Friday, April 25, 2014

Kia Soul EV

While the electric vehicles made by the South Koreans were not as popular as those made by the Japanese, it seems that they're always looking for some challenge when it comes to introduce those zero-emission vehicles on a global basis and for Kia Motors, their first-ever Soul EV breaks the notion of being the first ever zero-emission Kia car to sold on the public. With the 42,500,000 Korean Won (estimated $40,900) price tag, it may not be the cheapest electric vehicle to buy but is it worth it?

2015 Kia Soul EV
2015 Kia Soul EV interior

Well, at first glance, it looks the same as the latest-generation Kia Soul, the one that was launched last year, but because this is the EV version, the only difference you can distinguish it is the grille where in the Soul EV, you can use the charging tool to plug it in and charge it at home depending on the outlet. Using the power of the UVO 2.0 Eco, your smartphone will notify you when your Soul EV's fully charged or like any other Kia models using the UVO software, you can use the smartphone to unlock/lock the doors or start the car remotely. Convenient, isn't it? But we're not done explaining about the Soul EV just yet because there's some downsides to this electric crossover.

2015 Kia Soul EV

You see the Soul EV has less legroom than the regular Soul by about 3.1-inches as well as the boot space by about 5.1cu.-ft thanks to the space used to reserve for the Li-ion battery but Kia says that despite the reduction to the rear legroom, it's still as spacious as any other EVs in the market but who cares about it? If you even use it for your scheduled road trip with your buddies from school, looks like your mates at the back will get cramped because of the reduced rear space and before you know it, you can't survive against the chatter from your mates about your embarrassing moments at the JS Prom or at the field trip or any other barkada trips you have been for the past moments. Ouch...

Road trips aside, Kia says that it will do about an energy consumption of 5.0km/kWh or an equivalent of 148km on one full charge. 148km on one full charge, that's more than what you got from the Renault Samsung SM3 ZE or the Chevrolet Spark EV and in theory, that will cover from my house in Muntinlupa up to the house where my grandparents stay in Cabanatuan...well, that's about 140km covered but you can charge it while you're staying for the night but I don't hold much hope.

Also, it features a next-generation of Kia's regenerative braking system which regains 12% percent of the car's kinetic energy when braking or coasting. It features four different regeneration modes and the mode that produces the most regeneration is the one where the Brakes setting with Eco-mode "On". It's all in the name of science for this car, eh?

Power comes from the electric motor that generates about 81.4kW (111HP) of power output and 285Nm of torque. It will do 0-100kph in a minimal 12 seconds and a top speed limited to 145kph so it's not what you called fast and because it has a single-speed gearbox that you expect from most electric vehicles...that pretty much sums it up but look at this way...this Soul EV has the similar torque that you got from a hot Volvo V40 T4 Polestar but who cares about it?

There's a rule in some parts in the world that most EVs need to emit a sound for the safety of pedestrians in mind but for the Kia Soul EV, they're way ahead of them because it comes with a rather controversial Virtual Engine Sound System which mimics the noise of an engine at speeds up to 12kph when the car is in reversed.

2015 Kia Soul EV interior

So, what to like about the Soul EV? Well, what I like about the Soul EV is the range that will keep me going from my house to Cabanatuan in a single full charge, it's loaded with technology, it's always ahead of my thinking because it has some safety features that will keep the Soul EV the safest EV money can buy. What I don't like about it is that it's not quite fun to drive, the rear space is too small because of the battery, and it's more expensive than the regular Kia Soul. It may not be one of the best EVs in the market but it's worth being a game-changer in the world of electric cars.

Available colors: Snow White Pearl + Electronic Blue and  Caribbean Blue + Clear White

Photo: Kia Motors

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