An all-electric version of the Kia Soul is still on track to launch globally in early 2014, according to a report from Kia-World. It will be Kia's first electric car sold outside its home market of South Korea, following up on the domestic Ray EV.
We reported last fall that Kia was developing an electric version of the popular Soul hatchback. The Soul's powertrain would likely be an improved version of that employed in the Kia Ray EV; that car has a 50-kW electric motor and a 16.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and delivers a driving range of about 86 miles. However, only 2500 units were produced, and they were all for Korean fleets.
Reports suggest that an electric version of the Kia Soul will have a more powerful motor and improved driving range. It could travel about 124 miles on a single charge, and may hit 60 mph in less than 12 seconds, compared to the 16 seconds required for the Kia Ray EV. It could be priced below the equivalent of $35,000.
If it comes to the U.S. next year, the battery-powered Kia Soul would compete with several other small electric hatchbacks: the Chevrolet Spark EV, the Fiat 500e, the updated Nissan Leaf, the Ford Focus Electric, and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
The Kia Soul (pictured) was heavily revised for the 2014 model year. It bowed at the New York auto show with fresh styling, more equipment, and new powertrains. Engine choices now comprise a 1.6-liter inline-four with 130 hp, and a 2.0-liter with 164 hp. The 2014 Kia Soul goes on sale in the third quarter of this year.