Kia Motors has confirmed that a new all-electric version of the Kia Soul is scheduled to go on sale in export markets during the second half of 2014. The ‘Kia Soul EV’ will be Kia’s first electrically-driven, zero-emissions family car marketed outside Korea.
Embodying the cheerful design language of the recently-launched second-generation Kia Soul, the Soul EV is a uniquely designed battery electric vehicle, practical for everyday use. It will be perfectly suited for city commuters thanks to its class-leading range. Equipped with a high-capacity 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, the Soul EV will be able to drive more than 200 km on a single charge.
The front-wheel drive Soul EV prototype test cars are built on modified versions of the 2014 Kia Soul and are powered by an 81.4 kW electric motor, producing a generous 285 Nm of torque. The motor delivers its power to the front wheels through a single speed constant ratio gear reduction unit.
Thanks to instantly available torque, the electric drivetrain will ensure that the Soul EV is a fun-to-drive vehicle with rapid acceleration (standstill to 100 kph is predicted to take less than 12 seconds) and a top speed in the region of 145 kph. To maximise the efficiency and potential range of the Soul EV, regenerative braking captures and recycles into the battery the energy generated while the car is coasting and braking.
Charging is accomplished by plugging the Soul EV into any standard household electricity supply. Recharging times are up to five hours for a fully depleted battery using a standard 240v or 230v household outlet, or 25 minutes on ‘fast’ charge with 100 kW output.
The absence of engine noise, combined with special sound-proofing materials, will make the production Kia Soul EV extremely quiet inside, contributing to the exceptional refinement levels similar to those of premium vehicles. Because of its nearly silent operation, for the benefit of pedestrian safety, the Soul EV will be equipped with a VESS (Virtual Engine Sound System) that emits an audio alert at speeds below 20 kph and whenever the car is reversing.
A fleet of disguised prototypes of the new Soul EV is currently undertaking an intensive test program at Kia’s world-class Namyang R&D facility in Korea, as well as in Europe and North America, before manufacturing of customer cars begins in 2014.
Soul EV will offer buyers added sparkle with projection type headlamps, LED positioning lamps, LED rear combination lamps, plus aerodynamically shaped 16” inch alloy wheels.