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Kia announces tech specs for Soul EV

Leaf blower: Kia has used expertise gained from developing its Korea-only Ray EV in engineering the electrified Soul.

Class leading range for Soul EV, as Kia readies for launch in second half of 2014

13 Nov 2013

KIA has released the mechanical specs for its electrified Soul hatch prior to its global roll-out next year, claiming a “class-leading” electric range of more than 200km.

As we have reported, the all-electric version of the second-generation Soul will launch in global markets in the second half of next year, although Kia Australia said it has no plans to bring the Soul EV Down Under.

The Soul EV will be Kia’s first all-electric zero-emissions vehicle sold outside the Korean market, where the company already offers the quirky tall-boy Ray EV.

Kia claims the boxy youth-focussed hatch will have a best-in-segment range of more than 200km when it launches.

Competing EVs of a similar size include the Nissan Leaf which has a range of 170km for the Australian-spec version, but the updated model that is already on sale in Europe and Japan features a 200km range.

Volkswagen’s recently announced e-Golf can drive up to 190km before running out of electric power and the US-spec Ford Focus Electric has a range of 122km.

Powering the Soul EV is a high-capacity 27kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack matched with an 81kW electric motor that produces 285Nm of torque. Power is delivered to the front wheels via a single-speed constant ratio gear reduction unit.

Kia is predicting a zero to 100km/h sprint time of around 12 seconds, before hitting a top speed of approximately 145km/h. The Soul EV captures energy through regenerative braking, recycling it back into the battery when coasting or braking for even greater efficiency.

Charging a fully depleted battery can take up to five hours with a standard household power supply, but this is reduced to 25 minutes when using a fast charge with a 100kW output.

Due to the completely silent drivetrain, Kia has incorporated a ‘Virtual Engine Sound System’ that emits an audio alert when traveling at speeds of up to 20km/h or when reversing for the safety of pedestrians.

Kia is currently testing the Soul EV, with a number of camouflaged prototypes being put through their paces at Kia’s Namyang research and development centre in Korea as well as in the USA and Europe.

Kia Motors Corporation executive vice-president and COO Thomas Oh said the South Korean car-maker gained extensive knowledge of EV production thanks to the development of its Ray EV that went on sale in its home market in 2011.

“The new Soul EV will be at the forefront of Kia’s new ‘Clean Mobility’ program to provide environmentally-friendly transport to our customers around the world when it goes on sale globally next year,” he said.

“Although it is Kia’s first globally-sold all-electric vehicle, the Soul EV is our second-generation battery electric vehicle and significantly benefits from our in-depth experience gained from development of the Ray EV and proven daily operations of the Ray EV fleet for the past three years.”

Even the cabin of the Soul EV will have an eco vibe, with interior trim and components using recycled materials such as Bio Plastic, Bio Foam, Bio Fabric and Bio PET Felt and low-volatile organic compounds. Some materials including the paint have antibacterial properties.

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