The rise of Hyundai and Kia is one of the greatest automotive triumphs of the past decade, as the Korean automakers went from bad to better to among the best in the industry. So far, they’ve managed to do by relying on efficient four-cylinder engines and hybrid systems in America, but there is reportedly an electric Kia Soul in the works.
The Kia Soul electric could be introduced in the next year or two, though details are non-existent as of yet. In Kia’s home country of South Korea though, Kia already sells the Ray EV, which looks a lot like the Americanized Kia Soul. A 16.4 kWh battery pack and 50 kW electric motor provide up to 86 miles of range, and it is likely that an electric Kia Soul would get a similar drive system, albeit with perhaps a bigger battery pack.
The Kia Soul EV might actually be more effective than competitors like the Nissan Leaf because of the Soul’s utility capabilities. If Kia can maintain the cargo space of the Soul, it could prove popular with small businesses looking for a capable and affordable short range EV. It would probably do better than an all-electric version of the Kia Optima, which I recently had a chance to review.
Alas, until we have more details, this is all just me speculating. 2014 is the official timetable given by Kia executives; beyond that, who knows what the Koreans have planned? If their past decade of success is any indicator though, it will definitely be worth watching out for.