Kia Motors America (KMA) introduced the 2020 Soul, a completely new version of Kia’s unconventional compact utility vehicle. In conjunction with that world-debut, the all-electric, battery-powered Soul EV was also unveiled.
The new Soul EV has a new state-of-the-art liquid-cooled lithium ion polymer 64 kWh battery which is expected to need much less daily charging, and with Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast-charge as standard equipment, time taken for battery refills should be brief.
The new battery is currently being tested to ascertain precise EPA-estimated range. Results are expected early in 2019 and will be announced at a later date.
Producing 201 horsepower, the torque increases to 291 lb.-ft. of torque from 210 lb.-ft. in the outgoing model. Handling and driving dynamics are also much improved, thanks to the addition of independent rear suspension. The new Soul EV also provides plenty of tools for drivers to customise their driving experience and their battery usage.
Four drive modes, Eco, Comfort, Sport and Eco+, automatically adjust power output to the traction motor, regenerative braking, air conditioning and heating settings, and set speed limits help manage operating efficiency depending on driving conditions.
Smart regenerative braking operated via paddle shifters provides drivers the ability to slow the car and capture kinetic energy, adding extra range. Drivers can choose from four regen braking levels (0 to 3) depending on desired driving smoothness, enjoyment and efficiency. Brake and Hold System feature allows regen paddle shifter to bring the car to a full stop.
Smart Regen System adjusts the regenerative braking level based on a vehicle being detected in front of the Soul EV and creates smoother coast-down driving, especially when descending a steep road. Smart Eco Pedal Guide display on the instrument cluster keeps the driver aware of real-time battery usage based on accelerator pedal input.
The 2020 Soul features an all-new refreshed exterior that stays true to its boxy origins. The new Soul EV is built with the same architecture, but imbued with unique styling that provides the car a flair of its own.
The Soul EV comes equipped with a long list of state-of-the-art features to help enhance safety, improve the driving experience and provide ease of operation and ownership. Kia engineers and designers have thought of everything. Every Soul EV includes a suite of “Kia Drive Wise” Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems, and a long list of standard and optional equipment, such as a high-tech rotary shifter (shift-by-wire), 10.25-inch color touchscreen with rear view monitor and parking guidance and so on.
Vehicle Safety Systems include antilock braking, traction control, electronic stability control, hill-start assist control, tyre pressure monitoring system and pedestrian warning system.
“Kia Drive Wise” Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) that are present on-board are Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Blind Spot Collision Warning (BSW), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning and Parking Distance Warning – Reverse only.
New for Soul EV is a revamped UVO telematics system that allows owners to monitor and control a long list of vehicle operations, including notifications of battery and charging status, real-time charging station update and scheduled charging.
Built at the Gwangju plant in Korea, the Soul EV is expected to go on sale next year. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.