THE ALL-NEW SOUL EV ON A PAGE
Technology and safety
The all-new Kia Soul EV brings long-range, zero-tailpipe emissions power to the urban crossover class. In its third generation, Kia’s pioneering urban crossover – and its third globally-sold electric car – has become more distinctive, dynamic and innovative than ever.
While the Soul EV embraces the iconic design and playful character of its predecessors, it is powered in Europe exclusively by electric energy, with a zero-emissions powertrain. The new-generation battery packs powering the Soul EV are up to 30 per cent more energy efficient than Europe’s current best-selling electric vehicle.
Emilio Herrera, Chief Operating Officer for Kia Motors Europe, commented: “Since its inception, the Soul has been a true pioneer for Kia, and for the wider market. A decade ago, it established the urban crossover segment, and when we launched the Soul EV it became the first fully electric crossover. The all-new Soul EV breaks more ground, as we launch it in Europe with an extended-range electric powertrain as standard – without the option of an internal combustion engine.
“The market has changed significantly in recent years, and in 2018 – the outgoing model’s final year on-sale, Kia sold more of the zero-emissions Soul EV in Europe than petrol and diesel versions combined. Kia is recognised today as a global leader in electrified vehicles, with a growing range of mild-hybrid, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. Electrified models accounted for one in eight Kia cars sold in Europe in 2018, up from one in ten in 2017, and the Soul EV will further build on this momentum.”
The Soul EV retains the strengths that have characterised earlier generations of the model, offering outstanding value for money, a roomy interior for five occupants, and high levels of space and versatility. Like all Kia models, the Soul EV is sold as standard in Europe with Kia’s quality promise: an unrivalled seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty, which also covers the car’s electric motor and battery pack.
DESIGN AND PACKAGING
Fresh, funky and distinctive, the Soul EV celebrates the iconic design and playful character of the first- and second-generation Soul models. With newly sculpted lines, sharp details, and technical lighting elements, the Soul EV is the most futuristic, youthful and innovative iteration yet.
Every exterior panel on the Soul EV is new, yet it remains instantly recognisable by staying true to its boxy origins. Its urban crossover design has been enhanced with sharp full-LED headlamps integrated into the upper ‘brow’, which extends across the front of the 1,825mm wide car. The front and rear bumpers, and a solid panel in place of a grille, give it a smooth, aerodynamic appearance. The charging socket is housed behind a small panel at the front of the car. Strake-style LED foglamps beneath the headlights replace the round lamps found on the previous Soul EV.
In profile, the Soul EV’s boxy silhouette remains clear, yet subtle adjustments to its proportions and details give the car a more confident appearance. At 4,220mm in length, the Soul EV is 80mm longer than the car it replaces – with a 2,600mm wheelbase (+30 mm) and a 50mm longer front overhang. This effect is enhanced visually by the newly designed rear pillar and shape of its glasshouse. The windows taper towards the rear of the car, with a fin-shaped rear pillar replacing what was previously a sharp angle at the base of the rear windows. The shape of the glasshouse draws the eyes along the side of the car as the bodywork kicks up towards the roof, ending in a matte black panel bearing the Soul name. This effectively balances the visual ‘weight’ of the rear with the longer front end. The Soul EV is finished with a unique five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheel design.
At the rear, the ‘island’ of bodywork in the tailgate remains. Surrounded by gloss black, this panel takes on a more rounded, modern shape for the new model, and sits atop restyled rear bumpers. Bold new wraparound LED combination lamps along with sharper trailing edges contribute to improved aerodynamic performance.
The Soul EV is available in a choice of three two-tone combinations, mixing bright body colours with contrasting shades for the roof and door mirror caps. UK cars also feature an SUV Pack as standard, which elevates the design of the Soul EV with the addition of bolder wheel arch and side sill cladding, as well as a skid plate on the base of the front bumpers.
A hi-tech interior inspired by music
Since the Soul’s inception, music has been an overarching theme behind its design. In its third generation, this continues to be a core attribute of the car's persona. For the new model, designers and engineers have ‘turned up the volume’ on the interior, drawing inspiration from the visualisation of sound.
The Soul EV’s interior space is finished with acoustic-inspired shapes and textures, creating a full sensory experience. The Soul EV retains the signature ‘tweeter’ speakers which bookend the dashboard, a feature of the previous-generation Soul which exemplified the car’s combination of cool design and ultimate functionality.
As vibrant inside as out, the Soul EV’s cabin is finished in black leather upholstery. The car also comes with a wireless phone charger at the base of the dashboard, heated front seats and a premium Harman/Kardon® sound system. A Head-Up Display system unobtrusively projects relevant driving information on to a small glass panel behind the steering wheel – such as turn-by-turn navigation directions and vehicle speed information.
The Soul EV is the first generation of the Soul to feature fully independent multi-link rear suspension. This replaces the torsion beam rear axle on first- and second-generation models, making the car more engaging, responsive and comfortable to drive. The suspension is tuned to deliver high stability and engaging handling responses and filter out small vibrations at higher speeds when travelling over poor surfaces.
The car’s electric powertrain packaging means it benefits from a lower centre of gravity than many combustion-engine vehicles. The flat battery pack is located beneath the cabin, giving the Soul EV a centre of gravity more akin to that of a saloon or a hatchback. Combined with a slightly wider stance than its predecessor, the Soul EV provides maximum stability and driving enjoyment on winding roads, with minimal body-roll under cornering. The battery pack’s location means the majority of the powertrain’s weight is located between the axles, enabling a relatively equal distribution of weight. This helps to prevent understeer and enables linear and predictable handling.
In addition, the Soul EV’s Drive Mode Select system lets drivers adapt the car to their preferred style or the road conditions. Drivers can choose from ‘Normal’, ‘Eco’, Eco+’ and ‘Sport’ mode. The two Eco modes are tuned to maximise vehicle range with certain power-saving measures, while Sport mode increases responses from the steering and electric motor to maximise the dynamic driving feel of the car. Normal mode provides a careful balance between each.
The Soul EV features a marginally quicker steering rack ratio than its predecessor (now 60 mm-per-revolution of the steering wheel, compared to 55 mm/rev on the previous model) These changes greatly improve the car’s agility and enable a more engaging handling character.
The Soul EV’s brakes – 305 mm in diameter at the front, 300 mm at the rear – provide a consistent, linear deceleration and braking feel. Furthermore, its regenerative braking system provides intuitive decelerative assistance, simultaneously harvesting kinetic energy to recharge the battery pack on the move. The Soul EV features larger 17-inch alloy wheels, compared to 16-inch wheels on its predecessor, and is fitted with low-rolling-resistance 215/55 R17 tyres. A tyre mobility kit is provided in case of a puncture.
The Soul EV is refined and quiet at low speeds thanks to its all-electric powertrain. Wind noise reduction is aided further by flattening the underside of the car, with the battery’s new aluminium housing reducing drag and wind ‘roar’ beneath the body. Compared to its predecessor, more sound deadening material has been applied beneath the cabin floor, in the rear pillars and around the wheel arches. Road noise is reduced by increasing steering knuckle stiffness and applying of anti-vibration pads on the floor panel and lining the wheel arches with new sound deadening Thinsulate™ material.
The Kia Soul EV will be sold in Europe exclusively as an electric vehicle, with a fully electric, zero-emission powertrain to meet the needs and budgets of different customers. Drivers have a long-range (64kWh) powertrain. The Soul EV remains as silent as its predecessor, the outgoing Soul EV, while offering vastly improved range. On-road performance is also enhanced, with significantly more powerful electric motors providing 395Nm of torque – 39 per cent more than its predecessor (285Nm).
Furthermore, Kia’s new-generation lithium-ion polymer battery packs offer greater energy capacity than those of many other electric vehicles, regardless of price. Cell energy density of 250 Wh/kg, achieved through new cell chemistry, enable the cells to store 25 per cent more energy within a defined volume than those of the 200 Wh/kg battery pack in the outgoing Soul EV. This has enabled Kia to keep the battery pack as compact and lightweight as possible, while taking a huge leap in the car’s zero-emissions driving range compared to its predecessor and other electric vehicles on the market.
The long-range 64kWh battery pack is paired with a 150kW (201bhp) electric motor, making it 84 per cent more powerful than the outgoing Soul EV (up from 81.4kW / 109bhp). The long-range 64kWh Soul EV can travel up to 280 miles (452 kilometres) on a single charge on the WLTP combined cycle with energy consumption of just 157 Wh/km on the WLTP combined cycle – 24 per cent more efficient than Europe’s current best-selling electric vehicle. On the WLTP urban cycle, energy consumption for the long-range Soul EV is as low as 109 Wh/km. With the powertrain’s maximum 395Nm torque available from a standstill, the long-range 64 kWh Soul EV will accelerate from 0-to-60mph in just 7.6 seconds.
A Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast charger is fitted as standard, enabling shorter stops for charging. The battery pack can be recharged from 20 to 80 per cent capacity in just 42 minutes using a 100kW DC fast charger.
The Soul EV is fitted with a range of energy-recuperation technologies to maximise driving range. This includes Kia’s energy efficient heat pump system, which scavenges waste heat from the car’s coolant system. It also features Kia’s innovative individual ventilation and air conditioning system, which shuts off cabin ventilation at the source to all seats except the driver’s – unlike other systems, which merely divert air to open passenger cabin vents.
The Soul EV is also equipped as standard with Kia’s innovative smart regenerative braking system, operated by paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. The system provides drivers with the ability to slow the car and recuperate kinetic energy to maximise its driving range and efficiency. Drivers can choose from four regenerative braking levels (none or one to three), depending on the level of energy recuperation they desire from the brakes. The system’s ‘single pedal’ driving capability allows the car to harvest the maximum amount of energy from its brakes, and even enables the driver to bring the car to a gentle halt without necessarily needing to push the brake pedal. The smart regenerative braking system can also automatically adjust the braking level if it detects the car in front slowing down, creating smoother coast-down driving – especially on a steep downhill road. A Smart Eco Pedal Guide display on the driver’s instrument cluster also keeps the driver aware of real-time battery usage based on accelerator pedal input.
Max speed mph
Maximum range – miles
‘First Edition’ 64kWh 1-speed auto
A suite of advanced features enhance safety, improve the driving experience and provide ease of operation and ownership. Furthermore, the new model is the first Kia in Europe to offer the brand’s innovative UVO CONNECT telematics system.
UVO CONNECT is designed to bring driving into the digital era, connecting drivers to the world around to provide them with invaluable information – via the in-car touchscreen, and on their smartphone. The new technology has been developed to comply with the latest European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ensuring the highest levels of data privacy and protection.
UVO features the Kia Live system, housed within the 10.25-inch TFT LCD widescreen in the centre of the Soul EV’s dashboard. The system uses its own eSIM chip to retrieve and update live data during a drive, such as live traffic information, weather forecasts, points of interest, and details of potential on- and off-street parking – including price, location and parking availability. Crucially, the UVO system also shows drivers charging station locations, charger availability, and connection compatibility.
The second element of the UVO system is the UVO App, designed for compatibility on Android and Apple smartphones. The app offers users peace of mind with a range of features to provide diagnostic data about their car and the trips they take. The app enables users to check battery charging status remotely.
The 10.25-inch touchscreen navigation system features Bluetooth multi-connection as standard, enabling occupants to connect two mobile devices at once, as well as Apple CarPlayTM and Android AutoTM. Its advanced split-screen functionality lets users control or monitor different vehicle features at the same time, customising the screen with a series of different widgets. This enables the driver to have a single display (such as navigation or battery information) or combine numerous elements on-screen at the same time. This means the driver can follow navigation directions or keep track of battery energy efficiency, while passengers can choose their favourite songs or check the weather forecast. The infotainment system also controls vehicle recharging preferences and Sound Mood Lighting settings.
The widescreen in the centre of the dashboard is complemented by a 7.0-inch TFT-LCD supervision instrument cluster, displaying essential driving information to the driver.
A range of passive and active safety systems ensure that occupants remain as well protected as possible on every journey. Kia’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) help to reduce many of the inherent hazards and stresses of driving.
Available technologies include Forward Collision-avoidance Assist (FCA), Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear-Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop & Go, and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW) and High Beam Assist (HBA). Lane Follow Assist (LFA), controls acceleration, braking and steering depending on the vehicles in front. Between speeds of 0 and 100mph, LFA uses camera and radar sensors to maintain a safe distance from the car in front, while monitoring road markings to keep the Soul EV in the centre of the lane.
As for passive safety features, the Soul EV is fitted with seven airbags (dual front airbags, dual front seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor and driver’s knee airbag), as well as a suite of electronic vehicle safety systems. These include Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management system as standard, incorporating traction control and electronic stability control.
The Soul EV’s body is made up of a blend of steel and aluminium, maximising torsional rigidity while keeping body weight low. With a higher proportion of Advanced High-Strength Steel and hot-stamped steel components than its predecessor, as well as new aluminium side-sill reinforcements, the more rigid bodyshell reduces road vibrations and enhances occupant safety in the event of a collision.
The Soul EV is available in one high specification model called ‘First Edition’, and this is paired to the 64kWh pure-electric drivetrain.
The ‘First Edition’ has a lengthy list of equipment as standard, including 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/55R17 tyres, privacy glass for rear windows and tailgate, dual full LED headlamps, LED daytime running lights, front LED fog lamps and LED rear combination lights. The door mirrors fold electrically, are heated and feature LED indicators and there’s automatic headlight control and rain sensing front wipers with aerodynamic blades. The exterior is enhanced by a silver skid plate, while black side sill and wheel arch body mouldings give a more muscular SUV-like appearance. The door handles are colour coded to the body, and the door mirrors are matched to the contrasting roof. The rear seats fold down in a 60:40 fashion, there’s a dual height load floor with cover to hide luggage and valuables, and the ‘First Edition’ comes fitted with a Tyre Mobility Kit (TMK). An alarm system and engine immobiliser is fitted for extra peace of mind.
Inside, the appearance is defined by black leather upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, an electronic parking brake (EPB), automatic air conditioning, all-round electric windows with front auto up and down functionality, adaptive Smart Cruise Control (SCC), auto-dimming rear-view mirror and engine start/stop button with smart entry system. The driver has an eight-way power adjustable seat (sliding, reclining, height adjustment) together with power lumbar support. The steering wheel features both tilt and telescopic adjustment, the headlining is in light grey and the interior door handles are finished in satin chrome. Regenerative Braking Level is controlled by the paddle shift mounted on the steering wheel, and a charging indicator is prominently displayed on the dashboard. A choice of drive modes – Eco and Sport – are also on offer.
As standard, the Soul EV ‘First Edition’ comes with a ten-speaker Harman/Kardon® premium sound system with subwoofer, external amplifier and front centre speaker. In addition, there’s DAB radio with MP3 compatibility, a 12-volt power socket and a pair of USB fast chargers within the front centre console. Bluetooth® with voice recognition and music streaming is provided, too, along with Android AutoTM and Apple CarPlayTM for easy smartphone connection. A 10.25-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system with European mapping and traffic messaging channel (TMC), as well as UVO App connectivity is included and is combined with a seven-inch colour display cluster and head-up display. A reversing camera with dynamic guidelines is integrated into the centre fascia screen, as well as the fitment of rear parking sensors. A wireless mobile phone charger is also included as standard equipment.
The Soul EV is comprehensively kitted out with both active and passive safety devices, including Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Lane Follow Assist (LFA), Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Rear-Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), High-Beam Assist (HBA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW) and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA). Anti-lock brakes (ABS) are included on all versions, with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC). There are also seven airbags, with the ability to switch the front passenger airbag off when carrying a baby in a car seat. ISOFIX child seat top tethers and anchor fixings are provided for the rear outer chairs.
WARRANTY AND AFTER-CARE
Kia set a new benchmark in 2007 when it launched the cee'd with an industry-best seven-year/100,000-mile warranty. That demonstration of faith in the quality and reliability of Kia products was subsequently extended to every model.
A major benefit is that it is transferable to subsequent owners at no charge, as long as the seven-year time limit has not been reached and the mileage is below 100,000.
The mechanical warranty is supported by a 12-year anti-perforation warranty and a five-year paint warranty.
Servicing is required every 10,000 miles or once a year, whichever comes soonest. The Soul EV is available with Kia’s ‘Kia Care’ service plans, which have been developed to provide customers with a wide range of service plan options for any Kia model within the first seven years of the vehicle’s life – matching its industry-leading seven-year warranty.
The service plans include a comprehensive range of options including the original, traditional, first, third and fifth services and those in between, but in addition a customer can now purchase services up to and including the seventh service which matches the full length of the warranty. The plans are available for all Kia owners and can be purchased at any point of ownership for cars up to five years old.
The Kia Promise was introduced to give customers the best ownership experience by giving them access to seven key benefits. The Kia Promise is activated after purchase and is done by simply registering on the online portal, MyKia. Along with the industry leading seven-year/100,000 mile warranty, other benefits of the Kia Promise include complimentary seven day insurance and £250 Insurance Excess Return for one year; easy to use Click & Collect on Genuine Kia accessories; convenient online service booking; Family-Like Care and Accident AfterCare. Every new Kia also comes with complimentary Roadside Assistance for 12 months. When a customer registers on MyKia, Kia Roadside Assistance Plus, the highest level of cover provided by the RAC, can be unlocked, which includes onward travel and European cover.
FIVE MINUTES WITH PAUL PHILPOTT
Burning questions that you would love to ask our President and CEO
Q. How important is the Soul EV in the UK?
The launch of the Soul EV is a clear reminder that Kia is serious about its environmental responsibilities. The vehicle has a range of 280 miles and adds to the choice that buyers have in an important, and growing sector of the market.
Q. What sales targets have you set for the all-new Soul EV for the UK market?
We never release sales or production targets for individual models; however, we expect the new Soul EV to outsell its predecessor.
Q. What does 2020 hold for the Kia brand in the UK?
Until there is some certainty around what the split from Europe means for the UK, it’s likely to continue to be turbulent in the new car market. Last year was once again another record year for Kia in the UK, with 97,323 cars delivered to customers during 2019. That represents an increase of 1.6 per cent, in a market that was down by 2.4 per cent and saw the lowest number of new vehicles registered since 2013. Last year, Kia moved up one place to number eight in the overall UK sales charts, which is a significant achievement in a sales environment that has been exceptionally tough.
The first year of the new decade is going to present a number of challenges – none more so than the switch from NEDC to WLTP CO2 emissions figures in April. At a time when consumers expect to see ever-improving data, the change in regime means that all cars will see an increase to their emissions, meaning most owners will be paying more for their motoring each year. That’s a bitter pill to swallow for many and will take a lot of explaining in the showrooms. It will mean, however, that the fuel economy and CO2 emissions are more realistic in real-world driving and gives Kia the opportunity to fully leverage their range of highly efficient eco cars.
Mandatory CO2 standards for passenger cars were first introduced in 2009 by the European Union, and in 2020 a new, more stringent set of standards means that an average of 95g/km across the product range must be achieved. Failing to do so will result in significant fines, and therefore the primary focus of Kia Motors is to achieve the fleet CO2 average of 95g/km across the line-up.
Q. Which vehicles are hitting a chord with UK buyers currently?
There is a continued trend for customers to migrate away from traditional sectors towards SUVs, and we’re in a perfect position to deliver on the changing demand, with six key products in the Kia portfolio – Stonic, Niro, XCeed, Soul EV, Sportage and Sorento.
2019 was very much the year of the Ceed, with replacements for the hatchback and Sportswagon and new entrants into the market thanks to the all-new XCeed and ProCeed. Every Ceed derivative posted an increase on the year before, and it was a similar story for many models in the Kia range, which saw a rise compared to 2018. Highlights include the Niro, with a 44 per cent increase, a rise of more than 6 per cent for the Picanto and 44 per cent growth in Stinger sales. Sorento registrations rose, too, while the most popular model in the Kia range, the Sportage remained broadly static but still the highest selling and most popular model.
Alternative fuel vehicles are continually hitting the headlines, and here at Kia we are very well placed to provide customers with a wide range of different solutions to suit individual needs. In 2020, we are aiming for three in every ten cars we sell to be electrified in some way. With both the pure electric e-Niro and Soul EV, we are ahead of the curve in offering customers a choice of electric solutions to solve their mobility issues. For those that prefer a plug-in hybrid vehicle, we now have three, thanks to the recently refreshed Niro and the newly introduced Ceed Sportswagon and all-new XCeed. The top selling Sportage is fitted with mild hybrid technology on all of the diesel variants and this technology will soon be available on the Ceed, Ceed Sportswagon and XCeed, too.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We've anticipated what you're likely to ask us
Q. What is the importance to Kia of electric vehicles?
A. The electric market is growing rapidly, not just in the UK but in Europe, too, and we want a share of it. But of greater significance, is that all manufacturers are required to lower average CO2 emissions to 95g/km or less in Europe by 2020/21, and electric and electrified vehicles are essential to achieve this. We also have our own internal targets of a 25 per cent reduction in average CO2 emissions, based on 2014 levels, by 2020.
Q. Why do you only offer electric versions of the Soul, whereas combustion engined editions are offered elsewhere?
A. We wanted to send a clear message to our customers, and not confuse them with differing powertrains. In any case, in 2018 – the outgoing model’s final year on-sale – Kia sold more of the zero-emissions Soul EV in Europe than both the petrol and diesel versions of the Soul combined.
Q. Is the Soul EV on sale at every Kia dealership, and can all dealers service it because of the extra safety demands when working with electric components?
A. Every Kia dealer has at least one technician plus a Kia Master Technician trained in handling the high-voltage systems associated with electrified cars, so the Soul EV will be sold at, and can be serviced at, any Kia dealership in the UK. Model-specific training is provided at two-day courses to coincide with the launch of each new Kia electric vehicle.
Q. In Europe there’s the option of a 39.2kWh Soul EV – why isn’t it sold here?
A. We have taken the decision to keep things simple in the UK and we will just sell the 280-mile range Soul EV with 64kWh electric motor as it has the most sales potential. The choice of two power outputs and different maximum driving ranges could potentially confuse customers with multiple messages, and so we wanted to concentrate on a single strong product with a clear understanding about its environmental credentials and its class-leading driving range.