Kia unveiled its 2015 Soul EV at this week’s Chicago Auto Show. Scheduled to go on sale in the third quarter of 2014, the compact hatchback will be Kia’s first EV sold in the US, initially in just a few states, including California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Maryland. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.
Located beneath the floor, the 27 kWh, air-cooled, 200 Wh/kg battery is expected to yield a range of 80-100 miles. The 360-volt 96-cell lithium-ion polymer battery features a nickel-cobalt-manganese cathode, a graphite-based anode, a gel electrolyte and ceramic separators.
The Soul EV uses Kia’s third-generation regenerative braking system to capture up to 12 percent of the car’s kinetic energy. Drivers can choose among four different regeneration modes.
The Soul EV features a 6.6 kW on-board charger, a SAE J1772 port for Level 1 and Level 2 charging, and a CHAdeMo 480 v DC fast-charging port. Kia has partnered with three charger providers – Bosch, Leviton and AeroVironment – to offer home installation.
The front-wheel drive Soul EV is powered by an 81.4 kW, 109 hp liquid-cooled AC synchronous permanent magnet motor, producing 210 ft-lb of torque. For pedestrian safety, the Soul EV is equipped with a Virtual Engine Sound System that emits an auditory alert at speeds below 12 mph and whenever the car is in reverse.
Kia has tried to minimize the loss of interior space due to the battery – rear seat leg room has been reduced from 39.1 to 36 inches, and rear cargo space has been reduced 5.1 cubic feet, to 19.1, compared to the legacy Soul.
The Soul EV has received UL’s first ever automotive environmental claim validation for its extensive use of bio-based materials. Eco-friendly materials are used in 23 different interior parts, including the door panels, headliner, seat trim, roof pillars and carpeting.
Standard Soul EV amenities include navigation, rear camera display, Bluetooth hands-free operation, cruise control, and a new HVAC system designed to extend driving range by minimizing energy draw.
“The new Soul EV is at the forefront of Kia’s ‘Clean Mobility’ program and will offer an even more environmentally friendly option to our customers when it goes on sale later this year,” said Kia VP Orth Hedrick. “The Soul EV retains the fun and funky style as well as the packaging efficiency and utility that have made the gasoline-powered Soul such a huge hit with consumers. And to that winning combination it adds useable real-world range and multiple charging options, making it the perfect EV for everyone.”