Kia Soul EV News
Kia unveiled the 2017 Optima Plug-in Hybrid at last month’s Chicago Auto Show. Hyundai-Kia has been slow to the plug-in market, but the plan to roll out the Optima Plug-in Hybrid late this year reveals a commitment from the company to expand its electric offerings.
Kia Soul EV sales have averaged below 100 units a month, placing it in the back of the plug-in pack in 2015—even lower than the discontinued Cadillac ELR. Yet, according to report from UK’s Autocar, Hyundai-Kia is not giving up on the Soul EV. The publication offers this single point about the Soul, which is getting a facelift for 2017: the next EV version will have longer range.
Hyundai will launch a new green car brand, according to a report this week in The Korea Herald. The company is expected to start with a new dedicated conventional gas-electric hybrid, followed by the release plug-in hybrid and pure EV versions of the same car.
Kia has sold on average nearly 100 Soul EVs per month since its introduction in October 2014. Those sales were in California, its only market so far. In an effort to expand sales, Kia announced last week that the Soul EV, offering 93 miles on a single charge, will become available in Georgia, Oregon, Washington, Texas and Hawaii as early as June.
Among the group of EVs priced in the mid-$30,000 range, the Kia Soul offers its iconic groovy design, a little more passenger space, and a slightly larger battery pack that offers about a dozen more miles of range. The Soul EV earned a combined city-highway EPA-estimated range of 93 miles.
By the time the Kia Soul EV goes on sale in the fall, consumers will have no fewer than nine small relatively affordable all-electric cars to consider. This begs the question: What is Kia bringing to the market that is not already available?
Kia Motors confirmed yesterday via a press release that in late 2014 it will offer an all-electric version of the Soul, its youth-oriented affordable small car. The first bullet of Kia’s press release said the Soul EV “targets a range of more than 120 miles.” That’s the metric used in many headlines covering the announcement. It looks like Kia has fallen into the trap of over-promising range—based on its announcement that the size of the battery pack will be 27 kilowatt-hours. The 2014 Kia Soul EV is more likely to deliver real-world range of between 90 and 100 miles.