Kia Motors has begun volume production of its new all-electric Kia Soul EV for export sales. The zero-emissions Soul EV is Kia’s first electric vehicle to be marketed by the company outside Korea.
The first vehicles off the production line are headed for select European countries and are scheduled to go on sale across the continent during the second half of the year. The Soul EV is manufactured at Kia’s Gwangju facility in Korea, where annual output of the electric car is initially planned to reach 5,000 units.
“Now that production of export models has begun, the new Soul EV is truly at the forefront of Kia’s ‘Clean Mobility’ program, providing environmentally-friendly transport to our customers around the world,” commented Thomas Oh, executive vice-president and COO, Kia Motors Corporation.
“Although it is Kia’s first globally-sold all-electric vehicle, the Soul EV is our second-generation battery electric vehicle and benefits significantly from our in-depth experience gained from development of the Ray EV and proven daily operations of the Ray EV fleet in Korea for the past three years.”
Featuring a high-capacity 192-cell 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack (mounted beneath the cabin), 212km of the Soul EV’s drive range is now certified for Europe. Key enablers for the Soul EV’s outstanding drive range are industry-leading 200 Wh/kg cell energy density and a number of state-of-the art energy-saving features such as the new heat pump, smart air intake control system and a new individual ventilation system that ensure maximum driving range without losing energy for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC). The Soul EV also employs regenerative braking to capture and recycle into the battery the kinetic energy generated while the car is coasting and braking.
Power comes from an 81.4 kW (110 ps) electric motor, producing an instantly available 285 Nm (29 kg/m) of torque, driving the front wheels via a single speed constant ratio gear reduction unit.
Ensuring that the Soul EV retains all the ‘fun-to-drive’ character of the regular Soul, zero to 100kph is predicted to take 11.2 seconds, while top speed is in the region of 145kph.
Charging is done by plugging the Soul EV into any standard household electricity supply. Recharging times are up to five hours for a fully depleted battery using a 6.6 kW AC slow charger. An 80 per cent charge can be achieved in as little as 25 minutes with a 100 kW charger or 33 minutes using a 50 kW DC charger.