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LA show: Kia set to bare its Soul

Green machine: Kia will play up the green credentials of the new Kia Soul when it pulls the covers from the third-generation model at the Los Angeles motor show.

Electric Kia Soul might be sole candidate for Australian launch

Kia logo15 Nov 2018

KIA has confirmed that its new Soul will include all-electric, hybrid and turbo-petrol powertrains when the third-generation hatchback starts streaming out of its factory next year.
 
If it comes to Australia – Kia Motors Australia is yet to lock it in – there is a good chance that this market will follow Europe’s lead and take only the EV version to slot in under the e-Niro electric crossover vehicle that is scheduled to arrive here about the end of next year.
 
Kia has released a teaser image and a few details of the Soul ahead of the Los Angeles motor show where the new model will make its global debut on November 26.
 
The green paint of the show car seen in the side-on teaser image of a tail-light is likely a hint at the green credentials of the new model that is being launched in environmentally conscious California for good reason – that will be the car’s major market.
 
The current Soul never really caught the buying public’s imagination in Australia as it did in the United States where the car is seen as funky and often bought by parents for college-age kids.
 
In Australia, the sole Soul variant, the petrol 2.0-litre Si automatic that sells for $24,990 plus on-road costs, achieves about 30 sales in a good month, which is hardly sufficient to warrant the effort of launching and maintaining the model in a segment where Kia also has the mass-selling Cerato.
 
As an entry level EV, however, the Soul might just find its niche.
 
KMAu executives have said previously that they are aiming to launch three EVs in Australia, starting with the e-Niro late next year, followed by a “small passenger vehicle and a larger SUV-style vehicle”.
 
If that “small passenger vehicle” is indeed the Kia Soul EV, then it would likely arrive in Australian showrooms in late 2019 or 2020.
 
Kia in the United Kingdom has already confirmed it will take the EV Soul next year, meaning a right-hand-drive version with all the right safety credentials will be available should KMAu decide to take it.
 
KMAu general manager of media and corporate communications Kevin Hepworth told GoAuto today that local product managers had yet to see the car.
 
He said the company was likely to have more to say on the product once it was unveiled in Los Angeles.
 
Kia has sold an electric Soul in some parts of the US, Europe and South Korea since 2014. Its 30kWh battery powers an 81kW/285Nm electric motor driving the front wheels. Depending on the test method, driving range varies from 180km to 250km.
 
American reports suggest the Soul EV will get the smaller of two battery packs offered in the e-Niro, no doubt to keep the electric Soul as affordable as possible.
 
In e-Niro, the 39kWh battery pack is good for 312km of driving range. The 100kW/395Nm motor drives the front wheels, pushing the car from zero to 100km/h in 9.8 seconds.

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