The second generation Kia Soul is set to arrive in New Zealand somewhere at the end of the first quarter of 2014. The redesigned Soul has a fresh style as well as a bunch of new features.
Based on that new design, and as part of Kia’s “Clean Mobility” program, Kia will be building a Soul Electric Vehicle that will be available in select overseas market in late 2014. One of these markets will include a right-hand version for sale in the UK.
According to the General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand, Todd McDonald, “The fact that the electric Soul is going into the UK means there is a strong possibility it could be available to us.” He went on to say that Kia New Zealand is “in talks with our parent company in Korea to see if we can turn that opportunity into a reality. The Soul EV is a very technologically advanced vehicle that would showcase the fact that Kia is not just a leader in vehicle design, but also in sophisticated engineering.”
Currently, Kia sells a small electric vehicle called the Ray, but it is only available in Korea. The Soul EV will be the first electric vehicle, and even the first zero-emissions vehicle of any kind, that Kia will offer internationally.
Kia says the Soul Electric Vehicle has a 27 kWh lithium-ion battery that has a storage capacity that is 40% greater than the Nissan Leaf’s battery pack that should give the Soul EV a range of up to 192 km (we’re not sure if this is based on the European test cycle, or perhaps the Japanese test cycle?). In some official news releases from Kia, that range doesn’t even seem to include added range due to regenerative braking. “Kia hopes to extend that range through energy-recycling technology that works while the Kia Soul EV is coasting or braking.”