Eco-friendly Kia cars at Chicago Auto Show
AT the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, Kia Motors America (KMA) hosted the global unveiling of the 2015 Soul EV (electric vehicle) in addition to introducing two other eco-friendly vehicles.
Scheduled to go on sale in the third quarter of 2014, the Soul EV will be Kia’s first all-electric, zero-emissions car sold in the United States.
The Soul EV joined the refreshed 2014 Optima Hybrid on stage along with the Niro hybrid concept at the auto show.
“The new Soul EV is at the forefront of Kia’s Clean Mobility programme,” said KMA vice-president of product planning Orth Hedrick.
The Soul EV has a highly energy-dense lithium-ion polymer battery.
Located beneath the floor, the 27kWh, air-cooled, 200 watt-hour/kg battery can yield a range of 130km to 160km of realworld driving on a full charge.
To maximise efficiency and range, the Soul EV uses Kia’s third-generation regenerative braking system to capture up to 12% of the car’s kinetic energy, which is fed back into the battery while the Soul EV is coasting and braking.
The Soul EV makes charging easy by plugging into any standard 120v outlet or a conventional 240v EV charger.
Recharging times vary from 24 hours for a fully depleted battery using a standard 120-volt outlet and under five hours when plugged into a 240-volt outlet.
An 80% charge can be achieved in as little as 33 minutes with a 50 kW-output charger.
The front-wheel drive Soul EV is powered by an 109hp electric motor, producing a generous 285Nm of torque.
Acceleration from 0-100kph is expected to take fewer than 12 seconds, with a top speed electronically limited to 145kph.
The Soul EV also features Kia’s first use of Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology.
Found within the Soul EV’s exclusive Supervision instrument cluster, the 3.5inch OLED screen provides information on the vehicle’s energy flow, charging time, ECO driving level and energy economy.
Meanwhile, Kia’s dramatic Niro urban lifestyle concept vehicle also made its United States debut at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show.
The Niro hints at a possible future Bsegment city car contender with a fun-todrive attitude.
The rally raid-like Niro also features a hybrid electric powertrain working through an advanced four-wheel drive system.
This concept comes with a variant of Kia’s turbocharged 1.6-litre Gamma engine, capable of 160hp.
The engine and a seven-speed, dualclutch transmission serve the front wheels while an electric hybrid system powered by regenerative braking delivers up to 45hp to the rear wheels – when road conditions require extra grip.
Within its 2+2 interior, the Niro’s molded one-piece front seats are covered in an “Orbit Silver” line-quilted fabric.
As for the 2014 Optima Hybrid mid-size sedan, which was also unveiled at the auto show, it features a robust 47hp electric traction motor, a Hybrid Starter Generator (HSG) and a powerful 47kW lithium polymer battery. The combined petrol-electric 199hp rating and combined 319Nm of torque remain, resulting in a responsive and enjoyable driving experience.
The Kia Niro concept vehicle uses a hybrid electric powertrain and has four-wheel drive.
The 2015 Soul EV can travel 130km to 160km when fully charged.