SOUL EV

PRESS PACK

GENERAL SPECIFICATION

The 2017 Kia Soul EV

Short story

  • Kia’s first global battery-electric vehicle
  • Class-leading range extended to up to 155 miles  
  • Kia innovations stretch the distance the car can travel between charges
  • Lithium-ion polymer batteries can now store 30kWh of energy
  • Same fun styling and practical interior as combustion-engined Soul
  • Seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty

Kia's innovative all-electric small car, the Soul EV, now has an extended range of up to 155 miles on a single charge as a result of some ingenious fresh thinking by the engineering teams at the company's research and development centre in Korea. That is an improvement of 23 miles on the maximum range when the car was launched in 2015, and means that a careful driver could comfortably travel from London to Nottingham, Cardiff or Norwich in almost total silence and at negligible cost without needing to stop to top up the batteries.

This impressive extended range comes about through a number of highly developed improvements to the all-electric powertrain. There are an additional eight battery cells – now 200 instead of 192 – in eight modules; the battery storage capacity has been enlarged from 27 kilowatt-hours (kWh) to 30; the nominal voltage rises from 360 to 375V; while the amount of electric current the system can carry is up from 37.5 amp hours (Ah) to 40. There are Michelin tyres which offer less rolling resistance, while the open area in the lower front bumper has been reduced to minimise drag and improve the car's aerodynamics.

All of this has been achieved without impacting on the Soul EV's exceptional practicality, even though the rear floor is slightly higher to accommodate the additional battery cells. To compensate for this, the cooling duct to the rear battery cells has been lowered by 24mm – exactly the same as the increase in floor height.

Kia spent almost 30 years researching and developing electric powertrains before launching the Soul EV because the company wanted to ensure that the technology, recharging infrastructures and markets in the most important areas of the world were mature enough to support an all-electric vehicle. The Soul EV comes with a seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty, just like any other Kia.  

The Soul EV’s lithium-ion polymer batteries were developed by engineers from Kia and SK Innovation of Korea, and are arguably the most advanced in any electric vehicle currently on sale. The result of a three-year development programme, they have a greater energy density than those in any competitor, and benefit from a heating and cooling system to keep them at an ideal operating temperature, which helps to extend the Soul EV’s range.         

Further contributions to the class-leading range include the nickel-rich material used for the cathodes (the terminals from which the electric current leaves the batteries); regenerative braking, which tops up the batteries when coasting or slowing down; a unique air conditioning system which can be set to heat or cool only one side of the car when the driver is travelling alone; additional aerodynamic features beneath the car; and super-low-rolling-resistance tyres, which can reduce energy consumption by as much as 10 per cent.      

Batteries mounted beneath the car

The batteries are mounted beneath the car in a special casing which protects them from stone or gravel damage and spray thrown up by the wheels. In this location they are easier to reach should maintenance be required. The ducts to heat and cool them are located beneath the rear seats.

The remainder of the electric drive components are mounted beneath the bonnet, where an internal combustion engine would normally be located. Because an electric motor requires less cooling than a petrol or diesel engine, the front of the Soul EV has been blanked off where the radiator grille would normally be found. This brings aerodynamic benefits.   

The charging ports are hidden behind a panel in this blanked-off section. Owners have the option of recharging the batteries through a standard domestic socket, via the Kia-branded wallbox supplied as standard with the Soul EV, or through a public fast charger or rapid charger. Using a UK 230-volt domestic power supply, the Soul EV can be fully recharged in 11 - 14 hours. With the wallbox or a public fast-charge point, this time can be reduced to around five hours. The Soul EV is supplied with a customised red adapter cable stored in a smart Kia-branded pouch for this form of charging. Alternatively, through a public rapid charger the batteries can be topped up to 80 per cent of capacity – the maximum permissible with this type of system – in 33 minutes.

Class-leading battery capacity

The Soul EV’s batteries now have a class-leading energy storage capacity of 30 kilowatt-hours. Energy density – the relationship between energy storage capacity and battery weight and size – is also class-leading at 200 watt-hours per kilogram.

The electric motor which drives the car develops 81.4 kilowatts – the equivalent of 109bhp in a combustion-engined model – with 285 Nm of torque available immediately upon drive-away. This makes the Soul EV particularly brisk in the kind of stop-start urban driving where it was designed to operate. It is also extremely smooth, and is so quiet that it is fitted with a Virtual Engine Sound System which operates at low speeds in both forward and reverse gears to alert pedestrians and cyclists to its presence.

The Soul EV has a top speed of 90mph and can accelerate from 0-60mph in 11.0 seconds, so it is perfectly capable of keeping pace with the flow of urban traffic. Of greater relevance, it accelerates, cruises and tackles gradients with minimal power usage, which all contribute towards its long range. It can climb slopes of up to one-in-three.

The underfloor location of the batteries and the reduced weight beneath the bonnet compared with a combustion-engined Soul have lowered the centre of gravity and shifted the weight bias further to the rear, endowing the EV with a distinctive fun-to-drive character. The Soul EV has bespoke suspension tuning to take into account its 274.5kg battery system. The car features Kia’s Motor Driven Power Steering system with Flex Steer, the variable-assistance function which allows drivers to adjust the degree of assistance according to preference and where the car is being driven. For parking or manoeuvring in narrow town streets the Comfort setting offers increased assistance, while for highway driving at faster speeds, Sport mode reduces the amount of help to maximise feedback and stability. There is also an intermediate Normal setting.

Whenever the driver coasts or brakes, kinetic energy (energy caused by motion), which is normally dissipated as heat, is captured and channelled into the batteries through the regenerative braking system. The Soul EV’s range is therefore constantly being topped up on the move, particularly in urban traffic where stops and restarts are frequent.     

To help the driver maximise the car’s range, the Soul EV has two different performance levels – DRIVE and BRAKE – both of which can additionally be operated in ECO mode as a further means of extending the car’s range. The driver is therefore able to vary the recharging effect of the regenerative braking system and the performance of the car according to the requirements at any time. A 3.5-inch OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) information cluster monitors the driver’s energy efficiency and displays the energy flow, battery level, charging time and the selected settings for the air conditioning system.

The Soul EV has an intelligent heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system which includes a heat pump to recycle air that has already been heated or cooled within the cabin. The HVAC system permits only enough fresh air to be added to maintain the driver’s desired temperature and humidity. The air conditioning system can be programmed to pre-heat or pre-cool the cabin while the car is plugged into a charger to minimise drain on the battery once the driver sets off.

A spacious, stylish interior with a unique twist

Kia’s goals with the Soul EV were not only that it should have a class-leading range, but that it should remain as close to the combustion-engined versions as possible. This allows it to be built on the same production line as them at the Gwangju plant in Korea, minimising manufacturing complexity and cost, which in turn makes it more affordable.

Outwardly, the only obvious differences between the Soul EV and the models powered by internal combustion engines are the front end devoid of a radiator grille, the absence of a fuel filler flap and the unique rear light clusters. Fresh, funky, original and bold, the Soul EV – like its combustion-engined counterparts – has its roots in the Track’ster concept from the 2012 Chicago Auto Show. The design team, led by Tom Kearns, Chief Designer at the company’s California studios, adopted as many elements of the Track’ster concept as are feasible for a production car.

The Soul EV has the same proportions and dimensions as the combustion-engined versions, with an upright stance, square shoulders and distinctive bumper flares. The structural changes that have been made to accommodate the battery pack are hidden out of view, beneath the floor.

It was a major challenge for Kia’s designers and engineers to reshape the floor without affecting passenger space and versatility. The only impact is an 80mm reduction in rear-seat legroom, for which Kia has compensated by changing the materials used in the rear-seat construction. The Soul EV, like any other Soul, is therefore a compact but spacious five-seat crossover with a large boot accessed through a wide-opening, high-lift tailgate. Luggage capacity is 281 litres – a reduction of 31 litres compared with other versions of the Soul because the luggage undertray is used to house the charging adapter cable in its stylish, Kia-branded pouch. With the 60:40 split rear seats lowered, luggage capacity is 891 litres. A tyre inflation kit is provided in case of a puncture.

In keeping with its environmentally friendly powertrain, the Soul EV’s cabin is trimmed in ‘green’ materials wherever possible. This has led to the car being awarded UL Environment Validation for using bio-based organic carbon content for 10 per cent of its interior trim. UL (Underwriters Laboratories) is a global independent safety science company. Bio-degradable plastic, bio-foam and bio-fabric are all used in the construction of the Soul EV’s interior.     

The Soul EV in the UK

Kia offers just one comprehensively equipped version of the Soul EV in the UK, available in a choice of three colour schemes – Caribbean Blue with a Clear White roof, Snow White Pearl with an Electric Blue roof or Titanium Silver premium paint. The interior upholstery is Grey Eco cloth with blue stitching, while the fascia panel, door inserts and gear selector are finished in High-gloss White. The instrument cluster housing, door inserts, steering wheel and gearshifter are trimmed in leather.

Standard EV features include an 8-inch touchscreen with European mapping, traffic messaging channel, reversing camera and charging point locator; automatic air conditioning with the driver-only function; heated front seats; a smart key with a motor start-stop button; projection headlights with LED daytime running lamps; front foglamps; privacy glass on the rear windows and tailgate; 16-inch lightweight alloy wheels with super-low-rolling-resistance tyres; two charge points and the heat pump system. The car is also supplied with a wallbox charger and features Virtual Engine Sound.

Also included in the standard specification are cruise control with a speed limiter, an electronic parking brake, front and rear electric windows, electrically folding adjustable heated door mirrors with LED indicators, solar glass for the windscreen and front windows, automatic light control with a follow-me-home function, LED rear combination and high-mounted brake lights, a 3.5-inch OLED supervision instrument cluster with specific EV information display, a trip computer, front speaker mood lights, driver’s seat height adjustment, a heated steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors and a luggage cargo screen plus retaining net.

In-car entertainment includes a DAB radio with MP3 compatibility, steering wheel-mounted controls, USB and AUX ports and Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming. Safety is taken care of by Anti-lock Brakes with Emergency Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Hill-start Assist, Emergency Stop Signalling, a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System and six airbags.

The Soul EV is now compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay when paired with a suitable smartphone. Android Auto functions with Android smartphones running 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher, while Apple CarPlay is compatible with iPhone 5 and newer versions of the Apple handset. Both allow occupants to connect to various apps and functions, including voice-guided, hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition. Androind Auto gives access to Google maps navigation and Google Play music, while Apple CarPlay links to pre-loaded maps, music, podcasts, texts and messages and audiobooks, all through Siri voice control.

The Soul EV qualifies for the UK Government’s Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) of £4,500 and is exempt from UK road tax (VED) and the London Congestion Charge, while company car drivers are taxed at just 9 per cent in 2017-18. Insurance is group 18.

Warranty and Servicing

In common with all Kias, the Soul EV is covered by Kia’s seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, which includes all labour and parts except those subject to normal wear and tear. The warranty is transferable if the car is sold before the time/mileage limit expires.

It is available with Kia’s Care-3 and Care-3 Plus servicing packages, which cover the cost of all routine maintenance – ­including parts and labour – for three or five years. Like the warranty, this can be transferred to any subsequent owner should the car be sold before the expiry date.

Essential facts

Model

Power kW

Torque

Nm

0-60 sec

Max speed mph

CO2 g/km

Soul EV

81.4

285

11.0

90

0

 

 

 2          TOP 10                                  

           Innovations that give the Soul EV its class-leading range

  • The Soul EV’s 200 lithium-ion polymer battery cells have an industry-leading energy density of 200Wh/kg
  • The Soul EV has wafer-style battery cells mounted upright in eight modules. These are better at storing electrolyte than the cylindrical batteries favoured by most rivals
  • The Soul EV's cabin utilises ‘green’ materials where possible. This means the car has been awarded UL Environmental Validation for using bio-based organic carbon content for 10 per cent of its internal trim. Bio-degradable plastic, bio-foam and bio-fabric are all used in the construction of the Soul EV’s interior
  • The Soul EV’s batteries have an innovative nickel-rich cathode material
  • The Soul EV can be operated in DRIVE or BRAKE modes, with or without the ECO switch activated. This allows the driver to vary the responsiveness of the car and the amount of regenerative braking energy captured and recycled into the batteries when coasting or slowing down. The driver therefore has the option of sharper performance or maximum range
  • The Soul EV has a world-first air conditioning system which allows only the driver’s side of the car to be heated or cooled, reducing drain on the battery. It also features an innovative heat pump to recycle air already heated or cooled and a Smart Air Intake Control system which allows just enough fresh air in to maintain the desired temperature and humidity.
  • The Soul EV allows the owner to use Scheduled Climatisation so that the interior is heated or cooled to the desired temperature while the car is plugged in, thus saving battery power on the move
  • The Soul EV features extensive underbody aerodynamic additions which deliver the double benefits of protecting the batteries and smoothing airflow beneath the car. Because an electric motor needs far less cooling than an internal combustion engine, the front of the Soul EV has no radiator grille, which also improves aerodynamics
  • The Soul EV runs on super-low-rolling-resistance tyres which can contribute 10 per cent energy savings compared to conventional low rolling resistance tyres
  • The Soul EV’s unique 3.5-inch OLED instrument cluster provides information relating to energy flow and energy economy, among other things, to help the driver get the maximum range

3          STRUCTURE, STYLING AND SAFETY                                                                  

           How the Soul EV differs from its combustion-engined counterparts

From the moment Kia’s product planners and designers got down to discussing ideas for the second-generation Soul, it was clear that an all-electric version had to feature in the line-up as a further step towards the company’s ultimate goal of zero-emissions mobility. It was also essential that the electric version had to be capable of going down the same production line as the combustion-engined models, to reduce manufacturing complexity and cost and ensure that it would be affordable for buyers.

This was not quite as easy as it sounds. While the electric motor and associated components fit easily into the under-bonnet space designed to take an engine, gearbox and associated cooling systems, finding a home for a battery system which weighs 274.5kg, and in a way that does not detract from the handling balance or crash safety, was much more challenging. 

With this in mind, Kia decided to base the second-generation Soul on the platform of the cee’d range, and to mount the batteries of the electric model beneath the car’s floor. This brings the triple benefits of keeping the additional weight – and therefore the centre of gravity – low; minimises loss of cabin space; and ensures the batteries are out of harm’s way in an accident.

Unique underbody

The floor area of the Soul EV within the wheelbase is bespoke. It features five additional cross-members which form a bolt-on cradle for the battery pack. The batteries have been shaped to fit the space available and intrude as little as possible into the passenger and luggage areas. These extra cross-members increase the structural rigidity of the EV by 27 per cent compared with the combustion-engined model. Contributing to this is the higher proportion of ultra-high-strength steel in the B-pillars and sill areas of the EV – up from 35 per cent to 37.1 per cent.

The Soul EV is a demonstration of the ingenuity of Kia’s designers and engineers when it comes to packaging. The bespoke shape of the batteries means that only 80mm of rear legroom has been sacrificed in the conversion of the Soul from combustion-engined model to EV, and this has been compensated for by reshaping the rear cushions. The only loss of space is therefore in the luggage area – a reduction of 31 litres – because the undertray is now used to house the recharging cables. The boot capacity of the EV is 281 litres, or 891 litres with the 60:40 split rear seats lowered.  

The impact that the extra weight of the batteries would have on the EV’s crash performance had already been taken into account during the design and engineering phase for the combustion-engined versions, but there are two additional longitudinal deformation structures to absorb front-end crash loads, while the five additional cross-members to support the batteries help to absorb side impact forces.     

All of this has been achieved with minimal alteration to the external appearance of the Soul – another ‘must’ during the development stage, since design is one of the first things buyers mention when asked to give their reasons for choosing the car. The only obvious differences between the EV and the models powered by internal combustion engines are the front end devoid of a radiator grille, the absence of a fuel filler flap and the unique rear light clusters. The EV also has a reshaped rear bumper.

The second-generation Soul was inspired by Kia’s Track’ster concept from the 2012 Chicago Auto Show. Kia is renowned for turning the design cues of its concept cars into production reality, and the Soul design team, led by Tom Kearns, Chief Designer at the company’s California studios, adopted as many elements of the Track’ster concept as is feasible for a production car. The result is a sporty, tough-looking car which maintains what Kearns calls the ‘bulldog’ proportions of the Track’ster while adding a premium look.

It has a sharp edge to the front of the bonnet, a strong bumper and wheel arches and purposeful-looking foglights. Meanwhile, the precision headlamp units with LED daytime running lamps and the door mirror housings with LED indicators are clear pointers to the car’s quality.

The designers are especially proud of the pronounced ‘backpack’ shape of the tailgate, with its seamlessly integrated tail lamp units. Along with the reclined roof and sturdy C-pillars, these help to give the Soul a tough, robust appearance. It was an extremely challenging part of the car to get right, but well worth the long hours of effort.

The upright stance, square shoulders and distinctive bumper flares instantly identify the EV as a Soul, while the dedicated colour schemes – Caribbean Blue metallic with a Clear White roof, Snow White Pearl with an Electric Blue roof or Titanium Silver premium paint – bespoke 16-inch lightweight alloy wheels and discreet ‘eco electric’ badges signify that, despite the powerful crossover looks, this is an environmentally sensitive car. The dimensions are identical to those of the combustion-engined models, with a long wheelbase of 2,570mm within an overall length of 4,140mm.

Much-loved themes from the combustion-engined Soul, such as the wraparound greenhouse with privacy glass, have been preserved for the EV.

Track’ster cues also found in the roomy cabin

Themes from the Track’ster concept car are also to be found in the interior. Kearns and his California design team have deliberately played up the circular patterns which were used so emphatically in the Track’ster. The ideas were inspired by the ripples which spread outwards when drops of water land on the still surface of a pond.

The expressive circular theme is most obvious in Kia’s familiar deeply recessed instrument gauges, but is also to be found on the sculpted door panels which house the power window switches and locks. In the EV, the centre console panel, door inlays and drive selector are in white. 

The front door speakers and high-mounted ‘floating’ tweeters – with mood lighting utilising LED technology to create a ripple effect – maintain the circular patterns. The steering wheel-mounted audio controls are located in circular groupings along the lower spokes. The outer air vents are in the top of the fascia and incorporate the defrosters and audio tweeters in one stylish unit, emphasising that music is once again one of the core characteristics of the Soul. 

The design team also put a lot of effort into instilling a premium look and feel to the interior through the choice of materials and the large main screen, while practicality was also paramount, as demonstrated by the copious in-cabin storage areas.There are soft-touch facings on the instrument panel, centre console and door panels, and the steering wheel rim and gearlever knob are leather-covered.

For the EV there is a 3.5-inch OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) information cluster giving energy usage information, and an 8-inch satellite navigation and infotainment display in the centre of the dashboard. Environmentalism does not mean austerity.

In keeping with its environmentally friendly powertrain, the Soul EV’s cabin is trimmed in ‘green’ materials wherever possible. This has led to the car being awarded UL Environment Validation for using bio-based organic carbon content for 10 per cent of its interior trim. UL (Underwriters Laboratories) is a global independent safety science company. Bio-degradable plastic, bio-foam and bio-fabric are all used in the construction of the Soul EV’s interior.     

The step-in point and hip point are low, making it easy to get in and out while delivering a sporty driving position. The windscreen pillars are positioned far enough away from the front occupants so as not to obstruct visibility – an essential component in a car designed to spend its life in urban areas – and there is a low centre tunnel allowing plenty of arm and elbow space. 

The centre fascia has been sculpted to bring the main controls close to the driver, with the start/stop button positioned next to the drive selector. This is not only a logical and ergonomic layout, but it also allows the seat heater switch to be placed in the main climate control panel, consolidating all the temperature and air circulation switches in one place.

There is another important space-saving measure, too. With an increasing number of Soul buyers now relying on smartphones or MP3 players for their in-car music, Kia has taken the decision to fit a DAB Radio with USB and AUX ports and Bluetooth with music streaming in place of a CD player. This helps to lower the height of the fascia for a more streamlined appearance.

4          POWERTRAIN AND CHASSIS                                                                                 

           Where everything fits and how it works

Kia has not leapt blindly into the world of electric vehicles. The company’s engineers have been engaged in EV research for almost 30 years. But with governments all around the world now focusing on climate change, fuel-supply stability and fuel economy, the impetus to start mass production has been building in recent years.  

Even so, Kia wanted to be certain of its ground before launching its first globally available EV. That is why, in 2011, the company decided to build 2,500 electric versions of the Ray, a domestic-market urban runabout, for official agencies in Korea to use as mobile test-beds for its EV technology. Some were even made available to an electric-vehicle hire scheme – similar to London’s ‘Boris Bikes’ – in the Korean capital, Seoul. Kia wanted to study how potential buyers might use an EV, what their requirements were and what pitfalls might lie in wait.

Feedback from those trials revealed that most users wanted a full recharge to be possible in four to five hours through a domestic wallbox or public fast-charge point, or around 33 minutes using a public rapid charger, and that the range and performance of the Ray EV needed to be increased. As a result, Kia established a range target of 125 miles (200 kilometres), a 0-62mph time of at most 12 seconds and a top speed of 90mph for the Soul EV. All these goals have been met or exceeded thanks to some ingenious engineering solutions. The outcome is a class-leading range now extended to up to 155 miles, a 0-60mph time of 11.0 seconds and a top speed of 90mph.

The batteries

The batteries of an EV are an energy storage device like the fuel tank of a petrol or diesel car. In theory, it is possible to increase the range of an EV by adding more storage capacity in the form of more batteries. The flaw in this argument is that batteries are heavy and the additional energy stored ends up being used simply to move the increased weight rather than extend the range. More batteries would also take up more room and reduce the space for passengers and luggage.     

The challenge was to increase the amount of energy that can be stored without increasing the size and weight of the batteries. It is in this area that Kia and the Soul EV are especially ingenious. In collaboration with SK Innovation, a branch of South Korea’s largest oil refiner, Kia has developed a 30 kilowatt-hour, 375-volt lithium-ion polymer battery pack with class-leading energy density. Energy density can be expressed as the relationship between energy storage capacity and the weight and size of the batteries, and in the Soul EV it equates to 200 watt-hours per kilogram.

The Soul EV's impressive extended range comes about through a number of painstakingly developed improvements to the all-electric powertrain. There are an additional eight battery cells – now 200 instead of 192 – in eight modules; the battery storage capacity has been enlarged from 27 kilowatt-hours (kWh) to 30; the nominal voltage rises from 360 to 375V; while the amount of electric current the system can carry is up from 37.5 amp hours (Ah) to 40. There are new Michelin tyres which offer even less rolling resistance than before, while the open area in the lower front bumper has been reduced to minimise drag and improve the car's aerodynamics.

A number of factors contribute towards the Soul EV’s high energy density.

1) The shape of the batteries

Most electric vehicles use cylindrical-shaped lithium-ion batteries. The Soul EV’s lithium-ion polymer batteries are wafer-shaped, and stacked upright on their sides. This makes it easier to pack the 200 battery cells, arranged in eight modules, to fit the shape of the Soul, rather than the car having to be adapted to accommodate them. Lithium-ion polymer is also more efficient because its cell structure has fewer parts, it is safer and more reliable thanks to better thermal diffusion and internal pressure control, and it can be manufactured at lower cost. A special secure separator is used in the Soul EV’s battery cells to determine the safe charge and discharge speeds of energy. It helps to keep the cells from overheating or catching fire if their temperature exceeds normal limits.      

2) The cathode material

The lithium-ions move from cathode to anode during charging and from anode to cathode during discharging. Generally, the cathode consists of heavy oxides and can store less energy per kilogram than the anode, which is made up of light carbons. To improve efficiency, the amount of electricity stored by the cathode must therefore be increased. Kia has achieved this by using a nickel-rich material for the cathode of the Soul EV. High-performance electrolyte additive and anode materials were also developed to maintain high energy density while delivering good life-cycle and safety performance.    

3) Regenerative braking

The Soul EV is fitted with a regenerative braking system which channels kinetic energy (energy caused by motion) normally wasted or dissipated as heat into the batteries whenever the car is coasting or braking to a halt. The Soul EV’s range is therefore constantly being topped up on the move, particularly in urban traffic, where stops and restarts are frequent. The Soul EV offers a number of driving modes which vary the performance of the car and the amount of kinetic energy which is recovered in this way.

The highest regenerative braking effect is provided in BRAKE mode (B on the gear selector). This gives maximum brake energy recovery without diminishing the car’s top speed or kickdown response. Drivers have the choice of switching an ECO button on or off. With it on, acceleration is restricted until the accelerator is 90 per cent open, and the air conditioning system functions slightly below maximum performance. Both of these effects are reversed with the button in the off position.

There is also a DRIVE (D) mode which also allows the ECO button to be switched on or off. The regenerative braking effect is reduced compared with BRAKE mode, but the top speed, acceleration, kickdown and cabin heating and cooling perform the same as in the respective BRAKE mode.                 

4) The HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system

In winter, when a car’s air conditioning system is set to give maximum heating in the cabin, the range of an electric vehicle can be reduced by as much as 50 per cent. Even in less extreme use, ventilation and cooling systems have a dramatic effect on range. Reducing the energy consumption of the HVAC system was therefore a priority during the development of the Soul EV, and Kia’s engineers have devised four clever new technologies with this in mind.

The first is the heat pump, which recycles waste heat from the air conditioning and electrical systems to warm up the cabin, thus reducing load on the battery. The system consists of a compressor, an evaporator and a condenser.

In conjunction with this, a Smart Air Intake monitors the air that has already been heated or cooled by the HVAC system and introduces just the optimum amount of fresh air to maintain the driver’s desired temperature and level of humidity. This helps to increase the car’s range by reducing the load on the HVAC system. It relies on a humidity sensor, temperature control and air intake actuator.

The Soul EV is also the first vehicle in the world to be fitted with Individual Ventilation, which allows the HVAC system to heat or cool only the driver’s side of the cabin when there are no passengers. It completely closes off the airflow which would have gone to the passenger’s side. Other vehicles merely close the vents without restricting airflow.

Finally, the Soul EV is fitted with Scheduled Ventilation, a first in a Kia. This allows the cabin to be heated or cooled 30 minutes before the driver wishes to set off, while the car is plugged into a charging point, so that drain on the battery during the journey is minimised. It is programmed via the car’s Human Machine Interface (HMI).

The electric motor

Kia has developed and manufactures its own electric motor for the Soul EV. It develops 81.4 kilowatts of power, equivalent to 109bhp in a combustion-engined car. Maximum torque is 285 Nm, available immediately upon drive-away. This makes the car particularly brisk in the kind of stop-start urban driving where it was designed to operate. The Soul EV is fitted with a Virtual Engine Sound system that operates at low speeds in both forward and reverse gears to alert pedestrians and cyclists to its presence. 

The Soul EV has a top speed of 90mph, which is more than adequate for commuting, and can accelerate from 0-60mph in 11.0 seconds, so it is perfectly capable of keeping pace with the flow of urban traffic. Of greater relevance, it accelerates, cruises and tackles gradients with minimal power usage, which helps to extend its range. It can climb slopes of up to one-in-three.  

Drive is taken to the front wheels through a single-speed constant-ratio gear reduction unit. Because of the instantly available maximum torque from drive-away, more than one gear is unnecessary.

The same fun-to-drive character as any other Soul

The Soul EV has bespoke suspension tuning to take into account the weight of its batteries and the character of European city roads, but it delivers the same fun-to-drive handling characteristics and soothing ride quality as any other Soul. In fact, with the weight balance having been shifted lower and further to the rear because of the location of the batteries, allied to the instantly available torque, it could be argued that the EV is even more engaging than the combustion-engined Soul in city driving, as well as more relaxing because of the absence of noise. The EV’s weight is almost entirely concentrated within the wheelbase, the ideal balance normally found in a mid-engined supercar. 

At the front there is an H-type subframe coupled with a MacPherson strut suspension system. This significantly reduces vibrations, improving NVH as well as ride quality. A three-point insulator has been applied to the front struts. This is more effective at absorbing major as well as minor vibrations.

The rear wheels are mounted to a coupled torsion beam axle, and are almost perpendicular to the body as a result of the damper lever ratio. The lever ratio is an important factor in determining ride comfort: the general rule is that the closer the ratio is to one, the more absorbent the ride. Tubular beams and a large low arm bush also make significant improvements to comfort.

All of this has been aided by the increased rigidity of the Soul EV, which – thanks to the battery cradle with its five cross-members – is 27 per cent stiffer than a combustion-engined Soul. The amount of ultra-high-strength steel in the EV’s construction is 37.1 per cent compared with 35 per cent in the combustion-engined versions.

The Soul EV has Kia’s Motor Driven Power Steering system with Flex Steer, the variable-assistance function which allows drivers to adjust the degree of assistance according to preference and where the car is being driven. For parking or manoeuvring in narrow town streets the Comfort setting offers increased assistance, while for highway driving at speed the Sport mode reduces the amount of help to maximise feedback and stability. There is also a Normal setting. Changes are made via a button on the steering wheel, and the driver’s last chosen setting is always maintained until manually altered, even after switching off the engine.

The Soul EV has ventilated front brake discs 300mm in diameter and solid 284mm rear discs. Anti-lock Braking (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BAS) are standard, helping drivers to safely brake and steer at the same time in an emergency, and to ensure stopping effort is apportioned in the most effective way and that the car stops in the shortest possible distance, regardless of the force applied to the pedal. Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) help keep the car stable on slippery surfaces or at excessive cornering speeds and prevent it rolling backwards when setting off on uphill gradients.

5          OWNERSHIP 

             Insurance, servicing, tax benefits and recharging options

Kia’s goal with the Soul EV was to confront all the arguments that potential buyers put forward against electric-vehicle ownership and resolve them one by one. The most common obstacles mentioned in almost every market where EVs are sold revolve around range, performance, infrastructure and cost. Kia and the Soul EV have hurdled every one. Kia uses the highest level of EV technology available today, and has even produced some new ideas for the Soul EV.

To pave the way for the car’s introduction, Kia decided in 2011 to build 2,500 electric versions of the Ray, a domestic-market urban runabout, for official agencies in Korea to use as mobile test-beds for its EV technology. Some were even made available to an electric-vehicle hire scheme – similar to London’s ‘Boris Bikes’ – in the Korean capital, Seoul.

The Ray EV had a 50-kilowatt electric motor, a 16.4 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion polymer battery pack and a range of 86 miles. With 167 Nm of torque, it could accelerate from 0-62mph in 15.9 seconds and had a top speed of 81mph. Feedback from users suggested that most were happy with the recharge times but that the range and performance needed to be increased.

Kia established a minimum range target of 125 miles, a 0-62mph time of at most 12 seconds and a top speed of 90mph for the Soul EV. All these goals have been met or exceeded thanks to a larger battery pack with greater energy storage and a more powerful electric motor for the Soul EV. Its lithium-ion polymer batteries have the capacity of 3,500 smartphone batteries.

The Soul EV now has a class-leading range of up to 155 miles, which is more than adequate for most daily commutes – typical EV usage. Its 0-60mph time of 11.0 seconds allows it to keep pace effortlessly with commuter traffic at common urban speeds, and a top speed of 90mph and a power output of 81.4 kilowatts mean it has plenty in reserve for urban motorway sections or hill-climbing.

Kia decided from the outset that its first commercially available EV would be based on a regular production model rather than a bespoke offering. This would reduce manufacturing cost and complexity and ensure the car would be more affordable. The Soul, with its urban-influenced styling, high floor and exceptional passenger and luggage space within a short overall footprint, was the obvious choice. The EV was factored into the product planning and design phases from the start.

Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG)

In the UK the Soul EV qualifies for a £4,500 subsidy under the government’s Plug-in Car Grant programme. It attracts no Vehicle Excise Duty because of its zero tailpipe emissions, while for business users – who account for 55 per cent of sales – it attracts only 9 per cent car tax (BIK) in 2017-18. The cost of electricity to recharge the car will vary depending on the supplier, tariff and the time of day the car is plugged in, but a full recharge will typically cost considerably less than a gallon of diesel or petrol, and has been shown to deliver up to 155 miles range in laboratory tests.

Charging

Owners have the option of recharging the batteries through a standard domestic socket, via the Kia-branded wallbox supplied as standard with the Soul EV, or through a public fast charger or rapid charger. Using a UK 230-volt AC domestic power supply, the Soul EV can be fully recharged in 11 to 14 hours. With the AC wallbox or a 6.6-kilowatt, 32-amp public charging point, the time is reduced to less than five hours. The Soul EV is supplied with a customised red adapter cable stored in a smart Kia-branded pouch for this form of charging. Alternatively, through a 50-kilowatt rapid DC charger the batteries can be topped up to 80 per cent of capacity – the maximum permissible with this type of charger – in 33 minutes.

The number of rapid electric vehicle charging points in the UK – at roadside service stations, in public or office car parks and at supermarkets and shopping malls – is increasing all the time and will accelerate further as pressure on car manufacturers to lower CO2 emissions encourages more and more electric vehicles.

The Soul EV is sold in the UK through Kia dealers who have asked to become EV specialists. Not surprisingly, the majority of these are based in urban areas.  The Soul EV – with zero tailpipe emissions – is exempt from the London’s weekday Congestion Charge. Participating dealers can be found on www.kia.com/uk

Servicing is required at the same 10,000-mile or 12-month intervals as a petrol-engined Soul, but the amount of work – and therefore the labour and parts costs – are less since there are far fewer moving parts and wear-and-tear items with the EV. The annual check is largely as a safety precaution and to preserve the warranties offered with the car.

Kia’s outstanding seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty applies to Soul EV just like any other car in the company's portfolio.  While other manufacturers provide extended warranties for the batteries, Kia does so for the whole car, with the exception of normal wear and tear items. The warranty is transferable if the car is sold before the time or mileage limits have been exceeded. There is also a 12-year anti-perforation warranty and a five-year paintwork warranty, plus one year’s roadside assistance through KIAssist.

The car is available with Kia’s Care-3 and Care-3 Plus servicing packages, which cover the cost of all routine maintenance – ­including parts and labour – for three or five years. This can be transferred to any subsequent owner should the car be sold before the package has expired.

Insurance is in group 18.      

6          THE SOUL EV IN THE UK                                                                                       

             What buyers get for their money

The Soul EV is a zero-emissions (at the tailpipe) car designed to lower running costs for owners who live, commute or do business in traffic-clogged towns and cities – exactly the kind of use where combustion-engined vehicles are at their least efficient. It is not an austerity car, but an extremely well equipped model with all the features that make life comfortable, relaxing and safe for drivers and passengers who spend a disproportionate amount of time travelling only short distances.  

Naturally, it is equipped with everything an owner needs to monitor the charge status of the batteries and energy usage, find recharging points and plug the car in. It has ECO driving modes, automatically activated every time the car is switched on, which reduce the rate of acceleration to minimise energy usage and increase the driving range.

A heat pump system uses waste heat from the electrical components and recycles it into the cabin to maintain the driver’s desired temperature, thus reducing the load on the batteries, while the air conditioning system can be set to driver-only mode when there are no passengers so that it heats or cools only one side of the cabin­. Owners are also able to pre-heat or pre-cool the cabin up to 30 minutes before they set off, while the car is plugged in, as a third way of minimising load on the batteries.        

Satellite navigation is standard through an 8-inch touch-screen to help save energy by directing drivers to their destinations by the most efficient route. It includes a traffic messaging channel (TMC), a charging point locator and a full-colour status display to update drivers on the remaining range. A 3.5-inch low-energy-consumption OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) display in the instruments provides information on energy flow, charging time, energy economy and ECO driving level (through, appropriately, a tree symbol).     

The Soul EV is supplied with two charging cables. One is a standard three-pin system for slow domestic charging overnight. The second is a 32-amp Type 1 to Type 2 adapter cable which can recharge the car at a faster rate through the standard Kia-branded 30-amp wallbox or public AC fast-charge sockets. The cables are stored beneath the boot floor, with the adaptor cable housed in a stylish Kia-branded pouch. Charging up to 80 per cent of capacity is also possible through a 50-kilowatt CHAdeMO rapid public charger.  

The car is available in Caribbean Blue with a Clear White roof,  Snow White Pearl with an Electric Blue roof or Titanium Silver premium paint. The interior upholstery is Grey Eco cloth with blue stitching, while the fascia panel, door inserts and gear selector are finished in High-Gloss White. The instrument cluster housing, door inserts, steering wheel and gearshifter are trimmed in leather.

The 8-inch navigation touchscreen is linked to a reversing camera, and there are front and rear parking sensors – extremely useful when trying to park in crowded city streets. The infotainment system includes a DAB RDS radio with MP3 compatibility, steering wheel-mounted controls, USB and AUX ports and Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming.

The Soul EV is now compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay when paired with a suitable smartphone. Android Auto functions with Android smartphones running 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher, while Apple CarPlay is compatible with iPhone 5 and newer versions of the Apple handset. Both allow occupants to connect to various apps and functions, including voice-guided, hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition. Androind Auto gives access to Google maps navigation and Google Play music, while Apple CarPlay links to pre-loaded maps, music, podcasts, texts and messages and audiobooks, all through Siri voice control. 

The luxurious appointments include heated front seats; a smart key with a motor start-stop button; projection headlights with LED daytime running lamps; front foglamps; privacy glass on the rear windows and tailgate; 16-inch lightweight alloy wheels with super-low-rolling-resistance tyres; cruise control with a speed limiter; an electronic parking brake; front and rear electric windows; electrically folding adjustable heated door mirrors with LED indicators; solar glass for the windscreen and front windows; automatic light control with a follow-me-home function; LED rear combination and high-mounted brake lights; front speaker mood lights; driver’s seat height adjustment; a heated steering wheel; and a luggage cargo screen plus retaining net.

Safety is taken care of by Anti-lock Brakes with Emergency Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Hill-start Assist, Emergency Stop Signalling, a Tyre Pressure Monitoring system and six airbags. And because electric vehicles are so quiet there is Virtual Engine Sound which operates with both forward and reverse gears to warn pedestrians and cyclists that the Soul EV is in the vicinity.

SPECIFICATION

BATTERY

81.4kW Electric Motor

EXTERIOR DESIGN & LIGHTING

 

16" Lightweight Alloy Wheels (205/60R16) with Super Low Rolling Resistance Tyres

P

Radiator Grille with Charging Ports & Coloured Surround

P

Body Coloured Exterior Door Handles with Body Coloured Exterior Door Mirrors

P Titanium Silver

Body Coloured Exterior Door Handles with Roof Coloured Exterior Door Mirrors

P Caribbean Blue with Clear White Roof

Body Coloured Bumpers with Colour Accent

P

Black High Gloss A-Pillars

P

Privacy Glass (Rear Windows & Tailgate)

P

Solar Glass (Front Windows & Windscreen)

P

Projection Headlights

P

Automatic Headlight Control with Welcome & Follow-me-home Light Functionality

P

Manual Headlight Levelling Device

P

Front Fog Lights

P

Rear Fog Light

P

LED Daytime Running Lights

P

LED Rear Combination Lights

P

LED High-mounted Brake Light

P

Speed Variable Front Aeroblade Wipers

P

Rear Wiper/Washer

P

Heated Rear Window

P

Electrically Folding, Adjustable & Heated Door Mirrors with LED Indicator Lights

P

Wide-View Driver's Door Mirror

P

Metallic Paint

P

INTERIOR DESIGN & COMFORT

Grey Two-Tone Eco Cloth with Blue Stitching

P

Heated Front Seats

P

Tilt & Telescopic Steering Wheel Adjustment

P

Sliding & Reclining Front Seats

P

Driver's Seat Height Adjuster

P

Leather Trimmed Steering Wheel with Blue Stitching & Leather Trimmed Gear Shift

P

Heated Steering Wheel

P

Faux Leather Door Armrest with White High Gloss Inserts

P

Satin Chrome Interior Door Handles

P

White High Gloss Centre Fascia & Gear Shift

P

Leather Trimmed Supervision Cluster Housing

P

Front Centre Armrest with Blue Stitching & Storage Box

P

Electric Parking Brake (EPB)

P

Driver's Footrest

P

Door Scuff Plates

P

Climate Control Air Conditioning with Dual-Zone Controls with 'Driver Only' Function

P

Automatic Defog System

P

Auto-dimming Rear View Mirror

P

Sunvisors with Sliding Extensions & Vanity Mirrors with Illumination

P

All-round Electric Windows with Driver's Auto Up/Down Function

P

Cigar Lighter

P

Cruise Control & Speed Limiter

P

Motor Start/Stop with Smart Keyless Entry System

P

INTERIOR LIGHTING, STORAGE & VERSATILITY

60:40 Split Folding 2nd Row Seats

P

Front Console 12v Power Socket

P

Front Passenger Back Seat Pocket

P

Front & Rear Door Map Pockets

P

Glovebox with Illumination

P

Centre Console Cupholders with Sliding Cover

P

Front Cabin Map Lights with Sunglasses Case

P

Centre Cabin Map Lights

P

Ignition Keyhole Illumination

P

Start/Stop Button Illumination

P

Temporary Mobility Kit (TMK)

P

Luggage Area Light

P

Luggage Area Load Cover

P

Luggage Net, Hooks & Under-floor Storage Tray

P

Luggage 12v Power Outlet

P

AUDIO, COMMUNICATION & INFORMATION

6-Speaker System

P

Front Speaker Mood Lights

P

DAB Radio with MP3 Compatibility

P

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity

P

3.5 Inch OLED Supervision Cluster (Tachometer, Rheostat, External Temperature)

P

8 Inch Touchscreen Satellite Navigation with European Mapping &
Traffic Messaging Channel (TMC) & Charging Point Locator

P

Kia connected services featuring TomTom live

P

Reversing Camera System (In Centre Fascia Screen)

P

USB & AUX Ports for Connection of an Audio Media Device (iPod / Memory Stick)

P

Steering Wheel Mounted Controls

P

Bluetooth® with Voice Recognition & Music Streaming

P

Front & Rear Parking Sensors

P

Trip Computer

P

Digital Clock

P

Washer Fluid Warning

P

CHARGING & HARDWARE

ECO Driving Mode

P

AC (Type 1) & DC (CHAdeMO) Charging Ports

P

Charging Port Illumination

P

3-Phase Charge Status Indicator (On Crash Pad)

P

3-pin AC 230V Charging Cable

P

J1772 (Type 1 to Type 2) AC Adaptor Cable

P

AC 7kW 30A Domestic Wallbox Charger

OPT

Gear Shift Mode 'B' (Maximum Regenerative Braking Mode)

P

Heat Pump System

P

Climate Control & Charging Time Pre-Set Functionality

P

ACTIVE SAFETY & DRIVING DYNAMICS

ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) & Brake Assist System (BAS)

P

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) & Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)

P

Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC)

P

Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

P

Emergency Stop Signalling (ESS)

P

Flex Steer (Comfort, Normal, Sport Modes)

P

Virtual Engine Sound (VES)

P

PASSIVE SAFETY

Twin Front Airbags

P

Front Passenger Airbag Cut-Off Switch

P

Twin Side Airbags (Front)

P

Twin Curtain Airbags

P

All-Round Height Adjustable Head Rests

P

ISOFIX Child Seat Top Tethers & Anchor Fixings

P

All-Round 3-Point Seatbelts

P

Front Seatbelt Pre-Tensioners & Load Limiters

P

Height Adjustable Front Seatbelts

P

Seatbelt Reminder Warning

P

Impact Sensing Auto Door Unlocking

P

SECURITY

Engine Immobiliser

P

Door Deadlocks

P

Speed Sensing Auto Door Locking (Dealer-Activated Feature)

P

Locking Wheel Nuts

P

Visible Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

P

 

7          HISTORY     

           Thirty years of development

With international pressure to reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption intensifying, and governments willing to support electric vehicles with cash or tax incentives, EVs have recently become more viable and affordable. Cars like the Soul EV are also designed from the outset to accept an all-electric powertrain, so the compromises in terms of space and practicality are eliminated.

Kia developed its first electric vehicle, based on the Besta van, as long ago as 1986, and more recently has shown battery-powered versions of the Sportage as well as the electric Pop, Ray and Naimo concepts.         

To pave the way for the Soul EV, Kia built 2,500 electric versions of the Ray, a domestic-market urban runabout, for official agencies in Korea to use as mobile test-beds for its EV technology. Some also became part of an electric-car hire scheme – similar to London’s ‘Boris Bikes’ – in the Korean capital, Seoul.

This led to the development of a larger battery pack with greater energy storage and a more powerful electric motor for the Soul EV. Its lithium-ion polymer batteries have the capacity of 3,500 smartphone batteries.

Kia is also a world leader in the development of fuel cell vehicles, which create their own electricity on the move through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, and has pledged to have them in series production before the end of this decade.       

Kia’s ultimate goal is zero-emissions motoring across the board. It will be some time yet before that can be achieved, but the company is increasing research and development spending on green technologies year by year.

8          MANUFACTURING                                                                                                   

           Built at Gwangju on the same line as any other Soul

The Soul EV is built on the same production line as the combustion-engined models at Kia’s Gwangju plant in Korea. This was deemed imperative from the start of the project to reduce manufacturing complexity and cost.

The 200 battery cells are produced by SK Innovation in Korea before being transported to Mobis, Kia’s logistics division, which then assembles them into eight modules. These sealed metal container sub-assemblies are then delivered to Gwangju to be fed into the production system along a special side line and bolted to the car from the underside by robots. More robots also install the pre-assembled electric motor and ancillary components. Production line workers have had special training for the Soul EV.

Gwangju was fully refurbished in 2008 and is capable of manufacturing 135,000 examples of theb Soul, including the EV, per year. The Gwangju plant has been in operation since 1998, when Kia was acquired by parent company Hyundai. The 2008 upgrade was to ensure even higher production quality and greater flexibility.

Gwangju also produces trucks, buses and military vehicles – most of which have never seen European soil in any shape or form – as well as the Sportage for markets outside Europe: European Sportages are built at Kia's world-class Žilina factory in Slovakia, alongside the cee'd family.

Gwangju employs 7,000 workers and has an annual capacity of 420,000 vehicles.  Knock-down (CKD) vehicles are also made there for assembly outside Korea.  It is a highly efficient plant that has facilities to match any in the world.  It is also a strategic export base for Kia, and as with all Kia factories, great efforts have been made in recent years to reduce its environmental impact – especially important for a plant now producing a zero-emissions vehicle.

The plant has adopted zero-landfill scrap disposal, increased robotisation in its painting facilities and gone over to totally soluble paints; introduced a separate waste collection system to minimise wastage; and even added solar heating for its hot water, all with the aim of reducing energy consumption and its CO2 output.

Kia has made reducing the amount of raw materials being fed into the production process a major priority in every production facility around the globe.  The last few years have seen significant progress in reducing waste, increasing recycling and developing cleaner production processes.

Exhaust pollutants from Gwangju have also decreased dramatically and new technology is playing a significant part in environmental improvement.  Typical cast melting furnaces produce large amounts of dust and contained within this is a high proportion of zinc.  The captured dust is treated and the zinc extracted before being re-used within the production process.

In another area of Gwangju, a direct-fired steam air-conditioning system has been introduced.  Unlike conventional systems that need fuel to supply heat after converting to steam, these systems transfer heat directly from the fuel/heat reservoirs within the plant to indoor rooms. This system has proven to be remarkably efficient and annually saves around 107 tonnes of CO2 .

The green landscape around each facility is an important part of each plant make-up.  One ongoing programme is based on a number of ecology gardens which are filled with trees and plants resistant and sensitive to environmental changes in air pollution.  The Gwangju plant is no different, with more than 88,300m2 of green areas and 98,100 trees.  Almost 15 per cent of the factory plot is given over to green areas.  This has the added benefits of providing a more comfortable environment for the staff and the local population and offsetting some of the CO2 output from the facility.

The overall effect of the many green initiatives – reducing the use of raw materials, recycling and reducing waste – has resulted in Gwangju being officially recognised as an eco-friendly worksite by the Korean Ministry of the Environment.

Stephen Kitson
Director of Corporate Communications

E: skitson@kia.co.uk   
T: 01932 832075 M: 07795 011 936 

Daniel Sayles 
Press Relations Manager

E: dsayles@kia.co.uk  
T: 01932 832073 M: 07747 149 149 

Sara Robinson     
Senior Press Officer

E: srobinson@kia.co.u
T: 01932 832072 M: 07919 482 332 

Carly Escritt       
Senior Press Officer

E: cescritt@kia.co.uk  
T: 01932 832071 M: 07557 268 252 

Moyosola Fujamade
Press Officer (press fleet)

E: mfujamade@kia.co.uk  
T: 01932 832 069 M: 07471 216 343 

Chloe Farmer
Press Office Assistant

E: cfarmer@kia.co.uk
T: 01932 832079 M: 07795 011 475

Follow Kia on twitter @KiaUKPR
Follow Kia at www.facebook.com/kiamotorsuk
Watch Kia at www.youtube.com/kiamotorsuk

The 2017 Kia Soul EV

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

All the fact and figures                                                                   

Powertrain

 Electric motor

 Permanent magnet AC synchronous type

 Voltage

 375 V

 Power output hp (Kw)

 109 (81.4) @ 2,730-8,000 rpm

 Torque output Nm (lb ft)

 285 (211) @ 0-2,730 rpm


Transmission

 Constant final gear ratio

 8.206


On-board charger and high-voltage battery pack

 On-board charger voltage

 6.6 V

 Battery pack type

 Lithium-ion polymer

 Battery pack voltage

 375 V

 Capacity

 75 Ah

 Energy

 30 kWh

 Power

 90 kW

 Cell energy density

 200 Wh/kg

 Weight

 274.5 kg

 Volume

 241 litres

 12 V battery capacity

 40 Ah


Battery charge

 AC normal charge

 With 2.3kW In-Cable Control Box:

 230V / 10A / 11-14 hours

 With 6.6kW EV Supply Equipment:

 230V / 30A / within 4-5 hours

 DC fast charge

 With 50kW EV Supply Equipment:

 380V / 125A / 33 minutes to 80 per cent of   

 capacity


Suspension, steering and brakes

 Front suspension

 MacPherson strut

 Rear suspension

 Coupled torsion-beam axle

 Front brakes

 300 x 28mm ventilated discs

 Rear brakes

 284 x 10 mm solid discs

 Booster

 Active hydraulic

 Parking brake

 Electric

 Steering

 Rack and pinion. Motor-driven power assist

 Steering gear ratio

 15.7

 Turns lock-to-lock

 2.85

 Minimum turning circle diameter

 10.6 metres

 Wheels

 16 x 6.5J alloy

 Tyres

 205 /60 R 16 92H

 

Dimensions and weights

 Length / width / height

 4,140 / 1,800 / 1,593 mm

 Wheelbase

 2,570 mm

 Front / rear track

 1,576 / 1,585 mm

 Front / rear overhang

 840 / 730 mm

 Minimum ground clearance

 151 mm

 Luggage capacity

 281 – 891 litres

 Min Kerb Weight (kg)

 1,580

 Max Kerb Weight (kg)

 1,638

 Boot vol. (l,VDA)

 281-891

 

Performance and driving range

 Acceleration 0-60mph

 11.0 seconds

 Maximum speed

 90 mph

 Maximum driving range

 155 miles

 CO2 tailpipe emissions

 0

 Energy consumption

 143 Wh/km

 

For further information on Kia please visit www.kiapressoffice.com or contact:

Stephen Kitson
Director of Corporate Communications

E: skitson@kia.co.uk   
T: 01932 832075 M: 07795 011 936 

Daniel Sayles 
Press Relations Manager

E: dsayles@kia.co.uk  
T: 01932 832073 M: 07747 149 149 

Sara Robinson     
Senior Press Officer

E: srobinson@kia.co.u
T: 01932 832072 M: 07919 482 332 

Carly Escritt       
Senior Press Officer

E: cescritt@kia.co.uk  
T: 01932 832071 M: 07557 268 252 

Moyosola Fujamade
Press Officer (press fleet)

E: mfujamade@kia.co.uk  
T: 01932 832 069 M: 07471 216 343 

Chloe Farmer
Press Office Assistant

E: cfarmer@kia.co.uk
T: 01932 832079 M: 07795 011 475

Follow Kia on twitter @KiaUKPR
Follow Kia at www.facebook.com/kiamotorsuk
Watch Kia at www.youtube.com/kiamotorsuk

GENERAL

The 2017 Kia Soul EV

Short story

  • Kia’s first global battery-electric vehicle
  • Class-leading range extended to up to 155 miles  
  • Kia innovations stretch the distance the car can travel between charges
  • Lithium-ion polymer batteries can now store 30kWh of energy
  • Same fun styling and practical interior as combustion-engined Soul
  • Seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty

Kia's innovative all-electric small car, the Soul EV, now has an extended range of up to 155 miles on a single charge as a result of some ingenious fresh thinking by the engineering teams at the company's research and development centre in Korea. That is an improvement of 23 miles on the maximum range when the car was launched in 2015, and means that a careful driver could comfortably travel from London to Nottingham, Cardiff or Norwich in almost total silence and at negligible cost without needing to stop to top up the batteries.

This impressive extended range comes about through a number of highly developed improvements to the all-electric powertrain. There are an additional eight battery cells – now 200 instead of 192 – in eight modules; the battery storage capacity has been enlarged from 27 kilowatt-hours (kWh) to 30; the nominal voltage rises from 360 to 375V; while the amount of electric current the system can carry is up from 37.5 amp hours (Ah) to 40. There are Michelin tyres which offer less rolling resistance, while the open area in the lower front bumper has been reduced to minimise drag and improve the car's aerodynamics.

All of this has been achieved without impacting on the Soul EV's exceptional practicality, even though the rear floor is slightly higher to accommodate the additional battery cells. To compensate for this, the cooling duct to the rear battery cells has been lowered by 24mm – exactly the same as the increase in floor height.

Kia spent almost 30 years researching and developing electric powertrains before launching the Soul EV because the company wanted to ensure that the technology, recharging infrastructures and markets in the most important areas of the world were mature enough to support an all-electric vehicle. The Soul EV comes with a seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty, just like any other Kia.  

The Soul EV’s lithium-ion polymer batteries were developed by engineers from Kia and SK Innovation of Korea, and are arguably the most advanced in any electric vehicle currently on sale. The result of a three-year development programme, they have a greater energy density than those in any competitor, and benefit from a heating and cooling system to keep them at an ideal operating temperature, which helps to extend the Soul EV’s range.         

Further contributions to the class-leading range include the nickel-rich material used for the cathodes (the terminals from which the electric current leaves the batteries); regenerative braking, which tops up the batteries when coasting or slowing down; a unique air conditioning system which can be set to heat or cool only one side of the car when the driver is travelling alone; additional aerodynamic features beneath the car; and super-low-rolling-resistance tyres, which can reduce energy consumption by as much as 10 per cent.      

Batteries mounted beneath the car

The batteries are mounted beneath the car in a special casing which protects them from stone or gravel damage and spray thrown up by the wheels. In this location they are easier to reach should maintenance be required. The ducts to heat and cool them are located beneath the rear seats.

The remainder of the electric drive components are mounted beneath the bonnet, where an internal combustion engine would normally be located. Because an electric motor requires less cooling than a petrol or diesel engine, the front of the Soul EV has been blanked off where the radiator grille would normally be found. This brings aerodynamic benefits.   

The charging ports are hidden behind a panel in this blanked-off section. Owners have the option of recharging the batteries through a standard domestic socket, via the Kia-branded wallbox supplied as standard with the Soul EV, or through a public fast charger or rapid charger. Using a UK 230-volt domestic power supply, the Soul EV can be fully recharged in 11 - 14 hours. With the wallbox or a public fast-charge point, this time can be reduced to around five hours. The Soul EV is supplied with a customised red adapter cable stored in a smart Kia-branded pouch for this form of charging. Alternatively, through a public rapid charger the batteries can be topped up to 80 per cent of capacity – the maximum permissible with this type of system – in 33 minutes.

Class-leading battery capacity

The Soul EV’s batteries now have a class-leading energy storage capacity of 30 kilowatt-hours. Energy density – the relationship between energy storage capacity and battery weight and size – is also class-leading at 200 watt-hours per kilogram.

The electric motor which drives the car develops 81.4 kilowatts – the equivalent of 109bhp in a combustion-engined model – with 285 Nm of torque available immediately upon drive-away. This makes the Soul EV particularly brisk in the kind of stop-start urban driving where it was designed to operate. It is also extremely smooth, and is so quiet that it is fitted with a Virtual Engine Sound System which operates at low speeds in both forward and reverse gears to alert pedestrians and cyclists to its presence.

The Soul EV has a top speed of 90mph and can accelerate from 0-60mph in 11.0 seconds, so it is perfectly capable of keeping pace with the flow of urban traffic. Of greater relevance, it accelerates, cruises and tackles gradients with minimal power usage, which all contribute towards its long range. It can climb slopes of up to one-in-three.

The underfloor location of the batteries and the reduced weight beneath the bonnet compared with a combustion-engined Soul have lowered the centre of gravity and shifted the weight bias further to the rear, endowing the EV with a distinctive fun-to-drive character. The Soul EV has bespoke suspension tuning to take into account its 274.5kg battery system. The car features Kia’s Motor Driven Power Steering system with Flex Steer, the variable-assistance function which allows drivers to adjust the degree of assistance according to preference and where the car is being driven. For parking or manoeuvring in narrow town streets the Comfort setting offers increased assistance, while for highway driving at faster speeds, Sport mode reduces the amount of help to maximise feedback and stability. There is also an intermediate Normal setting.

Whenever the driver coasts or brakes, kinetic energy (energy caused by motion), which is normally dissipated as heat, is captured and channelled into the batteries through the regenerative braking system. The Soul EV’s range is therefore constantly being topped up on the move, particularly in urban traffic where stops and restarts are frequent.     

To help the driver maximise the car’s range, the Soul EV has two different performance levels – DRIVE and BRAKE – both of which can additionally be operated in ECO mode as a further means of extending the car’s range. The driver is therefore able to vary the recharging effect of the regenerative braking system and the performance of the car according to the requirements at any time. A 3.5-inch OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) information cluster monitors the driver’s energy efficiency and displays the energy flow, battery level, charging time and the selected settings for the air conditioning system.

The Soul EV has an intelligent heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system which includes a heat pump to recycle air that has already been heated or cooled within the cabin. The HVAC system permits only enough fresh air to be added to maintain the driver’s desired temperature and humidity. The air conditioning system can be programmed to pre-heat or pre-cool the cabin while the car is plugged into a charger to minimise drain on the battery once the driver sets off.

A spacious, stylish interior with a unique twist

Kia’s goals with the Soul EV were not only that it should have a class-leading range, but that it should remain as close to the combustion-engined versions as possible. This allows it to be built on the same production line as them at the Gwangju plant in Korea, minimising manufacturing complexity and cost, which in turn makes it more affordable.

Outwardly, the only obvious differences between the Soul EV and the models powered by internal combustion engines are the front end devoid of a radiator grille, the absence of a fuel filler flap and the unique rear light clusters. Fresh, funky, original and bold, the Soul EV – like its combustion-engined counterparts – has its roots in the Track’ster concept from the 2012 Chicago Auto Show. The design team, led by Tom Kearns, Chief Designer at the company’s California studios, adopted as many elements of the Track’ster concept as are feasible for a production car.

The Soul EV has the same proportions and dimensions as the combustion-engined versions, with an upright stance, square shoulders and distinctive bumper flares. The structural changes that have been made to accommodate the battery pack are hidden out of view, beneath the floor.

It was a major challenge for Kia’s designers and engineers to reshape the floor without affecting passenger space and versatility. The only impact is an 80mm reduction in rear-seat legroom, for which Kia has compensated by changing the materials used in the rear-seat construction. The Soul EV, like any other Soul, is therefore a compact but spacious five-seat crossover with a large boot accessed through a wide-opening, high-lift tailgate. Luggage capacity is 281 litres – a reduction of 31 litres compared with other versions of the Soul because the luggage undertray is used to house the charging adapter cable in its stylish, Kia-branded pouch. With the 60:40 split rear seats lowered, luggage capacity is 891 litres. A tyre inflation kit is provided in case of a puncture.

In keeping with its environmentally friendly powertrain, the Soul EV’s cabin is trimmed in ‘green’ materials wherever possible. This has led to the car being awarded UL Environment Validation for using bio-based organic carbon content for 10 per cent of its interior trim. UL (Underwriters Laboratories) is a global independent safety science company. Bio-degradable plastic, bio-foam and bio-fabric are all used in the construction of the Soul EV’s interior.     

The Soul EV in the UK

Kia offers just one comprehensively equipped version of the Soul EV in the UK, available in a choice of three colour schemes – Caribbean Blue with a Clear White roof, Snow White Pearl with an Electric Blue roof or Titanium Silver premium paint. The interior upholstery is Grey Eco cloth with blue stitching, while the fascia panel, door inserts and gear selector are finished in High-gloss White. The instrument cluster housing, door inserts, steering wheel and gearshifter are trimmed in leather.

Standard EV features include an 8-inch touchscreen with European mapping, traffic messaging channel, reversing camera and charging point locator; automatic air conditioning with the driver-only function; heated front seats; a smart key with a motor start-stop button; projection headlights with LED daytime running lamps; front foglamps; privacy glass on the rear windows and tailgate; 16-inch lightweight alloy wheels with super-low-rolling-resistance tyres; two charge points and the heat pump system. The car is also supplied with a wallbox charger and features Virtual Engine Sound.

Also included in the standard specification are cruise control with a speed limiter, an electronic parking brake, front and rear electric windows, electrically folding adjustable heated door mirrors with LED indicators, solar glass for the windscreen and front windows, automatic light control with a follow-me-home function, LED rear combination and high-mounted brake lights, a 3.5-inch OLED supervision instrument cluster with specific EV information display, a trip computer, front speaker mood lights, driver’s seat height adjustment, a heated steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors and a luggage cargo screen plus retaining net.

In-car entertainment includes a DAB radio with MP3 compatibility, steering wheel-mounted controls, USB and AUX ports and Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming. Safety is taken care of by Anti-lock Brakes with Emergency Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Hill-start Assist, Emergency Stop Signalling, a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System and six airbags.

The Soul EV is now compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay when paired with a suitable smartphone. Android Auto functions with Android smartphones running 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher, while Apple CarPlay is compatible with iPhone 5 and newer versions of the Apple handset. Both allow occupants to connect to various apps and functions, including voice-guided, hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition. Androind Auto gives access to Google maps navigation and Google Play music, while Apple CarPlay links to pre-loaded maps, music, podcasts, texts and messages and audiobooks, all through Siri voice control.

The Soul EV qualifies for the UK Government’s Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) of £4,500 and is exempt from UK road tax (VED) and the London Congestion Charge, while company car drivers are taxed at just 9 per cent in 2017-18. Insurance is group 18.

Warranty and Servicing

In common with all Kias, the Soul EV is covered by Kia’s seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, which includes all labour and parts except those subject to normal wear and tear. The warranty is transferable if the car is sold before the time/mileage limit expires.

It is available with Kia’s Care-3 and Care-3 Plus servicing packages, which cover the cost of all routine maintenance – ­including parts and labour – for three or five years. Like the warranty, this can be transferred to any subsequent owner should the car be sold before the expiry date.

Essential facts

Model

Power kW

Torque

Nm

0-60 sec

Max speed mph

CO2 g/km

Soul EV

81.4

285

11.0

90

0

 

 

 2          TOP 10                                  

           Innovations that give the Soul EV its class-leading range

  • The Soul EV’s 200 lithium-ion polymer battery cells have an industry-leading energy density of 200Wh/kg
  • The Soul EV has wafer-style battery cells mounted upright in eight modules. These are better at storing electrolyte than the cylindrical batteries favoured by most rivals
  • The Soul EV's cabin utilises ‘green’ materials where possible. This means the car has been awarded UL Environmental Validation for using bio-based organic carbon content for 10 per cent of its internal trim. Bio-degradable plastic, bio-foam and bio-fabric are all used in the construction of the Soul EV’s interior
  • The Soul EV’s batteries have an innovative nickel-rich cathode material
  • The Soul EV can be operated in DRIVE or BRAKE modes, with or without the ECO switch activated. This allows the driver to vary the responsiveness of the car and the amount of regenerative braking energy captured and recycled into the batteries when coasting or slowing down. The driver therefore has the option of sharper performance or maximum range
  • The Soul EV has a world-first air conditioning system which allows only the driver’s side of the car to be heated or cooled, reducing drain on the battery. It also features an innovative heat pump to recycle air already heated or cooled and a Smart Air Intake Control system which allows just enough fresh air in to maintain the desired temperature and humidity.
  • The Soul EV allows the owner to use Scheduled Climatisation so that the interior is heated or cooled to the desired temperature while the car is plugged in, thus saving battery power on the move
  • The Soul EV features extensive underbody aerodynamic additions which deliver the double benefits of protecting the batteries and smoothing airflow beneath the car. Because an electric motor needs far less cooling than an internal combustion engine, the front of the Soul EV has no radiator grille, which also improves aerodynamics
  • The Soul EV runs on super-low-rolling-resistance tyres which can contribute 10 per cent energy savings compared to conventional low rolling resistance tyres
  • The Soul EV’s unique 3.5-inch OLED instrument cluster provides information relating to energy flow and energy economy, among other things, to help the driver get the maximum range

3          STRUCTURE, STYLING AND SAFETY                                                                  

           How the Soul EV differs from its combustion-engined counterparts

From the moment Kia’s product planners and designers got down to discussing ideas for the second-generation Soul, it was clear that an all-electric version had to feature in the line-up as a further step towards the company’s ultimate goal of zero-emissions mobility. It was also essential that the electric version had to be capable of going down the same production line as the combustion-engined models, to reduce manufacturing complexity and cost and ensure that it would be affordable for buyers.

This was not quite as easy as it sounds. While the electric motor and associated components fit easily into the under-bonnet space designed to take an engine, gearbox and associated cooling systems, finding a home for a battery system which weighs 274.5kg, and in a way that does not detract from the handling balance or crash safety, was much more challenging. 

With this in mind, Kia decided to base the second-generation Soul on the platform of the cee’d range, and to mount the batteries of the electric model beneath the car’s floor. This brings the triple benefits of keeping the additional weight – and therefore the centre of gravity – low; minimises loss of cabin space; and ensures the batteries are out of harm’s way in an accident.

Unique underbody

The floor area of the Soul EV within the wheelbase is bespoke. It features five additional cross-members which form a bolt-on cradle for the battery pack. The batteries have been shaped to fit the space available and intrude as little as possible into the passenger and luggage areas. These extra cross-members increase the structural rigidity of the EV by 27 per cent compared with the combustion-engined model. Contributing to this is the higher proportion of ultra-high-strength steel in the B-pillars and sill areas of the EV – up from 35 per cent to 37.1 per cent.

The Soul EV is a demonstration of the ingenuity of Kia’s designers and engineers when it comes to packaging. The bespoke shape of the batteries means that only 80mm of rear legroom has been sacrificed in the conversion of the Soul from combustion-engined model to EV, and this has been compensated for by reshaping the rear cushions. The only loss of space is therefore in the luggage area – a reduction of 31 litres – because the undertray is now used to house the recharging cables. The boot capacity of the EV is 281 litres, or 891 litres with the 60:40 split rear seats lowered.  

The impact that the extra weight of the batteries would have on the EV’s crash performance had already been taken into account during the design and engineering phase for the combustion-engined versions, but there are two additional longitudinal deformation structures to absorb front-end crash loads, while the five additional cross-members to support the batteries help to absorb side impact forces.     

All of this has been achieved with minimal alteration to the external appearance of the Soul – another ‘must’ during the development stage, since design is one of the first things buyers mention when asked to give their reasons for choosing the car. The only obvious differences between the EV and the models powered by internal combustion engines are the front end devoid of a radiator grille, the absence of a fuel filler flap and the unique rear light clusters. The EV also has a reshaped rear bumper.

The second-generation Soul was inspired by Kia’s Track’ster concept from the 2012 Chicago Auto Show. Kia is renowned for turning the design cues of its concept cars into production reality, and the Soul design team, led by Tom Kearns, Chief Designer at the company’s California studios, adopted as many elements of the Track’ster concept as is feasible for a production car. The result is a sporty, tough-looking car which maintains what Kearns calls the ‘bulldog’ proportions of the Track’ster while adding a premium look.

It has a sharp edge to the front of the bonnet, a strong bumper and wheel arches and purposeful-looking foglights. Meanwhile, the precision headlamp units with LED daytime running lamps and the door mirror housings with LED indicators are clear pointers to the car’s quality.

The designers are especially proud of the pronounced ‘backpack’ shape of the tailgate, with its seamlessly integrated tail lamp units. Along with the reclined roof and sturdy C-pillars, these help to give the Soul a tough, robust appearance. It was an extremely challenging part of the car to get right, but well worth the long hours of effort.

The upright stance, square shoulders and distinctive bumper flares instantly identify the EV as a Soul, while the dedicated colour schemes – Caribbean Blue metallic with a Clear White roof, Snow White Pearl with an Electric Blue roof or Titanium Silver premium paint – bespoke 16-inch lightweight alloy wheels and discreet ‘eco electric’ badges signify that, despite the powerful crossover looks, this is an environmentally sensitive car. The dimensions are identical to those of the combustion-engined models, with a long wheelbase of 2,570mm within an overall length of 4,140mm.

Much-loved themes from the combustion-engined Soul, such as the wraparound greenhouse with privacy glass, have been preserved for the EV.

Track’ster cues also found in the roomy cabin

Themes from the Track’ster concept car are also to be found in the interior. Kearns and his California design team have deliberately played up the circular patterns which were used so emphatically in the Track’ster. The ideas were inspired by the ripples which spread outwards when drops of water land on the still surface of a pond.

The expressive circular theme is most obvious in Kia’s familiar deeply recessed instrument gauges, but is also to be found on the sculpted door panels which house the power window switches and locks. In the EV, the centre console panel, door inlays and drive selector are in white. 

The front door speakers and high-mounted ‘floating’ tweeters – with mood lighting utilising LED technology to create a ripple effect – maintain the circular patterns. The steering wheel-mounted audio controls are located in circular groupings along the lower spokes. The outer air vents are in the top of the fascia and incorporate the defrosters and audio tweeters in one stylish unit, emphasising that music is once again one of the core characteristics of the Soul. 

The design team also put a lot of effort into instilling a premium look and feel to the interior through the choice of materials and the large main screen, while practicality was also paramount, as demonstrated by the copious in-cabin storage areas.There are soft-touch facings on the instrument panel, centre console and door panels, and the steering wheel rim and gearlever knob are leather-covered.

For the EV there is a 3.5-inch OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) information cluster giving energy usage information, and an 8-inch satellite navigation and infotainment display in the centre of the dashboard. Environmentalism does not mean austerity.

In keeping with its environmentally friendly powertrain, the Soul EV’s cabin is trimmed in ‘green’ materials wherever possible. This has led to the car being awarded UL Environment Validation for using bio-based organic carbon content for 10 per cent of its interior trim. UL (Underwriters Laboratories) is a global independent safety science company. Bio-degradable plastic, bio-foam and bio-fabric are all used in the construction of the Soul EV’s interior.     

The step-in point and hip point are low, making it easy to get in and out while delivering a sporty driving position. The windscreen pillars are positioned far enough away from the front occupants so as not to obstruct visibility – an essential component in a car designed to spend its life in urban areas – and there is a low centre tunnel allowing plenty of arm and elbow space. 

The centre fascia has been sculpted to bring the main controls close to the driver, with the start/stop button positioned next to the drive selector. This is not only a logical and ergonomic layout, but it also allows the seat heater switch to be placed in the main climate control panel, consolidating all the temperature and air circulation switches in one place.

There is another important space-saving measure, too. With an increasing number of Soul buyers now relying on smartphones or MP3 players for their in-car music, Kia has taken the decision to fit a DAB Radio with USB and AUX ports and Bluetooth with music streaming in place of a CD player. This helps to lower the height of the fascia for a more streamlined appearance.

4          POWERTRAIN AND CHASSIS                                                                                 

           Where everything fits and how it works

Kia has not leapt blindly into the world of electric vehicles. The company’s engineers have been engaged in EV research for almost 30 years. But with governments all around the world now focusing on climate change, fuel-supply stability and fuel economy, the impetus to start mass production has been building in recent years.  

Even so, Kia wanted to be certain of its ground before launching its first globally available EV. That is why, in 2011, the company decided to build 2,500 electric versions of the Ray, a domestic-market urban runabout, for official agencies in Korea to use as mobile test-beds for its EV technology. Some were even made available to an electric-vehicle hire scheme – similar to London’s ‘Boris Bikes’ – in the Korean capital, Seoul. Kia wanted to study how potential buyers might use an EV, what their requirements were and what pitfalls might lie in wait.

Feedback from those trials revealed that most users wanted a full recharge to be possible in four to five hours through a domestic wallbox or public fast-charge point, or around 33 minutes using a public rapid charger, and that the range and performance of the Ray EV needed to be increased. As a result, Kia established a range target of 125 miles (200 kilometres), a 0-62mph time of at most 12 seconds and a top speed of 90mph for the Soul EV. All these goals have been met or exceeded thanks to some ingenious engineering solutions. The outcome is a class-leading range now extended to up to 155 miles, a 0-60mph time of 11.0 seconds and a top speed of 90mph.

The batteries

The batteries of an EV are an energy storage device like the fuel tank of a petrol or diesel car. In theory, it is possible to increase the range of an EV by adding more storage capacity in the form of more batteries. The flaw in this argument is that batteries are heavy and the additional energy stored ends up being used simply to move the increased weight rather than extend the range. More batteries would also take up more room and reduce the space for passengers and luggage.     

The challenge was to increase the amount of energy that can be stored without increasing the size and weight of the batteries. It is in this area that Kia and the Soul EV are especially ingenious. In collaboration with SK Innovation, a branch of South Korea’s largest oil refiner, Kia has developed a 30 kilowatt-hour, 375-volt lithium-ion polymer battery pack with class-leading energy density. Energy density can be expressed as the relationship between energy storage capacity and the weight and size of the batteries, and in the Soul EV it equates to 200 watt-hours per kilogram.

The Soul EV's impressive extended range comes about through a number of painstakingly developed improvements to the all-electric powertrain. There are an additional eight battery cells – now 200 instead of 192 – in eight modules; the battery storage capacity has been enlarged from 27 kilowatt-hours (kWh) to 30; the nominal voltage rises from 360 to 375V; while the amount of electric current the system can carry is up from 37.5 amp hours (Ah) to 40. There are new Michelin tyres which offer even less rolling resistance than before, while the open area in the lower front bumper has been reduced to minimise drag and improve the car's aerodynamics.

A number of factors contribute towards the Soul EV’s high energy density.

1) The shape of the batteries

Most electric vehicles use cylindrical-shaped lithium-ion batteries. The Soul EV’s lithium-ion polymer batteries are wafer-shaped, and stacked upright on their sides. This makes it easier to pack the 200 battery cells, arranged in eight modules, to fit the shape of the Soul, rather than the car having to be adapted to accommodate them. Lithium-ion polymer is also more efficient because its cell structure has fewer parts, it is safer and more reliable thanks to better thermal diffusion and internal pressure control, and it can be manufactured at lower cost. A special secure separator is used in the Soul EV’s battery cells to determine the safe charge and discharge speeds of energy. It helps to keep the cells from overheating or catching fire if their temperature exceeds normal limits.      

2) The cathode material

The lithium-ions move from cathode to anode during charging and from anode to cathode during discharging. Generally, the cathode consists of heavy oxides and can store less energy per kilogram than the anode, which is made up of light carbons. To improve efficiency, the amount of electricity stored by the cathode must therefore be increased. Kia has achieved this by using a nickel-rich material for the cathode of the Soul EV. High-performance electrolyte additive and anode materials were also developed to maintain high energy density while delivering good life-cycle and safety performance.    

3) Regenerative braking

The Soul EV is fitted with a regenerative braking system which channels kinetic energy (energy caused by motion) normally wasted or dissipated as heat into the batteries whenever the car is coasting or braking to a halt. The Soul EV’s range is therefore constantly being topped up on the move, particularly in urban traffic, where stops and restarts are frequent. The Soul EV offers a number of driving modes which vary the performance of the car and the amount of kinetic energy which is recovered in this way.

The highest regenerative braking effect is provided in BRAKE mode (B on the gear selector). This gives maximum brake energy recovery without diminishing the car’s top speed or kickdown response. Drivers have the choice of switching an ECO button on or off. With it on, acceleration is restricted until the accelerator is 90 per cent open, and the air conditioning system functions slightly below maximum performance. Both of these effects are reversed with the button in the off position.

There is also a DRIVE (D) mode which also allows the ECO button to be switched on or off. The regenerative braking effect is reduced compared with BRAKE mode, but the top speed, acceleration, kickdown and cabin heating and cooling perform the same as in the respective BRAKE mode.                 

4) The HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system

In winter, when a car’s air conditioning system is set to give maximum heating in the cabin, the range of an electric vehicle can be reduced by as much as 50 per cent. Even in less extreme use, ventilation and cooling systems have a dramatic effect on range. Reducing the energy consumption of the HVAC system was therefore a priority during the development of the Soul EV, and Kia’s engineers have devised four clever new technologies with this in mind.

The first is the heat pump, which recycles waste heat from the air conditioning and electrical systems to warm up the cabin, thus reducing load on the battery. The system consists of a compressor, an evaporator and a condenser.

In conjunction with this, a Smart Air Intake monitors the air that has already been heated or cooled by the HVAC system and introduces just the optimum amount of fresh air to maintain the driver’s desired temperature and level of humidity. This helps to increase the car’s range by reducing the load on the HVAC system. It relies on a humidity sensor, temperature control and air intake actuator.

The Soul EV is also the first vehicle in the world to be fitted with Individual Ventilation, which allows the HVAC system to heat or cool only the driver’s side of the cabin when there are no passengers. It completely closes off the airflow which would have gone to the passenger’s side. Other vehicles merely close the vents without restricting airflow.

Finally, the Soul EV is fitted with Scheduled Ventilation, a first in a Kia. This allows the cabin to be heated or cooled 30 minutes before the driver wishes to set off, while the car is plugged into a charging point, so that drain on the battery during the journey is minimised. It is programmed via the car’s Human Machine Interface (HMI).

The electric motor

Kia has developed and manufactures its own electric motor for the Soul EV. It develops 81.4 kilowatts of power, equivalent to 109bhp in a combustion-engined car. Maximum torque is 285 Nm, available immediately upon drive-away. This makes the car particularly brisk in the kind of stop-start urban driving where it was designed to operate. The Soul EV is fitted with a Virtual Engine Sound system that operates at low speeds in both forward and reverse gears to alert pedestrians and cyclists to its presence. 

The Soul EV has a top speed of 90mph, which is more than adequate for commuting, and can accelerate from 0-60mph in 11.0 seconds, so it is perfectly capable of keeping pace with the flow of urban traffic. Of greater relevance, it accelerates, cruises and tackles gradients with minimal power usage, which helps to extend its range. It can climb slopes of up to one-in-three.  

Drive is taken to the front wheels through a single-speed constant-ratio gear reduction unit. Because of the instantly available maximum torque from drive-away, more than one gear is unnecessary.

The same fun-to-drive character as any other Soul

The Soul EV has bespoke suspension tuning to take into account the weight of its batteries and the character of European city roads, but it delivers the same fun-to-drive handling characteristics and soothing ride quality as any other Soul. In fact, with the weight balance having been shifted lower and further to the rear because of the location of the batteries, allied to the instantly available torque, it could be argued that the EV is even more engaging than the combustion-engined Soul in city driving, as well as more relaxing because of the absence of noise. The EV’s weight is almost entirely concentrated within the wheelbase, the ideal balance normally found in a mid-engined supercar. 

At the front there is an H-type subframe coupled with a MacPherson strut suspension system. This significantly reduces vibrations, improving NVH as well as ride quality. A three-point insulator has been applied to the front struts. This is more effective at absorbing major as well as minor vibrations.

The rear wheels are mounted to a coupled torsion beam axle, and are almost perpendicular to the body as a result of the damper lever ratio. The lever ratio is an important factor in determining ride comfort: the general rule is that the closer the ratio is to one, the more absorbent the ride. Tubular beams and a large low arm bush also make significant improvements to comfort.

All of this has been aided by the increased rigidity of the Soul EV, which – thanks to the battery cradle with its five cross-members – is 27 per cent stiffer than a combustion-engined Soul. The amount of ultra-high-strength steel in the EV’s construction is 37.1 per cent compared with 35 per cent in the combustion-engined versions.

The Soul EV has Kia’s Motor Driven Power Steering system with Flex Steer, the variable-assistance function which allows drivers to adjust the degree of assistance according to preference and where the car is being driven. For parking or manoeuvring in narrow town streets the Comfort setting offers increased assistance, while for highway driving at speed the Sport mode reduces the amount of help to maximise feedback and stability. There is also a Normal setting. Changes are made via a button on the steering wheel, and the driver’s last chosen setting is always maintained until manually altered, even after switching off the engine.

The Soul EV has ventilated front brake discs 300mm in diameter and solid 284mm rear discs. Anti-lock Braking (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BAS) are standard, helping drivers to safely brake and steer at the same time in an emergency, and to ensure stopping effort is apportioned in the most effective way and that the car stops in the shortest possible distance, regardless of the force applied to the pedal. Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) help keep the car stable on slippery surfaces or at excessive cornering speeds and prevent it rolling backwards when setting off on uphill gradients.

5          OWNERSHIP 

             Insurance, servicing, tax benefits and recharging options

Kia’s goal with the Soul EV was to confront all the arguments that potential buyers put forward against electric-vehicle ownership and resolve them one by one. The most common obstacles mentioned in almost every market where EVs are sold revolve around range, performance, infrastructure and cost. Kia and the Soul EV have hurdled every one. Kia uses the highest level of EV technology available today, and has even produced some new ideas for the Soul EV.

To pave the way for the car’s introduction, Kia decided in 2011 to build 2,500 electric versions of the Ray, a domestic-market urban runabout, for official agencies in Korea to use as mobile test-beds for its EV technology. Some were even made available to an electric-vehicle hire scheme – similar to London’s ‘Boris Bikes’ – in the Korean capital, Seoul.

The Ray EV had a 50-kilowatt electric motor, a 16.4 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion polymer battery pack and a range of 86 miles. With 167 Nm of torque, it could accelerate from 0-62mph in 15.9 seconds and had a top speed of 81mph. Feedback from users suggested that most were happy with the recharge times but that the range and performance needed to be increased.

Kia established a minimum range target of 125 miles, a 0-62mph time of at most 12 seconds and a top speed of 90mph for the Soul EV. All these goals have been met or exceeded thanks to a larger battery pack with greater energy storage and a more powerful electric motor for the Soul EV. Its lithium-ion polymer batteries have the capacity of 3,500 smartphone batteries.

The Soul EV now has a class-leading range of up to 155 miles, which is more than adequate for most daily commutes – typical EV usage. Its 0-60mph time of 11.0 seconds allows it to keep pace effortlessly with commuter traffic at common urban speeds, and a top speed of 90mph and a power output of 81.4 kilowatts mean it has plenty in reserve for urban motorway sections or hill-climbing.

Kia decided from the outset that its first commercially available EV would be based on a regular production model rather than a bespoke offering. This would reduce manufacturing cost and complexity and ensure the car would be more affordable. The Soul, with its urban-influenced styling, high floor and exceptional passenger and luggage space within a short overall footprint, was the obvious choice. The EV was factored into the product planning and design phases from the start.

Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG)

In the UK the Soul EV qualifies for a £4,500 subsidy under the government’s Plug-in Car Grant programme. It attracts no Vehicle Excise Duty because of its zero tailpipe emissions, while for business users – who account for 55 per cent of sales – it attracts only 9 per cent car tax (BIK) in 2017-18. The cost of electricity to recharge the car will vary depending on the supplier, tariff and the time of day the car is plugged in, but a full recharge will typically cost considerably less than a gallon of diesel or petrol, and has been shown to deliver up to 155 miles range in laboratory tests.

Charging

Owners have the option of recharging the batteries through a standard domestic socket, via the Kia-branded wallbox supplied as standard with the Soul EV, or through a public fast charger or rapid charger. Using a UK 230-volt AC domestic power supply, the Soul EV can be fully recharged in 11 to 14 hours. With the AC wallbox or a 6.6-kilowatt, 32-amp public charging point, the time is reduced to less than five hours. The Soul EV is supplied with a customised red adapter cable stored in a smart Kia-branded pouch for this form of charging. Alternatively, through a 50-kilowatt rapid DC charger the batteries can be topped up to 80 per cent of capacity – the maximum permissible with this type of charger – in 33 minutes.

The number of rapid electric vehicle charging points in the UK – at roadside service stations, in public or office car parks and at supermarkets and shopping malls – is increasing all the time and will accelerate further as pressure on car manufacturers to lower CO2 emissions encourages more and more electric vehicles.

The Soul EV is sold in the UK through Kia dealers who have asked to become EV specialists. Not surprisingly, the majority of these are based in urban areas.  The Soul EV – with zero tailpipe emissions – is exempt from the London’s weekday Congestion Charge. Participating dealers can be found on www.kia.com/uk

Servicing is required at the same 10,000-mile or 12-month intervals as a petrol-engined Soul, but the amount of work – and therefore the labour and parts costs – are less since there are far fewer moving parts and wear-and-tear items with the EV. The annual check is largely as a safety precaution and to preserve the warranties offered with the car.

Kia’s outstanding seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty applies to Soul EV just like any other car in the company's portfolio.  While other manufacturers provide extended warranties for the batteries, Kia does so for the whole car, with the exception of normal wear and tear items. The warranty is transferable if the car is sold before the time or mileage limits have been exceeded. There is also a 12-year anti-perforation warranty and a five-year paintwork warranty, plus one year’s roadside assistance through KIAssist.

The car is available with Kia’s Care-3 and Care-3 Plus servicing packages, which cover the cost of all routine maintenance – ­including parts and labour – for three or five years. This can be transferred to any subsequent owner should the car be sold before the package has expired.

Insurance is in group 18.      

6          THE SOUL EV IN THE UK                                                                                       

             What buyers get for their money

The Soul EV is a zero-emissions (at the tailpipe) car designed to lower running costs for owners who live, commute or do business in traffic-clogged towns and cities – exactly the kind of use where combustion-engined vehicles are at their least efficient. It is not an austerity car, but an extremely well equipped model with all the features that make life comfortable, relaxing and safe for drivers and passengers who spend a disproportionate amount of time travelling only short distances.  

Naturally, it is equipped with everything an owner needs to monitor the charge status of the batteries and energy usage, find recharging points and plug the car in. It has ECO driving modes, automatically activated every time the car is switched on, which reduce the rate of acceleration to minimise energy usage and increase the driving range.

A heat pump system uses waste heat from the electrical components and recycles it into the cabin to maintain the driver’s desired temperature, thus reducing the load on the batteries, while the air conditioning system can be set to driver-only mode when there are no passengers so that it heats or cools only one side of the cabin­. Owners are also able to pre-heat or pre-cool the cabin up to 30 minutes before they set off, while the car is plugged in, as a third way of minimising load on the batteries.        

Satellite navigation is standard through an 8-inch touch-screen to help save energy by directing drivers to their destinations by the most efficient route. It includes a traffic messaging channel (TMC), a charging point locator and a full-colour status display to update drivers on the remaining range. A 3.5-inch low-energy-consumption OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) display in the instruments provides information on energy flow, charging time, energy economy and ECO driving level (through, appropriately, a tree symbol).     

The Soul EV is supplied with two charging cables. One is a standard three-pin system for slow domestic charging overnight. The second is a 32-amp Type 1 to Type 2 adapter cable which can recharge the car at a faster rate through the standard Kia-branded 30-amp wallbox or public AC fast-charge sockets. The cables are stored beneath the boot floor, with the adaptor cable housed in a stylish Kia-branded pouch. Charging up to 80 per cent of capacity is also possible through a 50-kilowatt CHAdeMO rapid public charger.  

The car is available in Caribbean Blue with a Clear White roof,  Snow White Pearl with an Electric Blue roof or Titanium Silver premium paint. The interior upholstery is Grey Eco cloth with blue stitching, while the fascia panel, door inserts and gear selector are finished in High-Gloss White. The instrument cluster housing, door inserts, steering wheel and gearshifter are trimmed in leather.

The 8-inch navigation touchscreen is linked to a reversing camera, and there are front and rear parking sensors – extremely useful when trying to park in crowded city streets. The infotainment system includes a DAB RDS radio with MP3 compatibility, steering wheel-mounted controls, USB and AUX ports and Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming.

The Soul EV is now compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay when paired with a suitable smartphone. Android Auto functions with Android smartphones running 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher, while Apple CarPlay is compatible with iPhone 5 and newer versions of the Apple handset. Both allow occupants to connect to various apps and functions, including voice-guided, hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition. Androind Auto gives access to Google maps navigation and Google Play music, while Apple CarPlay links to pre-loaded maps, music, podcasts, texts and messages and audiobooks, all through Siri voice control. 

The luxurious appointments include heated front seats; a smart key with a motor start-stop button; projection headlights with LED daytime running lamps; front foglamps; privacy glass on the rear windows and tailgate; 16-inch lightweight alloy wheels with super-low-rolling-resistance tyres; cruise control with a speed limiter; an electronic parking brake; front and rear electric windows; electrically folding adjustable heated door mirrors with LED indicators; solar glass for the windscreen and front windows; automatic light control with a follow-me-home function; LED rear combination and high-mounted brake lights; front speaker mood lights; driver’s seat height adjustment; a heated steering wheel; and a luggage cargo screen plus retaining net.

Safety is taken care of by Anti-lock Brakes with Emergency Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Hill-start Assist, Emergency Stop Signalling, a Tyre Pressure Monitoring system and six airbags. And because electric vehicles are so quiet there is Virtual Engine Sound which operates with both forward and reverse gears to warn pedestrians and cyclists that the Soul EV is in the vicinity.

SPECIFICATION

BATTERY

81.4kW Electric Motor

EXTERIOR DESIGN & LIGHTING

 

16" Lightweight Alloy Wheels (205/60R16) with Super Low Rolling Resistance Tyres

P

Radiator Grille with Charging Ports & Coloured Surround

P

Body Coloured Exterior Door Handles with Body Coloured Exterior Door Mirrors

P Titanium Silver

Body Coloured Exterior Door Handles with Roof Coloured Exterior Door Mirrors

P Caribbean Blue with Clear White Roof

Body Coloured Bumpers with Colour Accent

P

Black High Gloss A-Pillars

P

Privacy Glass (Rear Windows & Tailgate)

P

Solar Glass (Front Windows & Windscreen)

P

Projection Headlights

P

Automatic Headlight Control with Welcome & Follow-me-home Light Functionality

P

Manual Headlight Levelling Device

P

Front Fog Lights

P

Rear Fog Light

P

LED Daytime Running Lights

P

LED Rear Combination Lights

P

LED High-mounted Brake Light

P

Speed Variable Front Aeroblade Wipers

P

Rear Wiper/Washer

P

Heated Rear Window

P

Electrically Folding, Adjustable & Heated Door Mirrors with LED Indicator Lights

P

Wide-View Driver's Door Mirror

P

Metallic Paint

P

INTERIOR DESIGN & COMFORT

Grey Two-Tone Eco Cloth with Blue Stitching

P

Heated Front Seats

P

Tilt & Telescopic Steering Wheel Adjustment

P

Sliding & Reclining Front Seats

P

Driver's Seat Height Adjuster

P

Leather Trimmed Steering Wheel with Blue Stitching & Leather Trimmed Gear Shift

P

Heated Steering Wheel

P

Faux Leather Door Armrest with White High Gloss Inserts

P

Satin Chrome Interior Door Handles

P

White High Gloss Centre Fascia & Gear Shift

P

Leather Trimmed Supervision Cluster Housing

P

Front Centre Armrest with Blue Stitching & Storage Box

P

Electric Parking Brake (EPB)

P

Driver's Footrest

P

Door Scuff Plates

P

Climate Control Air Conditioning with Dual-Zone Controls with 'Driver Only' Function

P

Automatic Defog System

P

Auto-dimming Rear View Mirror

P

Sunvisors with Sliding Extensions & Vanity Mirrors with Illumination

P

All-round Electric Windows with Driver's Auto Up/Down Function

P

Cigar Lighter

P

Cruise Control & Speed Limiter

P

Motor Start/Stop with Smart Keyless Entry System

P

INTERIOR LIGHTING, STORAGE & VERSATILITY

60:40 Split Folding 2nd Row Seats

P

Front Console 12v Power Socket

P

Front Passenger Back Seat Pocket

P

Front & Rear Door Map Pockets

P

Glovebox with Illumination

P

Centre Console Cupholders with Sliding Cover

P

Front Cabin Map Lights with Sunglasses Case

P

Centre Cabin Map Lights

P

Ignition Keyhole Illumination

P

Start/Stop Button Illumination

P

Temporary Mobility Kit (TMK)

P

Luggage Area Light

P

Luggage Area Load Cover

P

Luggage Net, Hooks & Under-floor Storage Tray

P

Luggage 12v Power Outlet

P

AUDIO, COMMUNICATION & INFORMATION

6-Speaker System

P

Front Speaker Mood Lights

P

DAB Radio with MP3 Compatibility

P

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity

P

3.5 Inch OLED Supervision Cluster (Tachometer, Rheostat, External Temperature)

P

8 Inch Touchscreen Satellite Navigation with European Mapping &
Traffic Messaging Channel (TMC) & Charging Point Locator

P

Kia connected services featuring TomTom live

P

Reversing Camera System (In Centre Fascia Screen)

P

USB & AUX Ports for Connection of an Audio Media Device (iPod / Memory Stick)

P

Steering Wheel Mounted Controls

P

Bluetooth® with Voice Recognition & Music Streaming

P

Front & Rear Parking Sensors

P

Trip Computer

P

Digital Clock

P

Washer Fluid Warning

P

CHARGING & HARDWARE

ECO Driving Mode

P

AC (Type 1) & DC (CHAdeMO) Charging Ports

P

Charging Port Illumination

P

3-Phase Charge Status Indicator (On Crash Pad)

P

3-pin AC 230V Charging Cable

P

J1772 (Type 1 to Type 2) AC Adaptor Cable

P

AC 7kW 30A Domestic Wallbox Charger

OPT

Gear Shift Mode 'B' (Maximum Regenerative Braking Mode)

P

Heat Pump System

P

Climate Control & Charging Time Pre-Set Functionality

P

ACTIVE SAFETY & DRIVING DYNAMICS

ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) & Brake Assist System (BAS)

P

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) & Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)

P

Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC)

P

Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

P

Emergency Stop Signalling (ESS)

P

Flex Steer (Comfort, Normal, Sport Modes)

P

Virtual Engine Sound (VES)

P

PASSIVE SAFETY

Twin Front Airbags

P

Front Passenger Airbag Cut-Off Switch

P

Twin Side Airbags (Front)

P

Twin Curtain Airbags

P

All-Round Height Adjustable Head Rests

P

ISOFIX Child Seat Top Tethers & Anchor Fixings

P

All-Round 3-Point Seatbelts

P

Front Seatbelt Pre-Tensioners & Load Limiters

P

Height Adjustable Front Seatbelts

P

Seatbelt Reminder Warning

P

Impact Sensing Auto Door Unlocking

P

SECURITY

Engine Immobiliser

P

Door Deadlocks

P

Speed Sensing Auto Door Locking (Dealer-Activated Feature)

P

Locking Wheel Nuts

P

Visible Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

P

 

7          HISTORY     

           Thirty years of development

With international pressure to reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption intensifying, and governments willing to support electric vehicles with cash or tax incentives, EVs have recently become more viable and affordable. Cars like the Soul EV are also designed from the outset to accept an all-electric powertrain, so the compromises in terms of space and practicality are eliminated.

Kia developed its first electric vehicle, based on the Besta van, as long ago as 1986, and more recently has shown battery-powered versions of the Sportage as well as the electric Pop, Ray and Naimo concepts.         

To pave the way for the Soul EV, Kia built 2,500 electric versions of the Ray, a domestic-market urban runabout, for official agencies in Korea to use as mobile test-beds for its EV technology. Some also became part of an electric-car hire scheme – similar to London’s ‘Boris Bikes’ – in the Korean capital, Seoul.

This led to the development of a larger battery pack with greater energy storage and a more powerful electric motor for the Soul EV. Its lithium-ion polymer batteries have the capacity of 3,500 smartphone batteries.

Kia is also a world leader in the development of fuel cell vehicles, which create their own electricity on the move through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, and has pledged to have them in series production before the end of this decade.       

Kia’s ultimate goal is zero-emissions motoring across the board. It will be some time yet before that can be achieved, but the company is increasing research and development spending on green technologies year by year.

8          MANUFACTURING                                                                                                   

           Built at Gwangju on the same line as any other Soul

The Soul EV is built on the same production line as the combustion-engined models at Kia’s Gwangju plant in Korea. This was deemed imperative from the start of the project to reduce manufacturing complexity and cost.

The 200 battery cells are produced by SK Innovation in Korea before being transported to Mobis, Kia’s logistics division, which then assembles them into eight modules. These sealed metal container sub-assemblies are then delivered to Gwangju to be fed into the production system along a special side line and bolted to the car from the underside by robots. More robots also install the pre-assembled electric motor and ancillary components. Production line workers have had special training for the Soul EV.

Gwangju was fully refurbished in 2008 and is capable of manufacturing 135,000 examples of theb Soul, including the EV, per year. The Gwangju plant has been in operation since 1998, when Kia was acquired by parent company Hyundai. The 2008 upgrade was to ensure even higher production quality and greater flexibility.

Gwangju also produces trucks, buses and military vehicles – most of which have never seen European soil in any shape or form – as well as the Sportage for markets outside Europe: European Sportages are built at Kia's world-class Žilina factory in Slovakia, alongside the cee'd family.

Gwangju employs 7,000 workers and has an annual capacity of 420,000 vehicles.  Knock-down (CKD) vehicles are also made there for assembly outside Korea.  It is a highly efficient plant that has facilities to match any in the world.  It is also a strategic export base for Kia, and as with all Kia factories, great efforts have been made in recent years to reduce its environmental impact – especially important for a plant now producing a zero-emissions vehicle.

The plant has adopted zero-landfill scrap disposal, increased robotisation in its painting facilities and gone over to totally soluble paints; introduced a separate waste collection system to minimise wastage; and even added solar heating for its hot water, all with the aim of reducing energy consumption and its CO2 output.

Kia has made reducing the amount of raw materials being fed into the production process a major priority in every production facility around the globe.  The last few years have seen significant progress in reducing waste, increasing recycling and developing cleaner production processes.

Exhaust pollutants from Gwangju have also decreased dramatically and new technology is playing a significant part in environmental improvement.  Typical cast melting furnaces produce large amounts of dust and contained within this is a high proportion of zinc.  The captured dust is treated and the zinc extracted before being re-used within the production process.

In another area of Gwangju, a direct-fired steam air-conditioning system has been introduced.  Unlike conventional systems that need fuel to supply heat after converting to steam, these systems transfer heat directly from the fuel/heat reservoirs within the plant to indoor rooms. This system has proven to be remarkably efficient and annually saves around 107 tonnes of CO2 .

The green landscape around each facility is an important part of each plant make-up.  One ongoing programme is based on a number of ecology gardens which are filled with trees and plants resistant and sensitive to environmental changes in air pollution.  The Gwangju plant is no different, with more than 88,300m2 of green areas and 98,100 trees.  Almost 15 per cent of the factory plot is given over to green areas.  This has the added benefits of providing a more comfortable environment for the staff and the local population and offsetting some of the CO2 output from the facility.

The overall effect of the many green initiatives – reducing the use of raw materials, recycling and reducing waste – has resulted in Gwangju being officially recognised as an eco-friendly worksite by the Korean Ministry of the Environment.

Stephen Kitson
Director of Corporate Communications

E: skitson@kia.co.uk   
T: 01932 832075 M: 07795 011 936 

Daniel Sayles 
Press Relations Manager

E: dsayles@kia.co.uk  
T: 01932 832073 M: 07747 149 149 

Sara Robinson     
Senior Press Officer

E: srobinson@kia.co.u
T: 01932 832072 M: 07919 482 332 

Carly Escritt       
Senior Press Officer

E: cescritt@kia.co.uk  
T: 01932 832071 M: 07557 268 252 

Moyosola Fujamade
Press Officer (press fleet)

E: mfujamade@kia.co.uk  
T: 01932 832 069 M: 07471 216 343 

Chloe Farmer
Press Office Assistant

E: cfarmer@kia.co.uk
T: 01932 832079 M: 07795 011 475

Follow Kia on twitter @KiaUKPR
Follow Kia at www.facebook.com/kiamotorsuk
Watch Kia at www.youtube.com/kiamotorsuk

SPECIFICATION

The 2017 Kia Soul EV

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

All the fact and figures                                                                   

Powertrain

 Electric motor

 Permanent magnet AC synchronous type

 Voltage

 375 V

 Power output hp (Kw)

 109 (81.4) @ 2,730-8,000 rpm

 Torque output Nm (lb ft)

 285 (211) @ 0-2,730 rpm


Transmission

 Constant final gear ratio

 8.206


On-board charger and high-voltage battery pack

 On-board charger voltage

 6.6 V

 Battery pack type

 Lithium-ion polymer

 Battery pack voltage

 375 V

 Capacity

 75 Ah

 Energy

 30 kWh

 Power

 90 kW

 Cell energy density

 200 Wh/kg

 Weight

 274.5 kg

 Volume

 241 litres

 12 V battery capacity

 40 Ah


Battery charge

 AC normal charge

 With 2.3kW In-Cable Control Box:

 230V / 10A / 11-14 hours

 With 6.6kW EV Supply Equipment:

 230V / 30A / within 4-5 hours

 DC fast charge

 With 50kW EV Supply Equipment:

 380V / 125A / 33 minutes to 80 per cent of   

 capacity


Suspension, steering and brakes

 Front suspension

 MacPherson strut

 Rear suspension

 Coupled torsion-beam axle

 Front brakes

 300 x 28mm ventilated discs

 Rear brakes

 284 x 10 mm solid discs

 Booster

 Active hydraulic

 Parking brake

 Electric

 Steering

 Rack and pinion. Motor-driven power assist

 Steering gear ratio

 15.7

 Turns lock-to-lock

 2.85

 Minimum turning circle diameter

 10.6 metres

 Wheels

 16 x 6.5J alloy

 Tyres

 205 /60 R 16 92H

 

Dimensions and weights

 Length / width / height

 4,140 / 1,800 / 1,593 mm

 Wheelbase

 2,570 mm

 Front / rear track

 1,576 / 1,585 mm

 Front / rear overhang

 840 / 730 mm

 Minimum ground clearance

 151 mm

 Luggage capacity

 281 – 891 litres

 Min Kerb Weight (kg)

 1,580

 Max Kerb Weight (kg)

 1,638

 Boot vol. (l,VDA)

 281-891

 

Performance and driving range

 Acceleration 0-60mph

 11.0 seconds

 Maximum speed

 90 mph

 Maximum driving range

 155 miles

 CO2 tailpipe emissions

 0

 Energy consumption

 143 Wh/km

 

For further information on Kia please visit www.kiapressoffice.com or contact:

Stephen Kitson
Director of Corporate Communications

E: skitson@kia.co.uk   
T: 01932 832075 M: 07795 011 936 

Daniel Sayles 
Press Relations Manager

E: dsayles@kia.co.uk  
T: 01932 832073 M: 07747 149 149 

Sara Robinson     
Senior Press Officer

E: srobinson@kia.co.u
T: 01932 832072 M: 07919 482 332 

Carly Escritt       
Senior Press Officer

E: cescritt@kia.co.uk  
T: 01932 832071 M: 07557 268 252 

Moyosola Fujamade
Press Officer (press fleet)

E: mfujamade@kia.co.uk  
T: 01932 832 069 M: 07471 216 343 

Chloe Farmer
Press Office Assistant

E: cfarmer@kia.co.uk
T: 01932 832079 M: 07795 011 475

Follow Kia on twitter @KiaUKPR
Follow Kia at www.facebook.com/kiamotorsuk
Watch Kia at www.youtube.com/kiamotorsuk



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