Kia Motors has confirmed that it will begin selling an electric version of the 2014 Soul compact MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) in the United States next year. Kia says that the 2015 Kia Soul EV, which is its first electric model to be sold in the United States, will be ideal for commuters, having a range of more than 120 miles and zero emissions.
The Soul EV is actually a second-generation EV, since Kia's first model to boast an electric motor was the Optima Hybrid, which launched in 2011 and was updated for 2013. According to some media reports, it is likely that the new Soul EV will be exhibited at the 2013 LA Auto Show beginning next week.
The compact Soul EV is equipped with a 27-kWh Lithium-ion polymer battery pack, which will give it a driving range of more than 120 miles on a single charge, Kia says. The car can be recharged by plugging it into any standard electrical outlet. Charging times generally take up to 5 hours using a standard 240-volt outlet, or approximately 25 minutes with a 100-kW unit.
Kia's Soul EV prototype is powered by a 109-horsepower electric motor that produces 210 lb. ft. of torque that sends power to the front wheels. The car accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in fewer than 12 seconds and has a top speed of almost 90 mph, which gives it fun-to-drive appeal, Kia claims.
The Soul EV will offer projection-type headlamps, LED positioning lamps, LED rear combination lamps, and special 16-inch alloy wheels. The interior will be fitted with a special instrument cluster and an 8-inch display screen. Recycled materials will be used for cabin components, including Bio Fabric upholstered seats.
In the first 10 months of 2013, Kia sold nearly 99,000 conventionally powered Soul compact MPVs vs. 101,344 units sold in the same period of 2012, according to manufacturer sales data. Among nine entries, the Soul remains the best-seller in the compact MPV category with nearly 43% of segment sales. Ford's Transit Connect and C-Max are the second- and third-best-selling compact MPVs. Segment sales were up 12.9% in the first 10 months, outperforming the industry's 8.3% year-to-date gain.