A few weeks back at the National Press Introduction for the All New 2015 Sedona and the Soul EV I got to test out the 2015 KIA SOUL EV. This was my first big foray into the world of EV vehicles. I live in a small town in Spring Hill, TN, however we even have places to plugin your electric vehicle around the city. It’s becoming more and more prevalent and I keep hearing good things about them so to test out and see the car in action was a wonderful experience. Soul EV Arrives as Kia’s First All-Electric Vehicle in the U.S. So let’s chat…
This stylish car starts out at a Base Price of: $33,700.00 and the Soul EV + is$35,700.00. A good price point for an EV with so many features. As the centerpiece of the Kia’s ‘Clean Mobility’ efforts, the Soul EV is the embodiment of the brand’s environmentally focused mission, transforming the hip urban crossover into Kia’s first mass-market, all-electric zero emissions vehicle to be sold in the U.S. Combining the iconic design of the Soul with advanced eco-friendly technology has landed the Soul EV in a class all its own. Honored with an industry-first automotive environmental validation by Underwriters Laboratory (UL)2 for its innovative use of bio-based materials, the Soul EV also earned an EPA estimated range rating of 93 miles with an MPGe of 92 miles highway and 120 miles city for a combined mileage of 105 miles.
Looks Good From Any Angle
Let’s be honest…What first makes you even consider a new vehicle? The looks. When something drives by you on the road and it makes you turn your head and go hmmm that looks interesting you are halfway there. This ultra hip vehicle looks good from any angle. Am I right? The EV’s look is inspired by the 2012 Kia Track’ster concept and retains the iconic square-shouldered broad stance of the original Soul. Initially, the Soul EV will be offered in four color choices: Caribbean Blue lower body with Clear White roof, Shadow Black lower body with Inferno Red roof, Titanium Gray and Clear White. The EV-exclusive front fascia includes a larger grille area to accommodate the charging ports, and other unique exterior Soul EV design features include color accent trim in the front and rear fascias, projector headlights, LED positioning lamps, and LED tail lights.
Let’s talk Battery and Usable Power
A top concern for EV buyers has commonly been range anxiety. The Soul EV addresses this issue with a highly energy-dense lithium-ion polymer battery. Located beneath the floor, the 27kWh, air-cooled, 200 watt-hour/kg battery enables an EPA estimated range of 93 miles, which is better than all other EVs on the market except the Tesla Model S luxury EV.
The 360-volt, 192-cell, lithium-ion polymer, gel-electrolyte battery has been engineered for high capacity, thermal stability and safety. Accordingly, the battery features a nickel-cobalt-manganese cathode, which helps increase capacity, and a carbon graphite-based anode, which increases durability while reducing weight.
In an effort to maximize efficiency and range, the Soul EV uses Kia’s third-generation regenerative braking system to capture up to 12 percent of the car’s kinetic energy, which is fed back into the battery while the Soul EV is coasting and braking. Soul EV owners can choose between four drive mode combinations: “Drive” or “Brake” modes in Eco-mode “Off,” and “Drive” or “Brake” modes in Eco-mode “On” (the “Brake” or “B” setting with Eco-mode “On” producing the most regeneration).
Like I said before this was my first hands on with an EV so I was impressed with all of the information I was learning. The fact that they basically “reuse” power from baking is just smart. It’s something so simple, but can be used to maximize power which is a plus for everyone.
The Soul EV makes charging easy by plugging into any standard 120v outlet or a conventional 240v EV charger. Two charging ports are standard, including a SAE J1772 port for Level 1 and Level 2 AC, and a CHAdeMo DC fast-charging port (480v). Found behind a sliding door located in the front grille, the dual ports offer flexibility and increase the Soul EV’s go-anywhere appeal, making it more convenient to charge inside the owner’s garage or when on the road. Recharging times vary from 24 hours for a fully depleted battery using a standard 120v outlet and under five hours when plugged into a 240v outlet. An 80-percent charge can be achieved from empty in as little as 33 minutes with a 50 kW-output DC fast charger. Kia has partnered with three charger providers – Bosch, Leviton and AeroVironment™ – which give Soul EV buyers an opportunity to select the unit best suited to their in-home needs.
Additionally, the 17 Kia retailers participating in the first wave of the Soul EV launch each will be equipped with multiple Level 2 chargers and a DC fast charger, bringing California’s DC fast charging network total to 215, a nearly nine percent increase statewide. KMA’s EV charging infrastructure plan provides Soul EV buyers with broad coverage, flexibility and excellent support, and Kia’s networking partnership with Greenlots will connect customers to DC fast chargers in convenient locations throughout California.
The front-wheel drive Soul EV is powered by a 109-hp (81.4kW) electric motor, producing a generous 210 lb.-ft. of instantaneous torque. The liquid-cooled AC synchronous permanent magnet motor uses multi-layer magnets to help improve efficiency and reduce the whine common to most electric vehicles. The motor delivers its power to the front wheels through a single-speed constant-ratio gear reduction unit. Acceleration from 0-60 mph is expected to take fewer than 12 seconds with top speed electronically limited to approximately 90 mph. The battery’s location beneath the floor results in a lower center of gravity, which helps ride and handling and ensures that the EV remains true to the Soul’s fun-to-drive reputation. Additional cross bracing beneath the low-mounted battery contributes to a 5.9 percent improvement in torsional rigidity over the gasoline-powered Soul and offers protection to the battery.
Improved aerodynamics and the absence of engine noise, combined with special sound-proofing materials, result in an exceptionally quiet ride. For the benefit of pedestrian safety, the Soul EV is equipped with a Pedestrian Warning System (PWS) that emits an auditory alert at speeds below 12 mph and whenever the car is in reverse.
I really like how KIA has partnered with 3 charger providers. That gives families options when it comes to the type of charging they will need and use. With only 33 minutes to charge on a fast charger you are saving energy AND time. Plus, the quiet cabin I enjoy. Especially after dropping kids off and playing taxi. It makes it easier for me to enjoy a nice quiet moment.
The Interior Rocks Too…
When launched in 2014, the all-new Soul was lauded for its premium interior and significantly reduced levels of NVH. The Soul EV will be instantly recognizable for these same qualities. Like its gasoline-powered sibling, a circular theme pervades the cabin and is a pleasing contrast to the exterior’s angular good looks. Inside, the Soul EV sets itself apart from its gasoline-powered sibling with bright white accent trim on the center console, instrument panel and door panels, lending a light and modern feel to the passenger space. Distinguished by Kia’s most extensive use of bio-based materials, the Soul EV has received UL’s first ever automotive environmental claim validation for its 52.7 lbs. of bio-based organic content in interior plastic. Front and center is the use of BTX-free paint on the audio system surround, vent bezel and the floor console. Bio-based plastics derived from cellulose and sugar cane are found in many places within the cabin, including the door panels, headliner, seat trim, roof pillars and carpeting. In all, organic, bio-based materials are used in 19 different interior parts.
Standard Soul EV amenities include a Navigation with eight-inch screen, a 6.6kW on-board charger, CHAdeMO DC fast charge port, Rear Camera Display3, Bluetooth®4 hands free operation, power windows, power driver’s seat, cruise control, and an exclusive HVAC system designed to extend driving range by minimizing energy draw.
Air conditioning is one of the largest energy drains in any electric vehicle, but the Soul EV’s HVAC system is designed to provide optimum comfort while also helping to extend the car’s range by minimizing energy use. The Soul EV uses four key technologies to maximize HVAC efficiency: a standard heat pump, individual ventilation, scheduled ventilation, and air intake control. The heat pump efficiently combines the A/C and heater into one system while greatly reducing energy consumption. It also utilizes waste heat from the Soul EV’s electrical systems to help heat the cabin. Individual ventilation allows selection of “Driver Only,” which stops airflow to the passenger side front dash and floor vents and the floor vents for the rear passenger compartment, thereby focusing airflow on the driver and reducing the amount of energy needed to reach a comfortable interior temperature. Scheduled ventilation reduces EV energy use by pre-heating or cooling the passenger compartment prior to starting the car, while it is still plugged into a charger. Air intake control regulates inner and outer air flow to minimize HVAC usage, regulating interior temperature by carefully managing recirculated cabin air.
I was EXTREMELY pleased with the interior. It was not boxy at all. I know quite a few ppl think that, but my challenge to you is to go sit in one and you will be surprised. There’s room enough for my family of 4 with a teen and a tween. Everyone would fit comfortably. Another thing that impressed me was the Rear Display. To call it that almost cheapens it. It is a full 360 view around the car that changes your perspective as you back out. The infotainment system itself is one of my favorite features. With UVO I can access one of my favorite apps like Yelp and get directions to a great local restaurant. All within my car.
For more information about the 2015 KIA SOUL EV check out Kia’s website.
As a mom, I would definitely put this on my short list if I was looking to buy. Especially if I wanted to get my foot in the EV market. It’s hip, fun, and has all the features I like. Plus, I would earn cool points with the kids. Make sure to check out the all new 2015 KIA SOUL EV at your local Kia dealership. Take it for a test drive and see what you think!
***Disclosure: I attended the #KiaCali National Press Introduction for the All New 2015 Sedona and the Soul EV . My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Kia. All opinions are 100% mine.***