New 2018 Soul EV with Onboard Charger Failure

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Mar 16, 2017
Hi All,

After my 2016 Soul EV met an early end due to someone rear-ending me. I decided to go out and lease a 2018 Soul EV because of the slightly larger battery.

I picked up the car from the dealer on the 1/23, drove around for a few days, maybe 50 or so miles, then went to plug in the car. The three lights lit up on the dashboard for maybe a second or two, then nothing. I tried unplugging, plugging back in, checking charge timers, etc. I just could not get the car to charge. I thought it was my level 2 so I tried using the trickle charge cable; again nothing. I drove around to some public level 2's: same result. I would plug in, hear some clicking from the EVSE, and on the Chargepoint chargers it would say "Waiting For Vehicle".

Anyway, brought the car back on 01/27, the diagnoses was the on-board charger was in a "sleep" mode and could not "wake-up". Would need the onboard charger replaced. Estimate for the Onboard charger part to arrive was 1-2 months!

Fast forward to today the part may be in tomorrow or next week. I'm eligible for the MA Lemon Law because the car has been out of service for 15 business days (the days the service department is open), and i have been without the car for 17 days. Kia corporate keeps "escalating" my case, i've gone through three levels now. I've started the Lemon Law process as of today, and will report back.

After looking online it seems OBC failures seem to be common in colder climates, and the amount of time to get this replacement part is unacceptable.

Sorry for the rant, but i've just been frustrated throughout this whole process. My old Soul had no problems, then to lease a new one and have such a major issue with a car with only 80 miles on it is so aggravating..

If all goes well with the Lemon Law I will probably end up in a Bolt EV even with the terrible seats. They have pretty good deals via a Mass. program. It would actually be tiny bit more per month than I paid for the Soul, for more than double the range.
crazy that the 2018 has OBC failure as well.. i always fear in the back of my mind whats to stop it from happening again way down the road
This is the first report we have had of an OBC failure in a MY2018.
My just replaced OBC will be the same version as this one.
Let's hope this is not going to be as common a fault as it was in previous versions.

Here is the main thread discussing OBC errors - all 31 pages of it! - Charging Fault error
The quality of service by Kia varies considerably.
In my case they were very good, but in many of the reports on the above thread service delays were very lengthy.

Getting a Bolt EV for a tiny bit more per month than the Soul EV is a great deal.
Well the part keeps getting pushed back to a further ETA. Evidently the dealership does have on-board chargers laying around that they could install. But Kia will not let them, and instead will only let the dealer install this OBC that is in "transit".

It is really troubling to have a 2018 to have this flaw, has Kia not fixed this after 4 years since the Soul EV has been out? With the relatively low numbers of Soul EVs on the road, and all the reports on here you'd think the percentage would be high to alert someone at Kia, that hey something is up.

Looking at other Nissan Leaf, Volt, and Bolt EV forums there is hardly a whisper of OBC failures.

I'll let you all know what ends up happening.
Just an update here. Kia offered me is $8,500 as a goodwill offer if I keep the car after it’s repaired.

This more than pays for the term of lease, and along with the $2,500 I get back from MA, I actually made quite a bit of money.

I have to say, once you get to the highest level escalation and you’re eligible for the lemon law they really do start to listen.

The other offer was that they could put me in any Kia with a similar MSRP as my soul EV + which was around 37,000, and I’d keep the same monthly payment and lease terms. That means a Stinger, anything. They would pay all taxes, fees, transfer costs as well.

I have to say with customer service like this, Kia has me as a lifelong customer.
What do you mean by "keep the car after it’s repaired." Do you mean you will need to own it after the lease, or will you still lease it (and then trade it in)?
Anyone else with a 2018 Soul EV had an OBC failure?

I've been in contact with Kia UK to try to find out if the latest /last batch of replacement OBCs which seem to be dated 2018 are likely to be more reliable than the ones they are replacing on the older Soul EVs (in our case 2016 model), to no avail - hitting the usual corporate brick wall style answers. Guess we'll just have to take our chances, or get rid...