Kia Motors unveiled the Kia Soul EV, its first-ever all-electric vehicle, at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show that opened on February 6.
The new model, transformed into an eco-friendly electric vehicle from the Soul first released in 2008, is an ambitious work of Hyundai Motor Group to target the global market.
The EV is based on the platform of its second-generation Soul boxy compact, and is mounted with an 81.4 kilowatt electric motor that has a maximum of 109 horsepower. It can accelerate from 0 to 100 kph in 12 seconds, which is roughly on par with the performance of the naturally aspirated gasoline-engine Soul.
Kia said that the vehicle using 27 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion energy cells can travel 148 kilometers on a single charge. Recharging time varies from 25 minutes using a 100 kilowatt high-power charger to five hours using 240 volt power outlets.
In addition, Kia Motors placed a flat battery on the bottom of the vehicle in order to secure ample indoor space. By lowering the center of gravity of the car, Kia Motors improved driving stability. The car also has a third-generation regenerative breaking system that can recycle energy more efficiently. The torsional strength is also improved by 5.9 percent compared to those of existing gasoline models. The car measures 4.1 meters long, 1.8 meters wide, and 1.6 meters high.
Kia argued that the new eco-friendly car compares favorably to such rivals as the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus EV, and Volkswagen e-Golf.
Kia sold 164,455 Souls last year, with the demand particularly strong in the US. US consumers bought 101,706 units of the first model Soul and 16,373 newer versions of the vehicle. Kia’s choice of the Soul as its first EV targeting the global market is no surprise.
Kia said the electric vehicle will arrive in the Korean market in April, and in the US and other world markets in the second half of the year. Pricing for the car has not yet been released.