Kia Motors has begun volume production of its new all-electric Kia Soul EV for export sales. A landmark in Kia’s history, the zero-emissions Soul EV is Kia’s first electric vehicle to be marketed by the company outside Korea. [ads id=”0″ style=”float:left;padding:9px;”]The first vehicles off the production line are destined for select European countries and are scheduled to go on sale across the continent during the second half of the year. The Soul EV is manufactured at Kia’s Gwangju facility in Korea, where annual output of the electric car is initially planned to reach 5,000 units.
“Now that production of export models has begun, the new Soul EV is truly at the forefront of Kia’s ‘Clean Mobility’ program, providing environmentally-friendly transport to our customers around the world,” comments 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 benefits significantly from our in-depth experience gained from development of the Ray EV and proven daily operations of the Ray EV fleet in Korea for the past three years.”
Embodying the iconic design language of the second-generation Kia Soul, the Soul EV is a uniquely designed battery electric vehicle perfectly suited for city commuters thanks to its class-leading drive range, a spacious cabin and generous cargo area.
Featuring a high-capacity 192-cell 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, 212 km of the Soul EV’s drive range is now certified for Europe. Key enablers for the Soul EV’s outstanding drive range are industry-leading 200 Wh/kg cell energy density and a number of state-of-the art energy-saving features such as the new heat pump, smart air intake control system and a new individual ventilation system that ensure maximum driving range without loosing energy for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC).
The Soul EV also employs regenerative braking to capture and recycle into the battery the kinetic energy generated while the car is coasting and braking. Power comes from an 81.4 kW (110 ps) electric motor, producing a generous and instantly available 285 Nm (29 kgm) of torque, driving the front wheels via a single speed constant ratio gear reduction unit. Ensuring that the Soul EV retains all the ‘fun-to-drive’ character of the regular Soul, rapid acceleration to 100 kph (62 mph) is predicted to take 11.2 seconds, while top speed is in the region of 145 kph (90 mph). The battery pack is mounted beneath the cabin, ensuring a low center of gravity and contributing to the car’s accomplished ride, handling and refinement.
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 6.6 kW AC slow charger. An 80 percent charge can be achieved in as little as 25 minutes with a 100 kW charger (if available) or 33 minutes using a 50 kW DC charger. The new Soul EV has achieved the world automotive industry’s first UL Environment Validation for containing 23,942 grams of bio-based plastic and 10% bio-based organic carbon content. Soul EV’s recyclable interior materials include Bio Plastic, Bio Foam, Bio Fabric and Bio PET Felt, together with low volatile organic compounds and newly developed antibacterial materials and paint.