2015 Kia Soul EV Preview

Jeff Youngs | Feb 07, 2014
FAST FACTS
  • EPA-rated 90 miles of range
  • EPA-rated 102 MPGe in combined driving
  • Zero to 60 mph in less than 12 seconds
  • Top speed of 90 mph
  • 24-hour recharge using household outlet
  • 5-hour recharge using 240-volt EV charger
  • On sale in summer of 2014
  • Offered first on east and west coasts

Introduction

The 2015 Kia Soul EV is a new electric version of the automaker's popular multi-purpose car, one that offers gas-free driving in a package that is nearly as practical as a standard Soul. When the new 2015 Soul EV goes on sale in the summer of 2014, it will be available in Base and Plus trim levels, and offered in a handful of states on the east and west coasts where electric vehicle infrastructure is the most advanced.

Exterior Features

The Kia Soul EV looks similar to a standard Soul, but features unique 16-in. aluminum wheels wearing Super Low Rolling Resistance tires, minor aerodynamic modifications, a revised grille insert that hides dual charging ports, LED running lights and taillights, and special two-tone paint. Three colors will be available: Pearl White/Electronic Blue roof, Carribean Blue/Clear White roof, Bright Silver/Clear White roof.

Every Soul EV also includes a Virtual Engine Sound System (VESS) that operates at speeds under 12 mph and in Reverse to let pedestrians and cyclists know that an electric vehicle is operating nearby.

Interior Features

The Soul EV's battery is located under the car's floor, resulting in a 3.1-inch reduction in rear-seat legroom and a 5.1 cu.-ft. reduction in cargo space. Behind the rear seat, the Soul EV holds 19.1 cu. ft. of cargo, more than a midsize sedan's trunk.

Eco-friendly cloth in gray with blue stitching and Bright White interior trim come standard in the Soul EV, along with unique Supervision gauges employing Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology. Gray leather with blue piping is optional.

Kia says the Soul EV is the first car to receive an automotive environmental validation from Underwriters Laboratory, thanks to the use of more than 20 bio-friendly materials in the cabin's construction. There is 10.9 lbs. of bio-based organic content in the cabin's plastic alone, and Kia uses BTX-free paint on certain pieces of trim as well as anti-bacterial material for many of the most commonly touched parts of the interior. Materials derived from cellulose and sugar cane are used for the Soul EV's door panels, headliner, seat trim, and carpeting.

Under the Hood

The 2015 Kia Soul EV employs a 90-kW Lithium-ion polymer battery with an 81.4-kW electric motor to produce 109 horsepower and 209 lb.-ft. of torque. The air-cooled battery is installed under the car's floor, and Kia adds structural cross bracing to help the Soul EV handle the extra weight. Kia also employs a multi-layer magnet design for the electric motor, which is intended to reduce the whine commonly associated with EVs.

The EPA says the Soul EV will travel 90 miles between stops at the charging station, on average, and rates the car at 102 MPGe in combined driving. With a curb weight of 3,247 lbs., the front-drive Soul EV accelerates to 60 mph in less than 12 seconds and achieves a top speed of 90 mph, according to the automaker.

A three-stage State of Charge system alerts the driver when it is approaching time to find a charging station or electrical outlet. Two charge ports are included with the Soul EV, one that is compatible with 120-volt (standard household) and 240-volt (EV charger) outlets, and a 480-volt Chademo DC fast-charging port for municipal fast-charge stations. Both ports are located behind sliding panels where a standard Soul's grille insert is located.

It takes 24 hours to achieve a full battery using a household outlet. Plug the car into a 240-volt EV charger and that recharging time drops to 5 hours. On a municipal fast-charger, a full charge takes about 45 minutes, Kia says.

Next-generation regenerative brakes capture up to 12% of the kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost when the Soul EV is coasting and braking, and this energy is fed to the battery to extend range. There are four different regenerative braking settings, depending on how aggressively the driver wants the car to capture kinetic energy.

Safety and Technology

A reversing camera is standard for the Soul EV, as well as a navigation system with an 8-inch capacitive-touch display screen. A free 5-year subscription to SiriusXM Data Services is standard, along with UVO eServices for the same period of time.

As a part of UVO eServices, special UVO EV Services allow the Soul EV's owner to remotely check charge status and available range, set charging times for when utility rates are lowest, and to run the heater or air conditioner in advance of driving while the car is still plugged into a power source. Additionally, UVO EV Services can help the driver to find the nearest charging station to the vehicle's current location.

Additionally, the Soul EV's climate control system is designed to automatically minimize energy draw in order to extend range. For example, the system offers driver-only ventilation as well as scheduled ventilation programming around the owner's planned daily activities.
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