Kia is planning to introduce an electric-powered version of its funky Soul urban crossover in the middle of 2014 to be sold outside of Korea, according to its European Marketing President Benny Oeyen.
The Korean manufacturer already produces an all-electric car for its domestic market, called the Ray EV, but the Soul would become the first electric vehicle to be exported to other countries by Kia.
It is not known if the Soul will use the motor or other powertrain parts from the Ray, which is viewed as a test-bed for Kia’s electric transportation technology.
Designed exclusively for the domestic Korean market, the 3.6-metre long, front-wheel drive Ray EV is powered by a 50kW electric motor and a high-capacity 16.4 kWh lithium ion polymer battery pack. The electric motor’s generous 167Nm of torque provides responsive performance and provides the Ray EV with a range of 138km on a single charge. Normal recharging can be achieved in six hours and 25-minute fast-charge mode gives the car around 70% of its normal range. The Soul EV is expected to make use of similar technology.
Speaking recently at the launch of the new generation Kia Sorento in Barcelona, Kia’s European Marketing President, Benny Oeyen, confirmed that "Kia’s all new Soul will come to Europe as an electric car."
Oeyen also confirmed that the Soul will be a completely new car, not a facelift, when it is launched in 2013 with changes that will reflect its appeal to a wide cross section of buyers, as an active urban lifestyle vehicle.
Underlining those credentials, the Soul was recently named the Active Lifestyle Vehicle (ALV) of the Year in its category as part of the ninth annual ALV awards in the United States. The Soul's win in the ALV Urban Vehicle category follows other recent accolades, including "Top Tailgating Car for 2012" and "Top Back-To-School Car," both awarded by Kelley Blue Book.
The Kia Soul was among 28 finalist vehicles vying for recognition from the ALV awards jury, which consists of more than two dozen members of the media and seventy athletes who participate in cycling, triathlon, kayaking, softball and running. In all, more than one hundred expert panelists carefully studied how each vehicle best meets the needs of buyers with active lifestyles before selecting the Kia Soul as one of their winners.