The Kia Soul EV (like the “regular” Soul) is proving to be more popular than the company ever expected when it was first introduced in California a year ago. The cute and surprisingly winter-capable front-wheel-drive Kia Soul EV, with its irresistibly sunny face, quickly expanded to Georgia, Texas, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii earlier this year.
The Soul EV is powered by a 109-hp electric motor with 210 lb.-ft. of torque. Its liquid cooled AC synchronous permanent magnet motor uses multi-layer magnets to help improve efficiency and reduce the whine common to most electric vehicles. In an effort to maximize efficiency and range, the Soul EV uses Kia’s third-generation regenerative braking system, which captures up to 12 percent of the car’s kinetic energy and feeds back into the battery while the car is coasting or braking.
Now, Kia Motors America has announced it is expanding availability of its all-electric urban runabout into four more states — New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland. Soul EV sales in the Northeast will begin in the fourth quarter. Nineteen Kia dealers will be certified to sell and service the Soul EV in these four new states — four in New York, 6 in New Jersey, 3 in Maryland and 2 in Connecticut. Each dealership will have an electric charger available for Soul EV customers.
Soul EV owners will easily be able to locate charging stations using the standard UVO EV Services telematics system. Available at no cost for the first five years of ownership, the system is powered by Verizon network. It has an integral smartphone app to provide Soul EV owners with an innovative, real-time, in-vehicle connectivity experience that includes navigation and a host of added convenience features.
The Soul EV has two charging ports — a SAE J1772 port for Level 1 and Level 2 AC, and a CHAdeMo DC fast-charging port (480v). Recharging times vary from 24 hours for a fully depleted battery using a standard 120v outlet to under five hours when plugged into a 240v outlet. An 80-percent charge can be achieved from empty in as little as 33 minutes with a 50 kW-output DC fast charger. Kia has partnered with three charger providers – Bosch, Leviton and AeroVironment – which give Soul EV buyers an opportunity to select the unit best suited to their in-home needs.
Why has the Soul EV done so well in the marketplace while other electric cars are languishing on dealers’ lots? Some blame it on Kia’s adorable hamster advertising campaign. That may have been the most effective marketing program since the hugely popular ads for the original Volkswagen Beetle more than 50 years ago.
Kia Soul Hamstars Commercial
Photo credit: Kia Motors.