Kia dealer: Don’t buy a Soul EV

Kia Soul EV

When it comes to EV sales, the biggest party-poopers may not be shadowy oil industry conspirators, but auto dealers, who often lack information about their manufacturers’ electric models, and sometimes actively discourage buyers from considering them.

Kia of Vancouver provided a blatant example of this recently, when a sales manager replied to a potential customer’s inquiry by saying that there was no good reason to buy a Soul EV – or any EV. The response, which the consumer forwarded to InsideEVs, reads in part:

Are you interested because you think an EV will save you money, or because you believe it will be good for the environment? Because realistically, it will do neither. The Carbon footprint of making the electric battery is equivalent to driving the gas powered luxury Soul for 5 years, and the extra 8-10000 $ you will pay for an EV, would pay for gas in a 2.0 l GDI four cylinder for 7 years.

So again, whatever your buying motivation, savings or environment, at this point in time, the EV is a social / political statement and is good neither for your pocketbook, nor the environment.

Later, another manager sent an “apology” to the consumer, which acknowledged that the tone of the first message was unfortunate, but reiterated the anti-EV argument:

It is debatable how “environmental friendly” EV cars really are. Nickel is mined by big diesel powered machinery to gather materials to build batteries. Cars are shipped around the world using big ships running on fossil fuels.

The one thing I do like to ask potential EV customers myself is whether they believe that driving an EV will save them money in the long term. This is not true right now because the cost of an EV car compared to its gasoline counterpart is so much more expensive at the point of sale. Taking the Soul for example, a $10000 price difference does indeed buy you a lot of gas (e.g., $2000 per year on gas will get you 5 years of driving). Then we can take into consideration that gasoline cars are known and likely more reliable, regardless of the brand.

This seems particularly sad, because, as we noted in a recent feature article, the Soul EV is a promising vehicle and, unlike some other EV-makers, Kia seems to be committed to making it a success. Vincentric recently named the 2015 Soul EV a “Best Value in America” award winner in the Electric/Plug-in Hybrid category. Following a successful launch in California, Kia announced last week that it will expand availability to five new states: Georgia, Texas, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii.

Like most automakers who offer EVs, Kia has a program to qualify its dealers, who must meet specific requirements on both the sales and technical sides before they can sell the car. The Vancouver dealer who sent the above message is not one of those authorized to sell the Soul EV.

Fortunately, not all Kia dealers are cut from the same oil-soaked cloth. InsideEVs also shared the story of a gentleman who leased a Soul EV from a California dealership in January, and was delighted with the service he received.


Sources: Kia, InsideEVs, Green Car Reports

  • Michel

    Sad reality. What ever the name they call themselves . They behaved like used car salesman. With all the information that is so easy to get today we can be better inform that them . When you have to face an negative dealer like this . Just turn around and go somewhere else. They don’t deserved your business.

  • jstack6

    I just leased a SOUL EV and would love it if the new Tesla III was available now. But this will give me OIL free transportation until the best US vehicle is available.

  • Paul Zigouras

    Part of the issue is re-occurring revenue. With the regular Soul, in addition to the initial sales revenue, the dealer will also see future revenue from oil charges, tune-ups, belt/hose changes, exhaust replacement, and brake service. With the Soul EV, the only revenue they will ever see is from new brake pads… and not very frequently, due to the regen feature.

    • Zephyr

      Tires? Heh

  • John Palmerlee

    This is much worse than sad, and it is not a reality. Dealers typically do not do research, and do not make much money on selling an electric vehicle because electrics do not need maintenance. They have no reason to do the research and therefore typically spout rumors and sound like an authority, which they are not.

    I am embarrassed to read this article showing misguided quotes posted on the worldwide web without any attempt by Charged EVs to confront the misinformation with current research. Please run a followup with the real deal, and set the record straight.

    The dealer you quoted has stated that five years of gasoline carbon goes into making one set of batteries. Are your readers aware how many tons this represents? Typically manufacturing carbon use is proportional to weight, and the average car in 2010 weighed about 4,000 lbs. The Kia Soul EV weighs in at 3289 lbs. Sorry, but this is less than the average, and is about what a Nissan Leaf weighs.

    Also – the cost to drive an EV has been shown in several studies to be less than an equivalent ICE car. Many people are leasing EVs at between $185 to $250 per month and some drive them in excess of 1200 miles per month. Electrics typically use energy at the rate of 4 cents per mile compared with about 20 cents for an ICE car. This equates to a near wash on a monthly net cost basis.

    Now consider maintenance – zero brakes (near lifetime) and zero oil. Hmmm.

    Editors: Please make it your job to correct this type of misinformation. Contact me if you need help doing your research, but the accurate information is out there and must be posted.

    • Michael B

      Am I the only one who’s not quite sure what you’re complaining about, or who you’re upset with? Maybe…

      • John Palmerlee

        I see what you mean.
        I’m tired of seeing uninformed quotes on the web that seem quite logical when taken by themselves… fearful that unsuspecting readers will not get the full story. I apologize for ranting and blaming. I’d like to find some way to encourage publications to confront this kind of misinformation because it’s a powerful way to get the word out.
        Thanks for your reply.

  • Michael Clark

    I know ! it really sucks whenyou want about EVs and dealers say it’s just a fad let me show a gas car GREAT !! Miles !!

  • Zephyr

    Sour grapes much? Sounds like this dealer was just mad about not being qualified to sell EVs, or just trying to steer the customer to a car they could actually sell. So much for helping them find what they needed so they could be happy with it.

  • vike

    Okay guys, you seriously buried the lead on this one:

    “The Vancouver dealer who sent the above message is not one of those authorized to sell the Soul EV.”

    So basically, it’s not that the dealer’s some anti-EV scoundrel or that Kia doesn’t have its act together. As a practical matter, no salesman is going to encourage you to buy a product he doesn’t have and can’t sell. The customer called the wrong dealership, period. This is a non-story.

    • Michael B

      Buried the lead, or the *lede*? Either one, I guess, so I’m going to bury the hatchet! 🙂

    • Zephyr

      So what? They were blatantly dishonest and that dishonesty was directed toward EVs (including one their own OEM sells). It’s shameful. Quibbling about their exact motive doesn’t change that. And you’re blaming the caller who was basically lied to for the sake of a quick buck? I’d hate to be your customer….

      • vike

        Yeah, rather missing the point there Zephyr. I’ve no love for auto dealers, just noting that these guys were doing perfectly ordinary bottom feeding behavior. And I’m not “blaming the caller” for anything at all – he just happened to have called the wrong dealer if what he was looking for was a Soul EV, because that dealer didn’t sell them.

        The blame goes to Charged EVs for turning that uninteresting encounter into a hyped headline that would more accurately have read “Kia Dealer not authorized to sell Soul EVs prefers that you buy something from them instead.” That’s a “dog bites man” story. In other words, not a story at all.

  • Davide Rizzo

    “gasoline cars are known and likely more reliable, regardless of the brand”. Ridicolous.

  • @peterforint

    Sales people know if they don’t sell you a car the first time they meet you, their probability of selling you drops to almost zero. Hence, if the dealer has no stock on the lot or little chance of getting one on order, the commission-only sales person points you to ICE.

  • Gyrogordini

    I had a similar experience with a Toyota dealer in regional Australia. The company that I run was looking at buying two Camrys, and I was keen on sussing out the local hybrid version (using Prius drivetrain etc). We use our vehicles in and around a regional city. The dealer principal, and his head salesman, were horrified and virtually refused to even discuss the possibility of the Camry Hybrid. So much for looking to the future -especially as the Camry Hybrid was developed and promoted in Australia for taxi and commuting use. There happen to be no registration or other EV incentives in my part of Oz.

  • The Two Minute Tour .

    I agree with the dealer. All his points are valid.