Kia Soul EV Such a Hit, Kia Brings Forward market Expansion Plans

The Kia Soul EV currently falls into the category of a compliance car, that is an alternatively powered car that is sold by a company in a limited market to allow said company to carry on selling more traditionally powered cars.

Kia has always had plans to expand the reach of the Kia Soul EV by selling it in states other than California when it comes to the U.S. Now these plans may be being accelerated due to the success of the Soul EV in the Californian market.

The Kia Soul EV is so popular, Kia is pushing forward expansion plans.


Speaking to AutoBlogGreen, Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning at Kia Motors America, said: “We went back to the factory and told them it’s doing very well and it’s now expanded beyond an EV, it’s something bigger.

“When we looked at it originally, we were trying to go beyond the compliance part. We understood, of course, that we had to do it, but we wanted to showcase something that was really strong for us, which is the Soul, and we thought it would help build out the Soul family and bring more people to see us and that’s exactly what’s happening. It was a little more than compliance but I think we were kind of shocked how well it was received. It’s been a huge hit.”

It’s a good position to be in but not an easy one. Ramping up production of cars isn’t as simple as turning the assembly line up to 11. Supply chains, workers and base materials all need to be scaled up too, not to mention shipping from South Korea to the intended new markets.

Kia says its Soul EV has what it takes to stay efficient -- and keep you warm -- even in cold weather. So why isn't it sold in more places?

Kia says its Soul EV has what it takes to stay efficient — and keep you warm — even in cold weather. So why isn’t it sold in more places?

Speaking to Charged, Steve Kosowsk EV Project Manager for Kia, said: “As soon as we can get the supply, we’re going to start selling the car outside of California. What we don’t want to do is starve our California dealers after they’ve already invested in chargers and tools and training. The Soul EV is the first electric car we’ve sold outside of Korea. So, we want to make sure that the quality is there, that the suppliers and the distributors and the dealers and everybody in the whole chain is ready and there are no problems.”

The company hopes to have an announcement about opening up sales to more markets and the ramping up of its production in time for the New York Auto Show that starts in April.

The Kia Soul EV has an EPA rated range of 93 miles which it achieves from a 27kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack. It gained a four-star ratting in the Euro NCAP testing and even beat the Tesla Motors Model S in the passenger protection category.

It’s even been advertised through the power of dancing hamsters… We’re not kidding.

Do you live outside one of the Kia Soul EV’s markets but would like to get your hands on it? Is this the EV you’ve been waiting for? Let us know in the comments below.


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  • CDspeed

    If you try to build a good electric car it sells like crazy, hopefully this will get KIA’s big brother Hyundai to turn electric aswell.

  • tyrelh

    Yes, really waiting for this in Washington State. Hoping to be able to replace one of our LEAFs with a Soul when our leases are up next year.

  • vdiv

    I think the ad says it all. 🙂 In fact it beats the official Maroon V video for the song hands down (or paws up 😉 ) It exudes the excitement needed to attract drivers, an excitement only present in some of the unofficial Model S ads.nnA few more factors why the Soul EV is successful are the spacious interior, the above 80-mile range and the styling. With the exception of the range the eGolf apparently is a success in Europe as well.

  • Joe

    I would really like to make this my next car! I’m not sure it’ll work for me, though. My round-trip commute is about 76 miles and I can’t count on charging at work. A rated range of 93 miles gives me only a 17 mile buffer. A Nissan Leaf won’t work for me, but a Soul EV might — as long as I don’t speed to get to work on time or run the heat or go to lunch or let the ambient temperature here in Michigan fall in the winter. I have a feeling that driving this would make range anxiety part of my daily routine. Am I wrong?

    • Espen Hugaas Andersen

      I don’t think you’re wrong. None of the affordable EVs can do the trip comfortably in winter.

  • Espen Hugaas Andersen

    I’ve been really impressed with what Kia has been able to do with the Soul Electric. They sold around 500 of them here in Norway in 2014, and are planning on selling around 3000 in 2015. They even won the most relevant car-of-the-year award here.nnReally the only negative side I could point to is that the car doesn’t have a functioning app for Europe. This is the most significant downside over choosing the Soul Electric over the Leaf or e-Golf.

  • I have already been hassling KIA in Australia

  • Richard Glover

    u201cWe went back to the factory and told them itu2019s doing very well and itu2019s now expanded beyond an EV, itu2019s something biggeru2026..Itu2019s been a huge hit.u201dnnSeems a strange thing to say but that is just it, the executives donu2019t drive humble electric vehicles so are taken by surprise when they prove popular. Open your eyes, no company should be thinking u201ccomplianceu201d they should realise the car market has moved on

  • Harald M. Hjelle

    I have owned the Kia Soul EV for almost a year now, here in Norway. I’m a huge fan! My wife and I are fighting over this and my petrol Honda CRV is resting in the garage several days a week. The range is realistically 180 kms in summer and 100-120 kms in winter (i have the version with the heat pump), and that is my normal use, without any power-saving behavior. No car I have ever owned gets warm as quickly as this one in winter – and the heated steering-wheel and air-vented seats are just great. In Norway people have to wait 6-9 months for delivery, so I really hope they would ramp up the production in Korea!