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2015 Kia Soul EV Debut

Korea finally does the electric boogaloo

2014 Kia Soul Research Click to hide

What's New

You've seen some hip-hopping, party-rocking hamsters for years as they rep for the Kia Soul. Get ready to see them do the electric slide.

For 2015, the Kia Soul is going electric in what is the first all-electric car expected to be sold outside of Korea by either Hyundai or Kia. No longer carrying a 1.6- or 2.0-liter four-cylinder, the 2015 Kia Soul EV now carries an electric motor powering the front wheels, producing 109 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque, which is quite different than the base gas-powered car's 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. Of course, this funk box competes with a very different set, namely the Ford Focus Electric, Nissan Leaf, and Chevrolet Spark EV.

Who It's For

The 2015 Kia Soul EV is being revealed in Chicago and not some green oasis like Los Angeles, meaning that Kia has big ambitions with its small electric hatchback. With a revised front and rear, as well as a far different graphics scheme with "ECO Electric" adorning its side, the Kia Soul EV will be going right at the heart of the EV market nationwide.

With an electric range anticipated to be around 120 miles from its 27-kWh battery pack—the Nissan Leaf has a 24-kWh pack, and the 2014 BMW i3 has a 22-kWh unit—the 2015 Kia Soul is anticipated to have a class-leading range among smaller electric vehicles. If your inner greenie can justify a premium-priced, premium-contented EV, this might be quite the car to get.

Key Features

That's right, we said premium-priced. While Kia hasn't announced anything, don't expect this car to come in for anything less than $30,000 or so. It will feature:
  • A bigger, closed-in tiger-nose grille with redesigned tail lights.
  • New, more aero- and eco-friendly wheels and tires.
  • The new electric motor system.
  • What is expected to be a more premium interior.

What We Think

We've driven the 2014 Kia Soul, equipped with a gas engine. And yes, we're definitely fans.

Add to its premium interior and hip style an electric motor, and you might have the most compelling small electric car since the Fiat 500e. Only the 2015 Kia Soul will have four real doors, a real hatchback, and plenty of room as a real car, which is something few EVs can promote.

Early predictions are pegging its 0 to 60 time at around 12 seconds and its top speed at about 90 mph, but we think it'll be plenty peppy for greenies. Kia will likely nail the formula, as the Soul is its best, most recognizable vehicle from a brand perspective. But whether the enthusiastic masses who've scooped up the 100,000-plus Souls will go electric has yet to be seen. This car has serious potential to break through the EV clutter.

Back to Auto Show Coverage: Chicago 2014