Kia Motors has begun volume production of its new all-electric Kia Soul EV (earlier post) for export sales at its Kia’s Gwangju facility in Korea. The first vehicles are destined for select European countries and are scheduled to go on sale across the continent during the second half of the year. Annual output of the electric car is initially planned to reach 5,000 units.
Although the Soul EV is Kia’s first electric vehicle to be marketed by the company outside Korea, it is the company’s second-generation battery electric vehicle. It benefits from the experience gained from development of the Ray EV and proven daily operations of the Ray EV fleet in Korea for the past three years, said Thomas Oh, Executive Vice President and COO, Kia Motors Corporation.
|Battery packs on the production line. Click to enlarge.
Featuring a high-capacity 192-cell 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, the Soul EV has been certified with a 212 km (132 mile) driving range for Europe. Key enablers for the Soul EV’s drive range are a 200 Wh/kg cell energy density and a number of advanced energy-saving features—such as a new heat pump, smart air intake control system and a new individual ventilation system—that ensure maximum driving range without loosing energy for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC). The Soul EV 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 (109 hp) electric motor, producing 285 N·m (210 lb-ft) of torque, driving the front wheels via a single speed constant ratio gear reduction unit. Acceleration to 100 km/h (62 mph) will take 11.2 seconds, while top speed is in the region of 145 km/h (90 mph).
The battery pack is mounted beneath the cabin, ensuring a low center of gravity and contributing to the car’s ride, handling and refinement.
Charging is accomplished 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% charge can be achieved in as little as 25 minutes with a 100 kW charger (if available) or 33 minutes using a 50 kW DC charger.
The new Soul EV has achieved the automotive industry’s first UL Environment Validation for containing 23,942 grams of bio-based plastic and 10% bio-based organic carbon content. Soul EV’s recyclable interior materials include Bio Plastic, Bio Foam, Bio Fabric and Bio PET Felt, together with low volatile organic compounds and newly developed antibacterial materials and paint.