THE LONE RANGER
2015 KIA Soul EV
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Fri, Apr 10, 2015
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By Roy Nakano
Among the pure electric vehicles in its price class, the new KIA Soul EV stands alone in wearing an EPA-rated range in the 90s—93 miles to be exact.* But in our 80-mile Monrovia-to-Santa Ana-and-back-to-Monrovia freeway loop, the Soul EV completed it with over 40 miles to spare. That’s a new record for pure electrics in our book, giving this electrified compact crossover the coveted title of The Lone Ranger.
Coming to the electric car party a couple years late afforded Kia the opportunity to one-up the early arrivers. The biggest difference between them is the 27kWh lithium ion polymer battery pack fitted to the Soul EV. That compares very favorably to the 21-24kWh packs found in the EV early birds—and probably plays a big part in the 90+ miles EPA rating.
Also unusual to see in the Soul EV are front seats with AC ventilation. Heated front seats (which the Soul EV also has) is common among most EVs, and is a good way to keep you warm without wasting energy to heat up the whole cabin. The AC ventilation does more-or-less the same thing—keeping you cool without the need to cool off the entire interior. Expect to see this the other car companies play catch-up with this feature in future EVs.
Kia also loaded up a basket-full of other features in the Soul EV: leather seat trim, heated rear outboard seats, a navigation system with an eight-inch display, UVO (Kia says UVO stands for “Your Voice”) EV services, SiriusXM Satellite Radio with a complimentary three-month subscription, Bluetooth wireless technology, an EV charging station locator, an Energy Usage Monitor, smart key technology, a parking assist system with front and rear sensors, and a rear camera display.
As with many of the better EVs in this price range, the Soul EV incorporates Level 3 charging (a CHAdeMo system in the Kia), which allows for 80 percent of the charge to be completed in 30 minutes—assuming you can find such a charger in your locale. This is one area where the infrastructure is still playing catch-up to the manufacturers. Kia says all its dealers that sell the Soul EV will soon have Level 3 charging available.
The Soul EV also has the distinction of being the only SUV crossover-like vehicle among the EV crowd in this price range. That means the driver sits up high and has a commanding view of the road. It also means the Soul EV is less sporty than its car-like counterparts around corners and on the twisties. If you’re looking for an EV that drives like a sport sedan, look elsewhere. On the other hand, the Soul EV offers plenty of room for its passengers. The occupants sit upright in a cabin with plenty of headroom for you and your favorite hat.
Curiously, the Soul EV has little trunk space—less than the Volkswagen e-Golf hatchback. If you plan on carrying a full load of people and luggage to the airport, it might be tight squeeze—unless you don’t mind stacking the luggage to block your rearward view. Of course, if you have less than a full load of people, the rear seatbacks fold down for more cargo space.
So if you can live with its deficits in the fund-to-drive and cargo-carrying categories (well okay, and a sound system that’s merely adequate), the Soul EV has a lot going for it: The longest EPA-rated range of any pure electric car in its class, air conditioned seats up front, heated seats front and rear, fast Level 3 charging capability, and the driving position of an SUV crossover. But in the end, it’s all about the range—and Kia has thrown down the gauntlet for all others to play catch-up.
* Editor’s Note: The operative term here is “in its price class”. We’re not including the mega-buck Tesla S; nor are we counting last year’s Tesla-built Toyota RAV4 EV, which is significantly above this price class.
For more information about Kia products, go to kiausa.com
Link opened into new tab:
Name of vehicle:
2015 KIA Soul EV
Standard equipment includes leather seat trim, heated and AC-ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, navigation system with eight-inch display, UVO EV services, SiriusXM Satellite Radio with free three-month subscription, Bluetooth wireless technology, EV charging station locator, Energy Usage Monitor, smart key technology, Park Assist System with front and rear sensors, and rear camera display.
$35,700 (+$800 destination charge)
Federal tax credit: up to $7,500
California clean car cash rebate: $2,500 (check availability)
$1999 down payment
$249 per month for 36 months
California clean car cash rebate on lease: $2,500 (check availability)
109 horsepower(81.4kW) AC synchronous electric motor
27kWh lithium ion polymer battery pack
6.6kW on-board charger (OBC)
DC fast charge port (480V)
EPA mileage estimates:
93 miles range
120 city/92 highway MPGe
Single speed, direct drive
MacPherson strut front independent suspension with stabilizer bar
Torsion beam rear suspension with stabilizer bar
Four-wheel disc brakes with AntiLock Brake System (ABS) with Brake Assist System (BAS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)
Wheels and tires:
16 x 6.5 inch alloy wheels and 205R16-16 all-season tires with Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
Overall length: 163 inches
Overall width: 70.9 inches
Overall height: 63 inches
Curb weight (lbs.): 3,289 pounds