By on November 12, 2013

Kia Soul EV

If you’re into EVs but find theTesla Model S too expensive, and the Leaf too jelly bean, then Kia would like to offer you something with a bit of soul. An electric Soul, that is.

The Soul EV will be the first EV sold outside of South Korea, with experience gained from the development and limited introduction of the Ray EV to government and rental fleets in their native market. Though no specific date has been set for the Soul EV’s North American rollout, Kia says to expect the electric hamstermobile to arrive in showrooms sometime in the second half of 2014, possibly bearing a 2015 model year designation.

If you’re lucky enough to be introduced to the Soul EV next year, expect drive away in a vehicle made for the city without looking like an electric wizard. Under the hood will be an electric motor pushing 109 horses out through the front door while providing 210 square-pounds of Whole Foods Market-pulling torque. Zero to 60 takes about 12 seconds, and you’ll be able to go back to the future with the Soul EV’s top speed of 90 mph.

The Soul EV will utilize what Kia calls the Virtual Engine Sound System, or VESS. At 12 mph or less, or while backing out with those organic goodies, the VESS will emit an audio alert of some sort to warn those hipsters to move out of your way in an ironic manner.

As for range and charging, the Soul EV is definitely meant for commuting to and from the hip neighborhood you call a home, with a target range of 120 miles per charge. While putting in your time at that awesome startup that will revolutionize the way you play with running vicious candy farmers, the Soul’s 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack will take five hours to charge on a standard 240v outlet, or 25 minutes on fast-charging through a 100 kW outlet.

Finally, the Soul EV is not only eco-conscious on the road, but is totally granola on the inside as well: the materials used are composed of biomass, from the foam in the seats to the dashboard holding the instrument cluster and 8-inch display.

The price of admission to feel like an electric hamster? Unknown as of this time, though word on the street is that it might be sold for around $35,000 on our shores. Like the Fiat 500e, this is strictly a compliance car meant to appease regulators. Hyundai’s corporate direction for ZEVs will be based around fuel cells, not electric vehicles.

In the meantime, enjoy this brief spy shot gallery with some bonus meta-commentary on the idea of “exclusivity.”

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16 Comments on “Hamster Heart, Electric Soul...”


  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I can just imagine the commercials: “The Electric Hamster”.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Morrissey fan?

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Nice BTTF reference. (Beer can and banana peel fusion is just a couple years away, right?)

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    “The Soul EV will be the first EV sold outside of South Korea,…”

    I don’t think you meant that. First Kia EV perhaps?
    .
    .

    • 0 avatar
      alexndr333

      Thank you, E46. I took delivery last week of a Chevy Spark EV. Korean-assembled with an American-made battery. $27,800 (LT2 option) and a hoot to drive. No TTAC love for this little Spark SS?

      • 0 avatar
        E46M3_333

        I’m wondering:

        1. Do you have to pay sales tax on the pre-tax credit price? I assume the $27.8K is before credits.

        2. Do you still get the fed and CA tax credits if you have a relatively high income?
        .
        .

        • 0 avatar
          alexndr333

          E46: I leased the car for 36 months (10,000 miles per year) so paid sales tax only on the capitalized cost. GM provided a $3400 discount on the lease, which is why I didn’t buy it. The California incentive is a cash payment of $2500. The U.S. tax credit is $7500 and is filed with my 2013 return next April. Both these incentives apply whether you lease or purchase, and neither is income-dependent. In total, the lease gets $13,400 in discounts – nearly half the cost of the car. I’m a strong supporter of the Dems and Obama, but still find this much incentive unwarranted. (But they’re there, so I’ll take ‘em!)

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          @E46: Sales tax on my Leaf was calculated on the final price. Nissan takes the Federal tax credit for themselves (as a deduction off MSRP), so the buyer doesn’t have to qualify income-wise.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Don’t know which is worse, the Soul EV or the trying to be hip write-up.

    On balance, I think I prefer the Kia, but it’s a horserace.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Fuel cells are a fool’s errand, IMO – no infrastructure and a host of consumer handling issues.

    This Soul might be OK, but it’s very late to the EV game – I don’t see the point. By 2015 Nissan will have 100k EVs on the road – and Tesla maybe 50k – and both companies will have 2nd-, 3rd-, or 4th-generation vehicles by that time. Plus, the Leaf and mythical Model E will be cheaper.

    Also, how long will Kia keep pushing the Soul box shape? It has a lot of utility, but it’ll be pretty ripe by 2015.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      I’m sure that fuel cells are (reluctantly) backed by the oil companies; it fits their wasteful energy infrastructure perfectly.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      SOFCs that take hydrocarbons directly would be worthwhile, if they can get 20-25kWh out of a gallon of gas and they cost no more than $0.10/W (half that would be better).

    • 0 avatar
      Cowgirl

      The Soul looks more cool than most other EV, that is if you like the gangster toaster look. Very functional space and the sitting position is great. The Leaf was very uncomfortable, my back was hurting after sitting in it for less than 1 minute, I had to exit it immediately as it did tweak my back. The upright sitting position of the Soul will appeal to those who prefer or need a more truck like seat.
      Not sure how earth friendly the batteries are….

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    Ugh, too slow.


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