Back in 2011 Kia announced the Kia Ray EV … Kia’s first electric car … but it was only for domestic consumption and not much of that.
To help Kia gather some real-world experience in electric vehicles the Kia Ray EV was supplied to government departs to be operated as just another part of the government fleet.
Kia hasn’t said a great deal about electric vehicles since then but now things are about to change because we’re about to see the Kia Soul EV … an electric car that has been developed for the real world … including overseas markets.
The Kia Soul EV is based on the new 2014 model which Kia says is going to be quite different to the first-generation Soul. The basis of the new Kia Soul will be the latest Kia cee’d with a longer wheelbase, stiffer body shell and upgraded suspension.
While the photos show a heavily wrapped vehicle Kia says that the Soul EV will have “head-turning styling and exterior features that project a cutting-edge image and discreetly highlight it’s electric powertrain.”
What that hype translates into in reality is yet to be seen but what we do know that the Kia Soul EV will come with projection type headlamps, LED positioning lamps, LED rear combination lamps and aerodynamic 16-inch alloy wheels.
On the inside
There’s a special Supervision instrument cluster and centre stack with an 8-inch display screen. Recycled materials will be used inside the vehicle wherever possible.
Under the hood
The Kia Soul EV is powered by an 81.4kW electric motor that produces 285Nm of torque and drives the front wheels via a single speed constant ratio gear reduction unit. 0 to 100km/h in something less than 12 seconds is not mind-blowing but it’s certainly not mind-numbing in a vehicle that is obviously designed for city driving.
Power for the electric motor comes from a high-capacity 27kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack that will give the Kia Soul EV a range of around 200km.
Charging time for the battery is quite reasonable too. the Soul EV can be charged from a normal 240 volt household supply in five hours if the battery is fully drained. If you happen to have a 100kW power outlet you can fast-charge the Soul EV in just 25 minutes.
These days car makers are thinking more about safety for pedestrians who may not hear an electric vehicle approaching and Kia has decided to add some noise to the Soul EV.
A Virtual Engine Sound System has been included in the Soul EV and this system will emit an audio alert at speeds below 20kim/h or when the car is reversing. At higher speeds there will be no extra noise and Kia says that the Soul EV is “extremely quiet inside.
At the moment the Kia Soul EV is being tested in Korea, Europe and the USA and Kia plans to put the car into production early in 2014.
Details such as price and when we’re likely to see the Kia Soul EV in Australia have yet to be announced.