UK battery-powered car choice widens with the arrival of all-electric Kia Soul EV.
Electric cars just got funkier in Britain with the launch of the EV version of the quirky Kia Soul.
Priced at £24,995 (after the £5,000 government plug-in grant), its lithium-ion polymer batteries give the Soul EV a claimed “class-leading” range of up to 132 miles.
The batteries are mounted underneath the car and have an energy storage capacity of 27 kilowatt-hours – again “more than its competitors”, says Kia.
The batteries have a special casing which protects them from stone damage and spray thrown up by the wheels. The ducts to heat and cool them are located beneath the rear passenger seats.
The remainder of the electric drive components are mounted beneath the bonnet, where the internal combustion engine is mounted in the standard Soul.
The EV can easily be identified because the radiator grille has been blanked off (the electric motor requires less cooling than a petrol or diesel engine) and the charging ports are hidden behind a panel in this blanked-off section.
Owners have the option of recharging the batteries from a standard domestic socket, via the Kia-branded wallbox supplied as standard with the Soul EV or at a public fast charger, or through a public rapid charger.
Using a UK 230-volt domestic power supply, the Soul EV can be fully recharged in 10 to 13 hours. With the wallbox or at a public fast-charge point, the time is reduced to around five hours.
Kia says the electric motor is so quiet that it is fitted with a Virtual Engine Sound system at low speeds in both forward and reverse gears to alert pedestrians and cyclists that it is in the vicinity.
The Soul EV has a top speed of 90mph, can accelerate from 0-60mph in 10.8 seconds and comes with Kia’s unbeatable seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
Whenever the driver coasts or brakes, kinetic energy (energy caused by motion), which is normally wasted, is captured and channelled into the batteries through the regenerative braking system. The Soul EV’s range is therefore constantly being topped up on the move, particularly in urban traffic where stops and restarts are frequent.
To help maximise the car’s range, the Soul EV has two different performance levels – DRIVE and BRAKE – both of which can additionally be operated in ECO mode as a further means of extending the car’s range.
The driver is therefore able to vary the recharging effect of the regenerative braking system and the performance of the car according to the requirements at any particular time and this can be monitored via a 3.5-inch OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) information cluster displaying energy flow, battery level, charging time and the selected settings for the air conditioning system.
The Kia Soul is incredibly spacious inside, as you can read in our recent review of the standard car.
The reshaped floor has meant there’s an 8cm reduction in rear-seat legroom which Kia says it has compensated for by changing the materials used for the rear-seat construction.
Luggage capacity is 281 litres, a reduction of 31 litres compared with other versions of the Soul, because the luggage undertray is used to house both charging cables. However, with the 60:40 split rear seats lowered, luggage capacity is still a healthy 891 litres.