A New Breed of Sexy Girl Hamsters Introduces the All-New 2015 Kia Soul EV
Scheduled to go on sale in the third quarter of this year, the all-electric, zero-emissions Soul EV is the centerpiece of Kia’s Clean Mobility program and the brand’s first-ever mass-marketed electric vehicle.
Since bursting on the scene in 2009 as “a new way to roll,” the funky Soul urban passenger vehicle – and an accompanying trio of music-loving hamsters – has become a genuine phenomenon, with U.S. sales of the iconic people mover increasing every year.
Now, with “geek chic” newly added to the dictionary, the latest installment of Kia Motors America’s (KMA) award-winning ad campaign finds the hamsters inhabiting a high-tech, high-energy laboratory and unleashing their inner mad scientists to create the most innovative and eco-friendly Soul yet -- and a herd of sexy female hamsters as well. BUT: Are these Kia Girl Hamsters just way too sexy? We want your opinion!
"The new Soul EV is at the forefront of Kia’s ‘Clean Mobility’ program and will offer an even more environmentally friendly option to our customers when it goes on sale later this year,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning, KMA. While it retains the funky style and functionality Soul is known for, the EV variant introduces new and more aerodynamic styling cues and is the first vehicle in the world to receive Underwriters Laboratory’s (UL) environmental validation for its integration of 10 percent bio-based material in the interior.
“The Soul EV retains the fun and funky style as well as the packaging efficiency and utility that have made the gasoline-powered Soul such a huge hit with consumers," said Hedrick, "And to that winning combination it adds useable real-world range and multiple charging options, making it the perfect EV for everyone.”
A top concern for EV buyers has commonly been range anxiety. A state-of-the-art 27 kWh lithium ion polymer battery powers an 81 kW electric motor that is expected to yield a range of approximately 80-100 miles of real-world driving on a full charge, with internal testing and evaluation results exceeding 100 miles in some instances.
The motor produces 210 lb.-ft. of torque on demand to drive the front wheels. Acceleration from 0-60 mph is expected to take fewer than 12 seconds with a top speed electronically limited to approximately 90 mph. The battery’s location beneath the floor offers the stable feel of a lower center of gravity, which helps ride and handling and ensures that the EV remains true to the Soul’s fun-to-drive reputation.
Consumers can recharge the Soul's electric battery by plugging the EV into an outlet at home or a charging station. There are three ways to charge up, all accessed through the ports located at the front grille of the Soul EV: (1) with a 120v charger (plugging straight into a wall), (2) with 240-volt charger, which you can install in your home for easy overnight charging or find in many public locations, and (3) with a 480-volt DC Fast Charger, which is found in public locations. Visit Kia.com to learn more about the three charge levels.
In an effort to maximize efficiency and range, the Soul EV uses Kia’s third-generation regenerative braking system to capture up to 12 percent of the car’s kinetic energy, which is fed back into the battery while the Soul EV is coasting and braking. Soul EV owners can choose between four different regeneration modes: “Drive” or “Brake” modes in Eco-mode “Off,” and “Drive” or “Brake” modes in Eco-mode “On” (the “Brake” setting with Eco-mode “On” producing the most regeneration).
The Soul EV offers plenty of space inside the cabin thanks to minimal battery intrusion. Because of the battery’s flat design and location beneath the floor, there is only a slight 3.1-inch reduction to rear seat leg room (from 39.1 to 36 inches) from the non-EV Soul, yet Soul EV still offers more rear seat leg room than other key EV competitors. Rear shoulder and hip room remain unchanged from the gasoline-powered Soul, making Soul EV one of the roomiest in the segment. Rear cargo space is minimally impacted (reduced 5.1 cu.-ft. to 19.1) as the space under the cargo floor is utilized for the battery cooling fan and storage of the standard 120-volt portable charger.
Standard Soul EV amenities include navigation, Rear Camera Display, Bluetooth® hands free operation, power windows, power driver’s seat, cruise control, 6.6kW on-board charger, and an exclusive HVAC system designed to extend driving range by minimizing energy draw.
Air conditioning is one of the largest energy drains in any electric vehicle, but the Soul EV’s HVAC system is designed to provide optimum comfort while also helping to extend the car’s range by minimizing energy use. The Soul EV uses four key technologies to maximize HVAC efficiency: an available heat pump (optional on Base, standard on “+”), individual ventilation, scheduled ventilation, and air intake control. The heat pump and surplus heat recovered from the Soul EV’s electrical systems help heat cabin air. Individual ventilation allows selection of “Driver Only,” which stops airflow to the passenger side front dash and floor vents and the floor vents for the rear passenger compartment, thereby focusing airflow on the driver and reducing the amount of energy needed to reach a comfortable interior temperature. Scheduled ventilation reduces EV energy use by pre-heating or cooling the passenger compartment prior to starting the car, while it is still plugged into a charger. Air intake control regulates inner and outer air flow to minimize HVAC usage, regulating interior temperature by carefully managing recirculated cabin air.
Available at no cost for the first five years of ownership, UVO EV Services, a special version of Kia’s award-winning telematics and infotainment system, is put to even greater use in the Soul EV. Utilizing an embedded connectivity solution powered by the Verizon network and an integral smartphone app, UVO EV Services provides owners with an innovative, real-time, in-vehicle connectivity experience that includes navigation and added convenience features specifically tailored for the Soul EV that will help owners stay informed as to their vehicle’s charging status while on the go. UVO EV Services provides real-time battery-level status, distance to empty, and the ability to search for nearby charging stations. Also, via the UVO EV app, owners can preset charging time and charging level ratios, as well as precondition the vehicle cabin with remote control of the HVAC presets. Preconditioning the vehicle moderates cabin temperature in advance, helping reduce battery draw once the Soul EV is uncoupled from the charging station. At a glance, UVO will also update EV owners of their CO2 savings and their relative positive impact on the environment.
Arriving with a five-year complimentary subscription to SiriusXM™ Data Services and Travel Link, the Soul EV has access to charging stations and travel information such as road conditions, weather and security alerts as well as sports scores, movie times and stock prices through the screen’s graphical interface and electronic program guide.
The Soul EV will initially be sold in California and Oregon in the West and several Eastern states including New York, New Jersey and Maryland, the regions with the largest EV markets and infrastructure. KMA will look to offer the vehicle in other markets in the near future as infrastructure and demand grow.
Pricing for the Soul EV will be announced closer to the vehicle’s launch in the Fall, but if you're interested in owning one, you can place your order online now at Kia.com.