Auto Show: 2014 Chicago Auto Show
2015 Kia Soul EV: Chicago Auto Show
What Is It?
The 2015 Kia Soul EV is exactly what you'd expect: an electric Kia Soul. That means it takes the Soul's funky styling and adds an electric drivetrain -- in this case, a 109-horsepower, 81-kilowatt electric motor that makes 210 lb-ft of torque.
Still front-wheel-drive like the gas-powered Soul, the Soul EV offers a 0-to-60 time of under 12 seconds and a top speed of around 90 miles per hour. It also uses a 27-kWh battery that returns 80 to 100 miles of range, though we expect the conservative Environmental Protection Agency estimate to be a little lower. Kia says the battery can be fully recharged in five hours when the Soul EV is plugged into a 240-volt outlet.
Beyond the powertrain, the Soul EV includes a few other new items. Exterior styling, for instance, is a little more whimsical than the standard model thanks to white wheels, a body-colored grille and a roof that's painted a different color than the rest of the car. Standard features trump the gas-powered Soul, with the EV boasting a rearview camera, navigation, Bluetooth and a power driver's seat. There's also a little less cargo room in back due to the batteries.
Pricing will be announced closer to the car's on-sale date. With that said, we expect to see the Soul EV in the low to mid $30,000 range based on pricing for rival models such as the Nissan Leaf and Honda Fit EV.
When Can You Get It?
Add It to Your Shopping List Because…
The 2015 Kia Soul EV is the latest electric vehicle to reach the market, and if you're searching for an EV, it will certainly be worth a look. We like the standout styling and the long list of equipment, and we love to hear "up to 100 miles of range." Of course, pricing will determine whether the Soul EV merits serious consideration, but we think it certainly deserves a spot on the shopping list of anyone interested in a practical EV.
Other Cars to Consider
Chevrolet Volt -- The Volt isn't fully electric like the Soul EV. Instead, it offers an electric motor and a range-extending gasoline engine. That eliminates range anxiety, but it also means that the Volt won't travel as far as the Soul on electric power alone.
FIAT 500e -- If you want an electric car that's high on style, the 500e is an excellent choice. Charge times are quick, the 87-mile range is excellent and pricing is a somewhat reasonable $32,000. The only drawbacks: The 500e only offers two doors, and it isn't available nationwide right now.
Honda Fit EV -- At nearly $37,000 with shipping, the Fit EV is an expensive electric car. But it can reach about 80 miles on a single charge, and Honda's latest lease rates make it an enticing proposition for shoppers interested in saving money.
Nissan Leaf -- Nissan's fully electric Leaf hatchback offers an 84-mile range and a practical 5-door hatchback body style. It's also reasonably priced, with a starting MSRP at around $30,500 with shipping.