US-Market Kia Soul EV To Launch In 2014

Today Kia Motors confirmed its Soul EV that we previously reported as being prepared for “select” markets is indeed being developed for a U.S. launch in the second half of 2014.

The Korean automaker is touting a 120-mile range from its 109-horsepower, 201-pounds-feet motor, 0-62 time of under 12 seconds, and top speed of 90 mph.

Based on the well-regarded Soul, Kia will attempt to retain much of what made that car popular including a driving experience that satisfies.

As Kia’s first EV to be launched here, and the second EV it’s ever produced, Kia says the Soul EV adds to its environmental commitment begun by its hybrid Optima.

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“The new Soul EV will be at the forefront of Kia’s ‘Clean Mobility’ program, which aims to provide environmentally-friendly vehicles to our customers around the world, when it goes on sale globally next year,” said Kia Motors America’s executive director of product planning, Orth Hedrick. “Although it is Kia’s first globally sold all-electric vehicle, the Soul EV is our second-generation battery electric vehicle and significantly benefits from the in-depth knowledge gained during development of the Ray EV sold in Korea.”

Kia says it is building an everyday car that will be ideal for urban dwellers. That is, urban dwellers with access to reliable charging as its 27-kwh battery is 3-kwh larger than the Nissan Leaf’s.

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Recharge time for wall current is not stated, but Kia says quick charging at 100-kw output will enable replenishing in 25 minutes, and a 240-volt level 2 fill can recharge a drained battery in 5 hours.

Kia is already doing shake-down tests of mules based on the Kia gas-powered Soul.

We’ve not heard it, but instead of a “tron” or “Space-ship” like sound of other electrified cars, Kia will equip the EV with a Virtual Engine Sound System (VESS) to alert pedestrians at sub-12-mph speeds and in reverse.

Other details of the EV based on the ICE are projection headlamps, LED positioning lamps, LED rear combination lamps, and aerodynamically shaped 16-inch alloy wheels.

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Inside the vehicle will include a “Supervision” instrument cluster and center stack with eight-inch display.

To maximize the green cred, expect also interior components and trim made with recycled materials including Bio Plastic, Bio Foam, Bio Fabric and Bio PET Felt along with low volatility organic compounds and newly developed antibacterial materials and paint.

Kia has not stated prices or if this will be a limited market vehicle.