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.
"The new Soul EV will be at the forefront of Kia's new 'Clean Mobility' program to provide environmentally-friendly transport to our customers around the world when it goes on sale globally next year," commented Thomas Oh, Executive Vice President and COO, Kia Motors Corporation. "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 our in-depth experience gained from development of the Ray EV and proven daily operations of the Ray EV fleet for the past three years."
Equipped with a high-capacity 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, the Soul EV will be able to drive more than 200km 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. 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. 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. Inside, Soul EV will be fitted with a unique Supervision instrument cluster and centre stack with an eight-inch display screen. Appropriately for an eco-friendly vehicle, 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 volatile organic compounds and newly developed antibacterial materials and paint.
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.