2014 Chicago Auto Show: Electric-powered Kia Soul EV gives a jolt to the … – New York Daily News

Posted: Friday, February 07, 2014

The 2014 Chicago Auto Show kicked off with an early morning jolt, thanks to the global debut of the new electric-powered Kia Soul EV.

As Kia’s first entry into the world of electric cars, the Soul EV is intended to be a direct rival to cars like the Nissan Leaf, along with electric rivals from Ford, Honda, and Chevrolet.

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From the outside, the Soul EV doesn’t look all that different from the standard gas-powered models. The grille is now covered, for improved aerodynamics, and the Soul EV has its own unique alloy wheels.

At a glance, however, we doubt many people would recognize this as a zero emission vehicle.

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Powering the front-wheel-drive Soul EV is a lithium-ion polymer battery pack, coupled to an electric motor producing the equivalent of 109-horsepower.

According to Kia, this powertrain helps scoot the Soul EV from zero to 60 mph in less than 12 seconds. That’s pretty slow, even in the world of no frills economy cars – though the Soul EV’s available 210 lb.-ft. of torque should provide punchier performance during city driving.

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Range is estimated at 80-100 miles per charge. This places the Soul EV right in the thick of its EV rivals. Recharging can take anywhere from 24 hours – when using a standard 120 volt outlet – to 33 minutes for an 80-percent charge using quick-charger technology.

A regenerative braking helps to capture energy and give the Soul EV an added boost to its overall range.

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The electric powertrain does take a small (5.1 cu. ft.) chunk out of total cargo space. So if you need every last inch of luggage room, you might want to stick with the standard model.

Sales will initially be limited to select markets, including New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Oregon and California. Kia promises it’s looking into selling the Soul EV in other markets “in the near future.”

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The price? Well, you’re going to have to wait for that too. Kia reps said the price would be announced closer to the Soul EV’s on-sale date later this year.

Using our automotive crystal ball here in Chicago, we’d expect something in the range of $30,000 to $35,000 (approximately double the price of a base Soul), before factoring in Federal and state tax credits.

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