Production of the Kia Soul EV has begun at the companies Gwangju facility in Korea, where annual output of the electric car is initially planned to reach 5,000 units.
A landmark in Kia’s history, the zero-emissions Soul EV is Kia’s first electric vehicle to be marketed by the company outside Korea.
The first vehicles off the production line are destined for select European countries and are scheduled to go on sale across the continent during the second half of the year.
“Now that production of export models has begun, the new Soul EV is truly at the forefront of Kia’s ‘Clean Mobility’ program, providing environmentally-friendly transport to our customers around the world,” commented Thomas Oh, Executive Vice President and COO, Kia Motors Corporation.
“Although it is Kia’s first globally-sold all-electric vehicle, the Soul EV is our second-generation battery electric vehicle and benefits significantly from our in-depth experience gained from development of the Ray EV and proven daily operations of the Ray EV fleet in Korea for the past three years.”
Embodying the iconic design language of the second-generation Kia Soul, that went on sale in the UK in April, the Soul EV is a uniquely designed battery electric vehicle perfectly suited for city commuters thanks to its class-leading drive range, a spacious cabin and generous cargo area.
A 192-cell 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack gives the Soul EV a driving range of up to 130 miles.
Power comes from an 81.4 kW (110 ps) electric motor, producing a generous and instantly available 285 Nm (29 kg/m) of torque, driving the front wheels via a single speed constant ratio gear reduction unit.
Ensuring that the Soul EV retains all the ‘fun-to-drive’ character of the regular Soul, acceleration to 62 mph is predicted to take 11.2 seconds, while top speed is in the region of 90 mph.
The battery pack is mounted beneath the cabin, ensuring a low centre of gravity and contributing to the car’s ride, handling and refinement.
Recharging times are up to five hours for a fully depleted battery using a 6.6 kW AC slow charger. An 80 per cent 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 rapid charger.
The new Soul EV has achieved the world automotive industry’s first UL Environment Validation for containing 23,942 grams of bio-based plastic and 10 per cent bio-based organic carbon content. The 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.
The Soul EV will go on sale in the UK from late 2014.