL Environment validation for green manufacturing practices.
Obviously, we’ll know more about the Kia Soul EV come Wednesday, when the official unveiling is due to take place. Sadly, while some watermarked images have now leaked onto the Internet, Kia isn’t willing yet to release its official Kia Soul EV images either, so we’ll have to wait until Wednesday to share those with you, too.
Until then, we’ll just have to hope that Kia has decided to make the Soul EV a little more affordable than it previously hinted it would be. Given Kia’s attitude towards EVs — seeing them more as compliance vehicles than mass-market cars — we’re doubtful anything has changed.
You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting Patreon.com.