All-electric Kia Soul EV production starts

Production of the new all-electric Kia Soul EV has begun for markets including the UK, where the Soul EV is expected to launch during late 2014.

The Soul EV is being built at Kia’s Gwangju facility in South Korea, and initial output is planned to be 5,000 units annually. This is the first electric vehicle to be marketed by Kia outside of the manufacturer’s home market.

108bhp electric motor

The Kia Soul EV, which was first revealed to the public last February in Chicago, is driven by a 108bhp electric motor powered by a lithium ion battery pack. The batteries are located beneath the floor of the Kia but this has little impact on cabin space for passengers.

With this electric powertrain the Soul EV can go from a standstill to 62mph in 11.2 seconds. It also has a top speed of 90mph and a claimed maximum travel range of 100 miles.

Charging is accomplished by plugging the Soul EV into any standard household electricity supply. Recharging can take up to five hours for a fully depleted battery using a 6.6 kW AC slow charger. However, an 80 per cent charge can be achieved in as little as 25 minutes with a faster 100 kW charger.

The Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Kia, Thomas Oh, commented: “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.

Kia’s second-generation battery electric vehicle

“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.”

Compared to the new standard Soul, launched in the UK back in April, the EV has not changed radically in terms of design. One significant difference, however, is the new bespoke front grille. This redesigned grille is where the Soul EV stores its electric charging points.

Other design changes for the Soul EV include ED daytime running lights and taillights and 16-inch alloy wheels. The wheels have been especially designed for maximum aerodynamic performance, benefitting the car’s maximum travel range.

Pricing for the Kia Soul EV in the UK is unconfirmed, but it is likely to have a higher starting price then the standard Soul. Current pricing for the non-electric Kia Soul begins at £12,600.