IRVINE, Calif., November 11, 2013 – Kia Motors has confirmed the development of an all-electric version of the Kia Soul, scheduled to go on sale in 2014. The 'Kia Soul EV' will be Kia's first all-electric, zero-emissions vehicle marketed outside of Korea.
"The new Soul EV will be at the forefront of Kia's 'Clean Mobility' program, which aims to provide environmentally-friendly vehicles to our customers around the world, when it goes on sale globally next year," said Kia Motors America's executive director of product planning, Orth Hedrick. "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."
The Soul EV takes its design cues from the recently-launched second-generation Kia Soul. With a target range of more than 120 miles, this uniquely designed battery electric vehicle is practical for everyday use and perfectly suited for city commuters.
Equipped with a high-capacity 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, the Soul EV is expected to offer a driving range of more than 120 miles on a single charge. In an effort to maximize efficiency and range, the vehicle recycles back into the battery the energy generated while the car is coasting and braking.
The Soul EV makes charging easy by plugging into any standard outlet. Recharging times are up to five hours for a fully depleted battery using a standard 240v outlet, or 25 minutes on 'fast' charge with 100 kW output.
The front-wheel drive Soul EV prototype test cars currently under development are built on modified versions of the 2014 Kia Soul and are powered by a 109-hp 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.
The absence of engine noise, combined with special sound-proofing materials offers drivers an exceptionally quiet ride. For the benefit of pedestrian safety, the Soul EV will be equipped with a Virtual Engine Sound System (VESS) that emits an audio alert at speeds below 12 mph and whenever the car is in reverse.
Like the 2014 Kia Soul, the Soul EV will have head-turning styling and exterior features that project a cutting-edge image. The smooth new look is inspired by the 2012 Kia Track'ster concept and retains the iconic square-shouldered broad stance of the original Soul.
When it goes on sale in 2014, the Soul EV will offer projection type headlamps, LED positioning lamps, LED rear combination lamps, plus aerodynamically shaped 16-inch alloy wheels.
Inside the cabin, the vehicle is fitted with a unique Supervision instrument cluster and center stack with an eight-inch display screen. In keeping with its eco-friendly ethos, the interior components and trim will use an increased range of recycled materials including Bio Plastic, Bio Foam, Bio Fabric and Bio PET Felt, together with low volatility organic compounds and newly developed antibacterial materials and paint.