Kia Soul EV Confirmed For U.S. Market In 2014
After months of speculation and a couple of sightings of test cars in the wild, an electric version of the Kia Soul EV will definitely be arriving in the U.S. as a 2014 model year. In a brief press statement yesterday following the media launch of the completely redesigned 2014 Kia Soul, the South Korean automaker confirmed that U.S. buyers will be able to buy an all-electric Soul EV sometime next year.
No pricing or specifications have been released, making it tough to see where the Kia Soul EV will fit into the marketplace. What we do know however from seeing Kia Soul EV prototypes out in the wild, and what some Kia dealers have accidentally let slip, is that CHAdeMO Quick charge is likely to come as standard. Like the Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi i, that translates to being able to recharge a Kia Soul EV from empty to nearly full in about half an hour.
Previous speculative reports indicate that Kia Soul EV specifications will likely stack up on par with other small electric cars: a range of around 100 miles per charge, a top speed of 87 mph, and a 0-62 mph time of around 12 seconds.
The Kia Soul EV will share the same redesigned body as its gasoline 2014 model year counterpart. According to Kia, that translates to a quieter and larger interior, a longer and wider wheelbase, and a slight reduction in height.
To differentiate the Soul EV from its gasoline counterparts, Kia said the Soul EV will be offered with “new styling cues.” Kia hasn’t said specifically what these will be, but hinted they will aid aerodynamics, so likely candidates include a modified front bumper and grille, side-skirts, and perhaps a specially-designed rear spoiler. The overall boxy design of the Soul is polarizing. You either love it or you hate it. Regardless, it will offer a clear contrast from existing EV designs, such as the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus Electric, and Fiat 500e.
In addition, Kia said, the Soul EV will be up to 85 percent recyclable at the end of its life, although between 80 and 95 percent of most vehicles today, regardless of powertrain, can be recycled.
A Compliance Car?
Kia said it will unveil more details about the Soul EV at an “upcoming major U.S. auto show.” The 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show in November would be a logical venue. Kia said the Soul EV will be available in “select markets,” which has become come to mean a limited-production car available only in California (in order to meet the state's mandate to produce a small number of zero emission vehicles).
Kia's parent company, Hyundai, is expected to meet California regulations by producing hydrogen fuel cell cars rather than plug-in vehicles.
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