A few months after officially commencing production for its domestic market, South Korean automaker Kia has officially started export production for its 2015 Kia Soul EV.
Based on the recently-revised second-generation 2014 Kia Soul, the 2015 Soul EV will be sold in limited markets in the U.S. and Europe. It is essentially then a compliance car like the Toyota RAV4 EV, Fiat 500e and Honda Fit EV: cars made specifically to satisfy various zero emission or electric vehicle production mandates around the world.
Outwardly, there’s very little to differentiate the Kia Soul from its gasoline siblings at a distance, but get up closer and you’ll notice some small design tweaks to let you know you’re looking at an electric car. Most noticeable among them are the Kia Soul EV’s white alloy wheels and roof, as well as its blocked-off front grille.
Hidden within the grille you’ll find a sliding charge port door which gives you access to both a J1772 (type 1) charge inlet and a CHAdeMO DC quick charger port. Kia says the Soul EV will come with a 3.3 kilowatt on-board charger and CHAdeMO DC quick charge port as standard, with an upgrade to 6.6 kilowatt on-board charger available as an optional extra.
In terms of range, expect between 90 and 100 miles per charge from the Kia Soul’s 27 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, while the 0-60 mph dash will take 11.2 seconds. (While the official NEDC range for the 2015 Kia Soul EV is an impressive 212 km — equivalent to 131 miles — the European test cycle is notoriously optimistic.)
With an 81 kilowatt electric motor — a little larger than that found in Nissan’s LEAF electric car — expect similar performance and torque to Nissan’s popular hatch, although we note the Kia Soul EV’s top speed is a little less than the Nissan LEAFat just 90 mph.
Like other electric cars on the market, the Kia Soul EV will come with the usual onboard telematics offering, allowing drivers to check their car’s state of charge remotely, precondition the cabin, and program the navigation from their smartphone or computer.
There’s no official word on price in either U.S. or UK markets, although we’ve heard Kia executives previously state that the Kia Soul EV won’t be priced to ‘attract buyers’.
The Kia Soul EV will go on sale in Europe and the U.S. during the second part of this year, with U.S. sales initially restricted to California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Maryland.
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