Kia made waves at the Chicago Auto Show by debuting the all-electric 2015 Soul EV. The new version of the popular Soul is set to officially come to market during the third quarter of 2014. It is the first all-electric Kia model in the United States, entering a rapidly growing market for electric vehicles across the nation. Kia also says the Soul EV fits into its commitment as a company to create environmentally-conscious vehicles, especially those that reduce dependency on non-renewable energy sources.
The bad news is that if you don’t live in California, Oregon, Maryland, New Jersey, or New York, you’ll have to wait a little longer to get your hands on the 2015 Kia Soul EV. The company says it will start rolling out the new model in those states since there is a strong demand and ready charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Plans to expand the market to other states have not officially been detailed out.
Engineers located the lithium-ion polymer battery under the Soul’s floor, which avoids intrusion into the passenger or cargo area. According to Kia, range is expected to be about 80 to 100 miles in real-world driving, with especially careful drivers exceeding 100 miles on a single charge.
The vehicle is outfitted with the third generation of Kia’s regenerative braking system, which has the ability to capture up to 12 percent of the kinetic energy from the car. That energy goes back into the battery while the Soul EV is braking or coasting, helping extend the vehicle’s driving range.
Dual charging ports are located behind a sliding door in the Soul EV’s front grille, allowing for charging through 120v, 240v and 480v fast-charging stations. The fastest charging time is just 33 minutes for an 80 percent charge, when using a 50 kW charger. Owners will have the option of charging their car at any Kia dealership for absolutely no cost.