The all-new Kia Soul EV will make its European debut at the 84th Salon International de l’Automobile in Geneva on 4 March 2014, alongside a special technology exhibit for the brand’s next-generation hybrid powertrain.
These will be joined on the stand by the enhanced Kia Sportage and upgraded Optima Hybrid, as well as the GT4 Stinger concept car which made its global debut at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year.
Embodying the iconic design of the recently-launched second-generation Kia Soul, the all-new Kia Soul EV will become the brand’s first globally-sold electric vehicle when production starts in the second half of 2014.
The Soul EV is a front-wheel drive electric vehicle with a high-capacity 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and class-leading 200 Wh/kg battery energy density. Power comes from an 81.4 kW electric motor producing a generous 285 Nm of torque. The vehicle will appeal to city commuters thanks to a driving range of around 124 miles (200km) on a single charge.
The Soul EV will benefit from accomplished ride and handling and a high level of refinement thanks to the car’s low centre of gravity, revised platform and chassis and new materials designed to reduce noise, vibration and harshness.
To maximise the efficiency and potential range of the Soul EV, the vehicle features a number of energy-saving technologies that reduce load on the battery and increase maximum driving range. These include new advanced heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technologies, including a world-first ‘driver-only’ individual ventilation system, four-mode regenerative braking and a battery heating system.
The Soul EV will also be one of the most practical EVs on the market when it goes on sale in Europe later in 2014, as a result of minimal intrusion by the batteries into the cabin and luggage space. As with every other Kia model, the Soul EV will guarantee owners with the peace of mind provided by Kia’s unique seven year / 100,000 mile warranty.
As well as showing new production-ready low emissions vehicles at Geneva, Kia will display a standalone exhibit of a new hybrid technology, developed by the brand’s European R&D centre for use in future Kia models.
The hybrid system consists of a 48V lead carbon battery connected to a small electric motor, increasing the engine’s power output. The battery also supplies energy to an electric super-charger, which increases torque and power at low engine speeds. Under the right conditions, the hybrid powertrain can drive a car in electric-only mode at low speeds and while cruising, while the battery is recharged under deceleration. And when the car is stationary, the technology also acts as a zero-emissions stop-start system, performing this function with almost no noise or vibration as it is a belt-starting system. The technology also enables Kia engineers to reduce the size – and weight – of its vehicles’ existing 12V battery.
GT4 Stinger Concept
Unveiled earlier in the year at the North American International Auto Show, Kia’s stunning GT4 Stinger Concept will make its European debut at Geneva. The GT4 Stinger, created by Kia’s California design team, moves Kia in a bold new styling direction and has maximum driving enjoyment central to its appeal.
Powered by a 315 ps 2.0-litre turbocharged gasoline direct injection (T-GDi) four-cylinder engine, the eye-catching 2+2 sports car seeks to involve the driver as much as possible, with a six-speed manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive. As a statement of the concept’s dynamic intent, the car is fitted with all-round independent double-wishbone suspension, a high-downforce carbon fibre front splitter and front-brake cooling vents. The signature Kia grille sits low to the ground for maximum engine cooling and cold-air induction.
While there are currently no plans to bring the concept to production, Kia has a history of delivering production vehicles that bear a strong resemblance to the concepts that precede them, and the GT4 Stinger provides an enticing glimpse into Kia’s possible future.
Responding to customer feedback and developments in the increasingly-competitive European marketplace, Kia will also be showing the enhanced Kia Sportage at the Geneva show. The brand’s best-selling compact crossover receives small but significant upgrades to its modern exterior, as well as a refreshed interior design and new materials throughout the cabin.
The Sportage also receives a range of new features to boost its appeal to buyers across the continent, including a new premium sound system, LED rear lamps, Kia’s FlexSteer system, heated steering wheel and a new 4.2-inch TFT LCD supervision cluster.
This Sportage will be even more refined than the current model, with a number of changes designed to minimise noise, vibration and harshness. Soundproof windshield glass will help reduce wind noise, while improvements to core areas of the body structure, such as bush-mounted subframes and new transmission mounting brackets, will bring about further improvements to refinement.
Kia’s best-selling model in Europe, Sportage attracted 89,553 customers in 2013, a year-on-year increase of 10.5 per cent. Built at Kia’s Žilina plant in Slovakia, the enhanced Sportage went on sale in the UK in January and is due to go on sale across the whole of Europe during the first half of 2014.
Also making its European debut, the upgraded Kia Optima Hybrid receives a number of changes. Visually, the Optima Hybrid features newly-designed front and rear bumpers, the front incorporating new LED fog lamps and a revised design for Kia’s trademark ‘tiger nose’ grille. The car’s profile is also improved with a new side-sill garnish and new 16- and 17-inch alloy wheel designs.
With the upgraded model, customers will also be able to specify a new ‘White Package’ interior option, with white upholstery and gloss black cabin accents. Two new exterior paint finishes, Smoky Blue and Aluminium Silver, complete the visual changes.
The latest Optima Hybrid will also be fitted with a range of new features, including Kia’s third-generation regenerative braking system with greater braking feel and response, a new touchscreen interface specific to the Hybrid system and a new (optional) High Tech Pack (incorporating Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Detection and Smart Parking Assist systems).
The upgraded Optima Hybrid is scheduled to start production in Korea during April 2014 and will go on sale later in the year in left hand drive only.