Following the launch of the Soul EV (earlier post) late last year in California, along with sales beginning in Georgia, Texas, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii earlier this year, Kia Motors America (KMA) is expanding availability of its fully charged urban runabout into four new states: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland. KMA’s announcement will bring the total number of states selling the Soul EV to 10.
Nineteen Kia dealers will be certified to sell and service the Soul EV across these four states, and customers will have access to charging stations installed at these facilities. The Soul EV will be sold in eight New York dealerships, six New Jersey dealerships, three Maryland dealerships, and two Connecticut dealerships. From January through September, KMA has sold 727 units of the Soul EV, according to the monthly compilation by hybridcars.com.
Soul EV sales in the Northeast will begin in the fourth quarter. Soul EV owners will easily be able to locate charging stations using the standard UVO EV Services telematics system. Available at no cost for the first five years of ownership, UVO EV Services utilizes an embedded connectivity solution powered by the Verizon network and an integral smartphone app to provide Soul EV owners with an in-vehicle connectivity experience that includes navigation and a number of convenience features.
Offered in two trims, Base and + (Plus), the 2016 Soul EV MSRP4 is $33,950 (not including federal tax rebate of $7,500) for the Base and $35,950 (not including federal tax rebate of $7,500) for the Plus. A lease price of $249/month for the Soul EV Base is also available.
The Soul EV also has an EPA estimated range rating of 93 miles with an MPGe of 92 miles highway and 120 miles city for a combined fuel economy of 105 miles.
The Soul EV plugs into any standard 120V outlet or a conventional 240V EV charger. Two charging ports are standard, including a SAE J1772 port for Level 1 and Level 2 AC, and a CHAdeMo DC fast-charging port (480V). Found behind a sliding door located in the front grille, the dual ports offer flexibility. Recharging times vary from 24 hours for a fully depleted battery using a standard 120V outlet and under five hours when plugged into a 240v outlet. An 80-percent charge can be achieved from empty in as little as 33 minutes with a 50 kW-output DC fast charger. Kia has partnered with three charger providers—Bosch, Leviton and AeroVironment.
The front-wheel-drive Soul EV is powered by a 109-hp (81 kW) electric motor, producing 210 lb-ft (285 N·m) of torque. The liquid-cooled AC synchronous permanent magnet motor uses multi-layer magnets to help improve efficiency and reduce the whine common to most electric vehicles. The motor delivers its power to the front wheels through a single-speed constant-ratio gear reduction unit.
The battery pack’s location beneath the floor results in a lower center of gravity, which helps ride and handling and ensures that the EV remains true to the Soul’s fun-to-drive reputation. Additional cross bracing beneath the low-mounted battery contributes to a 5.9% improvement in torsional rigidity over the gasoline-powered Soul and offers protection to the battery.
In an effort to maximize efficiency and range, the Soul EV uses Kia’s third-generation regenerative braking system to capture up to 12% of the car’s kinetic energy, which is fed back into the battery while the Soul EV is coasting and braking. Soul EV owners can choose between four drive mode combinations: “Drive” or “Brake” modes in Eco-mode “Off,” and “Drive” or “Brake” modes in Eco-mode “On” (the “Brake” or “B” setting with Eco-mode “On” producing the most regeneration).