Kia’s first EV for American buyers takes one of the automaker’s best-selling models and outfits it with an all-electric powertrain. Instead of a gasoline engine, the 2015 Kia Soul EV will use an electric motor powered by a 27-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery. The motor will generate just 109 horsepower, but 210 pound-feet of torque should make the Soul EV feel sufficiently quick around town.
Kia says the Soul EV will cover zero to 62 mph in 11.2 seconds. That’s slower than the gas-powered Soul (which weighs 330 fewer pounds), but still faster than the Nissan Leaf, one of the Soul EV’s electric rivals. Using a 240-volt outlet, the Soul EV’s battery will recharge in less than five hours. The car can also charge on a 120-volt outlet or at a DC fast-charge station. A full battery is rated to deliver 92 miles of range.
The Soul EV will be available in base and Soul+ trim levels. Base models will come equipped with standard Bluetooth, navigation and a rearview camera. A five-year subscription to Kia’s Uvo eServices (a suite of apps connected by smartphone) and Sirius/XM traffic and data services is also included at no cost.
The Soul EV will offer three unique dual-color schemes, along with a unique grille design, 16-inch wheels and LED lighting to distinguish it from the regular model. Inside, bright white accent trim and interior plastic made from bio materials like sugar cane and corn reinforce the Soul EV’s environmental statement.
Stand-alone options will include leather upholstery and a range-maximizing heat pump for the climate control system. The latter is a sophisticated unit that can deliver hot or cool air only to the driver and can also be scheduled to heat or cool the cabin while connected to the charging cable.
The 2015 Kia Soul EV goes on sale this fall, but you’ll have to live in California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey or Maryland to buy one. Kia hasn’t announced pricing yet, but expect a starting price in the high $20,000 to low $30,000 range (before a $7,500 federal tax incentive and any applicable state incentives) similar to cars like the Chevrolet Spark EV, Fiat 500e and Nissan Leaf.