When Kia releases the 2016 Soul EV from dealers in California, Washington, Oregon, Georgia later this month, a new entry trim level will be offered to make it more competitive.
The converted version of the popular mini-ute will be called the Soul EV-e. It will start at $31,950 before incentives and share the same unchanged-from-2015 powertrain with the $33,950 Soul EV, and $35,950 Soul EV+.
Some decontenting took place to make possible this car now priced closer to the sub-$30,000 Nissan Leaf, but included are still a fair number of features for what has been a well-equipped car.
Included are a DC fast charge port, 6.6-kilowatt onboard charger, and 3.5-inch OLED Supervision cluster, heated front seats, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and FlexSteer, as standard equipment.
To keep the mid-level Soul relevant, Kia equips it with “standard premium features” including capacitive touch 8-inch navigation touchscreen with Rear Camera Display and UVO EV Services.
UVO is telematics technology that lets drivers search for charging stations, remotely check state-of-charge and precondition interior temperature through a Smartphone.
The mid-level also gets a heat pump HVAC system to improve energy efficiency and maximize driving range.
Not to be outdone, the top Soul EV+ trim offers for $1,100 a Sun & Fun Package, which includes a panoramic sunroof, LED interior lighting and speaker lights that pulse to the beats of the six-speaker audio system.
Also included are ventilated front passenger seats, heated rear outboard seats, leather trimmed seats, front and rear Park Assist, and power folding mirrors.
Sharpening Its Act
Earlier this year we reported at least one dealer in Olympia, Wash had the Soul EV, and recently Kia confirmed Oregon and Washington dealers would be getting it.
According to National Product Manager James Hope, that was from a pilot test program in the Pacific Northwest, and just as we speak Oregon and Washington dealers are getting the car. Hope says the EV has also been on sale in Georgia since April and Texas and Hawaii are nearly open as well.
The plan is to expand Soul EV sales to the top six largest EV market states with natural EV demand, said Hope.
As it is making the car more available, the company is also addressing “range anxiety,” it says, by developing wireless charging, and meanwhile the Soul EV has the highest EPA-rated range in its price segment – arguably – at 93 miles.