The Soul EV, Kia’s second electric vehicle, is slated for release in April 2014 to the Korean and European markets. It is powered by an 81.4-kW motor with a maximum output and torque of 111 ps and around 29 kgf-m, respectively. It also comes with a high-capacity 27-kWh lithium ion battery boasting the highest-level energy density (200 Wh/kg) in its class. The per-charge driving range is around 148km (certified by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy). The Soul EV features an EV heat-pump system, which extends driving range by using high-efficiency energy generated by the refrigerant circulation process or the waste heat from the motor or inverter when the air-conditioner or heater, respectively, is in use. It takes around 24 hours and 20 minutes with a 240-V regular charger.
The battery pack, placed under the car’s floor, allows for a spacious interior and lowers the vehicle’s centre of gravity for safer driving. The Soul EV has a larger percentage of ultra-high-strength steel in the vehicle body than its gasoline counterpart, increasing torsional rigidity by 27%. Given that the electric motor makes no noise, the Soul EV is equipped with a Virtual Engine Sound System (VESS) that emits artificial engine noises t alert pedestrians when the vehicle is driving at a low speed or backing up. With 23.9kg of interior materials made of bio-friendly materials, the Soul EV received a green certification from Underwriters Laboratories (UL).