Wednesday 18th November
One of the most difficult things to judge when testing a car is what it’s like to live with day-to-day. We at Zap-Map have a Kia Soul EV for the best part of three weeks to get a good idea of everyday life in Kia’s electric vehicle.
We’ve had the Kia for a week now and I have covered more than 900 miles, which isn’t bad at all in my humble opinion. This is thanks largely to a 110 mile round-trip commute each day, and a trip from the Welsh border to London and back over the weekend. Short of a spontaneous run up to Edinburgh or a sudden fancy to go skiing in the Alps, I reckon it’s been a fairly gruelling test so far.
So what are the early findings? We’d be interested to hear from other Soul EV owners but, having driven all of the EV’s available from major manufacturers, I reckon the Kia is an excellent chariot for motorway runs. Obviously a Tesla sits far better at 60 mph but, when compared to similarly sized and priced rivals like the e-Golf and Leaf, the Soul’s range seems to be impacted upon less when driven at speed.Regardless of this personal feeling, the Soul EV is a comfortable cruiser with plenty of space inside, helped by the boxy design. Strangely, there isn’t much wind noise to contend with, and the only time there was a noticeable intrusion was driving over the Severn Bridge as Storm Barney hit last night (Tuesday 17th November). The slab-sided nature of the Soul EV won’t have helped this but you can hardly blame it for significant wind noise in those more-than blustery conditions.
As for the commute, each run is despatched easily with no range anxiety. On the MPG Marathon earlier in the year, I found that a 100 mile range was easily attainable in the Soul EV without driving too carefully. Covering distances at higher speeds (I want to get into work and home again in reasonable time after all) 80 miles is still a reliable range with some in reserve – not at all bad considering the lower outside temperatures and the heater running inside.
For the 140 mile run to London, I took a cautious three stop approach simply because I knew I wouldn’t have anywhere to charge overnight. Therefore my last charge, at Heston Services near Heathrow, was in effect my overnight top-up and gave me enough to drive cross London, from Fulham in the west to Ilford in the east and a bit of pottering around in between.
Before that, I opted for quick charges at Leigh Delamere and Reading services to split the journey into three roughly equal chunks. If I could have been certain of a working and available charging point at Chieveley services near Newbury (84 miles away from home) I would have been confident of making it with no fuss at all. The return journey was the same but in reverse, though with South Mimms services on the M25 replacing Heston.
All in all, despite taking longer to get to London that it would ordinarily do, the journey was extremely easy, a testament to the Kia Soul and the Ecotricity charging network which, along the M4 at least, has plenty of stops available. To off-set the time element, I remind myself that it only cost around £2.50 (approximately 50 per cent charge at home) to get my wife and I to London and back which is not to be sniffed at in the slightest. It would probably cost more in shoe leather if I decided to take a week out of work and walk the route.
So far, so good then but we will keep you up to date with progress as our time with the Soul EV ticks by.