Kia's Soul bared - and it's an EV
30th December 2014
This is the Kia Soul EV, the first electric car offered by the company to make it to the UK.
As you might appreciate, transforming the Soul into a pure electric vehicle involved some extensive reengineering. At its heart is a class-leading 27kWh battery pack and a 108bhp electric motor which combine to produce 210lb ft of pulling power. The battery back weighs a hefty 274.5kg, but is able to give the Soul EV a theoretical range of 132 miles.
The pack has been mounted deliberately low in the floor to maintain as low a centre of gravity as possible. Only 31-litres of boot space has been lost in the transformation process, but more noticeably, there is also a reduction in rear legroom of 80mm, mitigated slightly be redesigned seats.
Designed to nip in and out of city traffic and navigate a tight-knit urban landscape, the Soul EV is able to sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 10.8 seconds before going on to reach its maximum speed of 90mph.
A full charge from a standard domestic socket is able to be completed in 13 hours, but fast chargers are able to cut this to five. The temperature of the batteries is constantly monitored to maintain optimum performance and longevity. Kia is offering the standard 7-year/100,000-mile warranty available on its standard models – a welcome and impressive vote of confidence for such a forward-looking car.
Regenerative braking has the ability to harvest additional battery storage capability when coasting or slowing.
Other technologies built into the EV to help it make the most of its efficient powertrain, include an intelligent climate control system that is able to tell when only the driver is on board. Aerodynamic drag is reduced by the fitment of super-low rolling resistant tyres which use up to 10% less energy than regular low-rolling resistance items.
After the £5,000 government grant has been deducted, the Soul EV costs from £24,995. Whilst high compared to mainstream Soul’s (its twice the price of the regular entry-level Kia Soul), it actually presents quite decent value for money. It is marginally cheaper than the Volkswagen e-Golf but has a larger claimed range, is slightly bigger inside and is already finished in top-spec trim.
Inside, the Soul EV is constructed from as many ‘green’ materials, including bio-degradable plastic, bio-foam and bio-fabric all being counted. The interior is trimmed in Grey Eco Cloth with blue stitching and high-gloss white dashboard, designed to complement one of two external colour schemes: Caribbean Blue metallic with a Clear White roof, or Titanium Silver metallic.
You also get an 8-inch touchscreen with European mapping, Traffic Messaging, reversing camera, climate control, heated front seats, keyless entry, projection headlights with LED running lights, rear privacy glass, 16-inch alloy wheels, charger and virtual engine sound. As if that isn’t enough to help justify the price, you also get cruise control, all-round electric windows, folding door mirrors, auto lights, heated steering wheel, parking sensors, LED tail lights, DAB, Bluetooth, Hill Start assist and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
Those families looking for an EV could do well to add the Kia Soul EV to their consideration list. Kia have modest sale ambitions for the Soul EV – forecasting between 100 and 200 models in the first year. So that means you would also be in exclusive company.
This Ais an abrigded article specially prepared buy First4Auto exclusivey for ElectricCar2Buy.
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