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.
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.
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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