Kia is branching availability of its Soul EV beyond California to dealers in Washington state and Oregon and increasing a network of charging stations for it as well.
Twelve select Kia dealers will be located in Washington and eight in Oregon; each will be equipped with two Level-2 chargers and 10 will also have DC fast chargers to decrease “range anxiety.”
The Soul EV is EPA rated at 93 miles range, and it’s not difficult to go over 100 miles in combined driving. It’s been well received and EV fans have expressed desire to see it more widely sold, and it might be, if not yet.
The automaker told us last month its plans for “this summer” are to expand also to Hawaii, Texas and Georgia in addition to Oregon, Washington, but a press announcement for now is about the Pacific Northwest where at least one dealer in Olympia, Wash. has had the car available already.
Kia is adding six DC fast chargers to 41 already in Washington state increasing by 40 percent the coverage in in the Seattle metro area and 15 percent statewide.
Four more in Oregon will increase 81now there by 15 percent in the Portland metro area and five percent statewide.
“With the level of interest the Soul EV has received in the eco-friendly states of Washington and Oregon, it was only natural for us to expand into the region and make our electrified urban passenger vehicle available to customers who not only want to be eco-conscious, but stylish as well,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning, KMA. “Kia is committed to making sure Soul EV customers in the Pacific Northwest are adequately covered, which is why we’re also installing DC fast chargers and offering free charging at select dealers.”
Kia is also developing wireless charging, and the Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center has been awarded a grant from the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies program to research and develop the cord-free system.
The timeline for the wireless network is also not disclosed, but in the meantime the automaker appears to be conservatively expanding availability supported also by charging.
The Soul EV also offers the UVO EVServices telematics system at no cost for the first five years. Among several other functions, it enables Kia drivers to find the charging locations and utilizes the Verizon wireless network and a smartphone app to provide real-time, in-vehicle connectivity.