By Cars.com EditorsFebruary 7, 2014
About the video
From the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2015 Kia Soul EV.
(guitar music) Hi, I'm Kelsey Mays for cars.com here with the Kia Soul electric vehicle. It's based on the recently redesigned second generation of the soul hatchback, which fast became one of Kia's most popular vehicles in its first generation.
Let's see if the soul EV is as electrifying as the original. Look ma, no grill. This is actually where the Kia soul EV has it's charging port right there. Cooling for the electric drive train happens via ducts down here and underneath. There's also liquid cooling for the for the drive train. Wheels, 16 inches, they follow the design of the wheels on the Kia Optima Hybrid and paint looks very "Mini Cooper". There's a white roof with blue or silver paint. There's also a blue roof with white paint. The electric motor makes 109 horsepower and 210 pounds, feet of torque. It draws its power off a lithium ion battery that should recharge in about five hours off a level two, 240 volt charger, or about 24 hours on a standard household outlet charger, Kia says. Now EPA range for this drive train still pending, but Kia says in real-world driving, it gets about 80 to 100 miles of range. So if the EPA numbers pan out to be anywhere in that range, it should compete with cars like the Nissan leaf, the Chevy Spark EV, the Fiat 500 E. Not a whole lot different on the inside of the Soul EV versus the gasoline Soul, but Kia says that plant-based plastics are responsible for 19 things on the interior of the car. Stuff like the headliner here, a hundred percent biodegradable. Still, we like the woven headliner. It's pretty high quality in the regular Soul. This actually feels a lot cheaper here. Things like the navigation system being optimized here in the Soul EV for EV usage, it shows things like nearby charging stations, stuff like that. Kia's UVO system stands for "your voice" is standard in the Soul EV, we found that pretty easy to use in gasoline Souls of this generation that we've tested. Climate control also optimized for efficiency. There's an available heat pump that can dry heat off of the onboard electronics, Kia says. There's also a driver only setting that just focuses all of the climate on you. The driver shuts off ventilation for your passengers. If you're driving solo, that can save some energy, or if you just want to be a jerk to them. They might already be a little bit unhappy because the Soul's battery pack sits underneath the rear floor and moves the floor up. So, you lose about three inches of total leg room Kia says, but it's not forward backward leg room 'cause the seat sits where it is. The floor just sits really high. And so it ends up where adults' knees are kind of up in the air here versus in the regular Soul. The Soul EV goes on sale in summer 2014, but like many EVs, it will only be available in California and several coastal states that require a certain number of vehicles sold to have zero emissions. Could the Soul EV stand on it's own popularity and not just because of those regulations? A lot will depend on how it drives and how much it costs. We don't know either one yet. So, stay tuned for more. (engine revving)