Kia Motors has unveiled the all-new Soul EV at the 2018 LA Auto Show, a completely new iteration of its zero-emissions compact crossover. The Soul EV features a new cutting-edge liquid-cooled lithium-ion polymer 64 kWh battery pack, with a vastly improved range over the outgoing model. This improved range means significantly less need for daily recharging – and a Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast-charge, fitted as standard, means shorter stops and rapid battery charging.
The Soul EV is currently being tested to ascertain its estimated range, with the overall battery range due to be announced early in 2019.
The new car has 201 bhp and 291 ft kb of torque (up from 210 ft lb in the outgoing model), the car accelerates even more strongly. Handling and driving dynamics are also improved, thanks to the adoption of new fully-independent rear suspension. The Soul EV also provides plenty of tools for drivers to customise their driving experience and their battery usage, with four drive modes – Eco, Comfort, Sport and Eco+ – which automatically adjust power output to the traction motor. The driving modes also control the level of regenerative braking on offer, air conditioning and heating settings, and enable drivers to set speed limits to help manage operating efficiency in different driving conditions.
The Soul EV’s smart regenerative braking is operated via paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, providing drivers with the ability to slow the car and capture more kinetic energy, adding extra range. Drivers can choose from four regenerative braking levels (0 to 3), depending on desired driving smoothness, enjoyment and efficiency. The regenerative braking system also features a ‘Brake and Hold’ system, which enables drivers to use the paddle shifters to bring the car to a full stop while harvesting kinetic energy.
In addition, the smart regenerative braking system adjusts the braking level based on a vehicle being detected in front of the Soul EV, creating smoother coast-down driving, especially when descending a steep road.
The system is paired with a Smart Eco Pedal Guide display on the instrument cluster, which keeps the driver aware of real-time battery usage based on accelerator pedal input.
Built at the Gwangju plant in Korea, the new Soul EV goes on sale in the US and Europe in the first half of 2019, with Kia’s global markets to follow. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.
Information regarding the all-New Soul EV’s price, specification and on-sale date in the UK will be distributed later in 2019.