An Electric Soul

Kia Motors America (KMA) announced plans to offer an all-electric version of the company’s Soul urban passenger vehicle in select markets in 2014.

The news of the new EV version was relayed during the company’s media launch of the 2014 Kia Soul.

Already one of KMA’s best-selling vehicles, Kia said an all-electric variant is a natural extension of the Soul’s urban-friendly place in the brand’s lineup of award-winning vehicles.

“Eco-consciousness already comes standard on the all-new Soul with 85-percent of its materials able to be recycled at the end of its lifespan, and the Soul EV will further demonstrate Kia’s engineering capabilities as well as our commitment to producing vehicles with reduced environmental footprints,” said Orth Hedrick, executive director of product planning, KMA.  “The Soul has always been a terrific choice for drivers in urban environments, and the all-new version’s blend of technology, refinement, style, improved dynamics and value has allowed us to create a car that is as efficient as it is fun to drive.”

Not much else has been revealed about this new EV, aside from the habitual corporate mention that “more details about the Soul EV’s powertrain, range/MPGe, packaging and go-to-market strategy will be announced at an upcoming major U.S. auto show.”

The Soul EV will be the second alternative-fuel Kia vehicle to be offered for sale in the U.S. The Optima Hybrid was introduced in 2011 and saw for 2013 a number of enhancements including powertrain refinements for smoothness and drivability, including a more robust 47 horsepower electric motor, a stronger Hybrid Starter Generator (HSG) and a more powerful 47 kilowatt lithium polymer battery.

The electric powertrain will be a third powerplant choice for the Soul.

Motivation for the base Soul is delivered by a gasoline direct injection (GDI) 130-horsepower (at 6,300 rpm) 1.6-liter all-aluminum DOHC four-cylinder engine.

The Plus and Exclaim models can count on the more powerful 2.0-liter NU power plant.  For the all-new 2014 Soul, this engine is updated with GDI technology. Power is rated at 164 horsepower at 6,200 rpm.

Kia said both engines have been tuned to provide more low-end torque (nine percent more torque at 1,500 rpm on the 2.0-liter; five percent more on 1.6-liter) for an improved around-town driving experience.