Elec­tric take on funky Kia Soul set to hit salesrooms

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - NEWS -

THE funky Kia Soul has been ear­marked for some spe­cial and con­trast­ing treat­ment by the Korean man­u­fac­turer.

It has been con­firmed that a new all-elec­tric ver­sion is to go on sale in ex­port mar­kets – in­clud­ing the UK – dur­ing the sec­ond half of 2014 and will be the com­pany’s first elec­tri­cally-driven, ze­roe­mis­sions fam­ily car mar­keted out­side Korea.

The front-wheel drive Soul EV pro­to­type test cars are built on mod­i­fied ver­sions of the 2014 Kia Soul and are pow­ered by an 81.4 kW elec­tric mo­tor, pro­duc­ing 285 Nm of torque. The mo­tor de­liv­ers its power to the front wheels through a sin­gle speed con­stant ra­tio gear re­duc­tion unit. Stand­still to 60mph is pre­dicted to take less than 12 sec­onds and top speed will be in the re­gion of 90mph.

As with all elec­tric ve­hi­cles, re­gen­er­a­tive brak­ing cap­tures and re­cy­cles into the bat­tery the en­ergy gen­er­ated while the car is coast­ing and brak­ing.

Charg­ing is ac­com­plished by plug­ging the Soul EV into any stan­dard house­hold elec­tric­ity sup­ply. Recharg­ing times are up to five hours for a fully de­pleted bat­tery us­ing a stan­dard 240v or 230v house­hold out­let, or 25 min­utes on ‘fast’ charge with 100 kW out­put.

Be­cause of its nearly silent op­er­a­tion, for the ben­e­fit of pedes­trian safety, the Soul EV will be equipped with a VESS (Vir­tual En­gine Sound Sys­tem) that emits an au­dio alert at speeds be­low 12mph and when­ever the car is re­vers­ing.

The news fol­lows on from the Soul’s con­trast­ing (loud) star­ring role in Las Ve­gas at the 2013 Spe­cialty Equip­ment Mar­ket As­so­ci­a­tion (SEMA) Show ear­lier this month.

Five sound-blast­ing cre­ations fea­tured mu­sic­themed builds in­clud­ing a DJ Booth Soul, an “Amped” Soul, the mu­seum-like Mu­sic Me­mora­bilia Soul, a Soul in­spired by The Voice, which Kia has spon­sored for four sea­sons, and a Soul high­light­ing the brand’s part­ner­ship with the Vans Warped Tour, pic­tured. All are one-offs and not des­tined for the UK roads any time soon.

“Since the Kia Soul first ar­rived on the scene in Amer­ica in 2009, it has es­tab­lished a very real con­nec­tion with mu­sic,” said Michael Sprague of Kia Mo­tors Amer­ica.

MAK­ING WAVES: Kia Soul elec­tric, top and the Soul in­spired by the Vans Warped Tour, a fes­ti­val of punk mu­sic and skate­board­ing.

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