Kia Motors, an affiliate of Hyundai Motor, has debuted the full-electric version of its hot-selling Soul compact, joining the heated competition in the nation’s nascent EV market. Its Korean sales will start in April.
The carmaker predicts that the Soul EV will go down in history as an important stepping stone for future development in the domestic market for electric cars, and eco-friendly vehicles in general.
“The Soul EV is proudly Hyundai-Kia’s most recent masterpiece that integrates all of the company’s latest existing technologies for electric cars,” said Lee Ki-sang, senior vice president of Hyundai-Kia’s ECO Technology Center.
“Our know-how for electric and eco-friendly cars as well as our efforts to deliver mutual benefit for parts makers allowed us to successfully localize all of the car’s core components,” he added.
The Soul EV, built from eco-friendly materials like bio-plastics and bio-fibers, mimics the design of the company’s “All New Soul” that launched in 2013, but runs completely on an 81.4-kilowatt electric motor powered by a 27 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery.
A fully charged battery, which takes only 24 to 33 minutes through DC quick-charge and about 4 hours and 20 minutes with the slower AC charging method, has a 148-kilometer driving range, according to Kia.
Moreover, the car churns out a maximum speed of 145 kilometers per hour, a torque of 285 Newton meters and can jump from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in 11.2 seconds.
Some innovations on board the Soul EV are individual ventilation, air induction control, a next-generation regenerative braking system and a heat pump system, which utilizes all of the excess heat emitted by the car to help operate its heaters.
While these technologies aim to optimize energy efficiency, other features include a virtual engine sound system for pedestrian safety, an EV-exclusive cluster and an audio-visual navigation that incorporates UVO eService (Kia’s telematics service), permitting remote checkups of car status and remote arrangements of battery recharge using a smartphone.
Unlike the Ray EV, the Soul EV will also be introduced to markets in Europe and North America, the carmaker said.
Although the official price has not been revealed yet, the company claims it will be competitively priced near 42 million won ($39,000), but may be purchased around 20 million won if the subsidies from the Ministry of Environment and local governments are combined.
By Kim Joo-hyun (email@example.com