Kia is finally joining other car manufacturers who produce and sell road-worthy electric vehicles (EVs) in the USA as news was recently announced that the hot Korean carmaker has an all-new Soul EV, which will go on sale next year. The 2014 Soul EV according to Kia has a target range of more than 120 miles. If the claim is true, then the five-seat mini transporter may be one of the most energy efficient electric cars on the market.
Kia’s first all-electric, zero emissions vehicle marketed outside of Korea may become a top contender in the affordable “mini” EV market along with the Fiat 500e, smart electric, Chevy Spark EV and even the top-selling EVs in the country including the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, Ford Focus Electric, Toyota RAV4 EV and Honda Fit EV. Also keep an eye on the not-yet-announced Volkswagen E-UP! and E-Golf all-electrics.
Kia says its targets for the Soul EV are city commuters who are seeking a practical green vehicle for everyday use. “Although it is Kia’s first globally sold all-electric vehicle, the Soul EV is our second-generation battery electric vehicle and significantly benefits from the in-depth knowledge gained during development of the Ray EV sold in Korea,” says Kia Motors America’s executive director of product planning Orth Hedrick.
So what about driving range? Kia says its 2014 Soul EV is equipped with a 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and a highly regenerative braking system. Paired together, Kia claims the Soul EV can drive for about 120 miles on a single charge. If true, the Soul EV may possibly have the longest driving range in today’s “affordable” EV market.
And how long does it take to charge? If the Soul EV’s battery has been fully depleted Kia says it takes up to five hours using a 240-volt outlet to fully charge or only 25 minutes using a 100kW “fast charger.”
In addition, Kia says its current fleet of Soul EV prototypes is “built on modified versions of the 2014 Kia Soul and powered by a 109-horsepower electric motor, producing a generous 210 lb-ft of torque. The motor delivers its power to the front wheels through a single speed constant ratio gear reduction unit. Accelerating from 0-62 mph in less than 12 seconds with a top speed in the region of 90 mph, the Soul EV promises to remain true to the Soul’s fun-to-drive reputation.
Way to go green, Kia!
Sheryll Alexander is an automotive journalist and lifestyles editor based in Orange County, California.