Kia Motors unveiled the new Soul EV in Los Angeles with a new liquid cooled, lithium ion polymer 64kWh battery which is expected to mean much less need for daily charging, and with Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast-charge as standard equipment.
"Battery refills should be brief so road trip fun can happily continue after only a short break," the automaker claimed. Overall battery range is due to be announced early in 2019. Now with 204 ps and 395 Nm of torque (up from 285 Nm in the outgoing model), the car accelerates more strongly. Handling and driving dynamics are also improved thanks to new, fully independent rear suspension. Four drive modes – Eco, Comfort, Sport and Eco+ – automatically adjust power output to the traction motor and also control the level of regenerative braking on offer, air conditioning and heating settings, and enable drivers to set speed limits to help manage operating efficiency in different driving conditions. Smart regenerative braking is operated via paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, providing drivers with the ability to slow the car and capture more kinetic energy, adding extra range. Drivers can choose from four regenerative braking levels (0 to 3), depending on desired driving smoothness, enjoyment and efficiency. The regenerative braking system also features a 'Brake and Hold' system which enables drivers to use the paddle shifters to bring the car to a full stop while harvesting kinetic energy. In addition, the smart regenerative braking system adjusts the braking level based on a vehicle being detected in front, creating smoother coast-down driving, especially when descending a steep road. The system is paired with a Smart Eco Pedal Guide display on the instrument cluster, which keeps the driver aware of real time battery usage based on accelerator pedal input. The Soul EV has restyled front and rear bumpers, for a smoother, more aerodynamic appearance. It features a solid insert in place of the conventional ICE engine models' front grille with a door housing the charging socket located on the driver's side. The unique LED headlamps are integrated into the upper brow of the front of the car, which itself extends the full width of the car. The EV's 'face' is finished with unique fog lamps and the model has its own five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels. Depending on market, the Soul EV is available with driver-assistance systems, and a long list of standard and optional equipment. In-cabin technology includes a 'shift-by-wire' rotary shifter and infotainment is based on a 10.25-inch colour touchscreen with rear-view monitor and parking guidance. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Bluetooth wireless connectivity with voice recognition are included and the system is paired with a six-speaker audio system with USB input and steering-wheel mounted audio controls. Depending on market, the car is fitted with up to seven airbags. Safety systems include anti-lock braking, traction control, electronic stability control, hill-start assist control, pedestrian warning system and a tyre pressure monitoring. Other available systems include Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Blind Spot Collision Warning (BSW), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning and Reverse Parking Distance Warning. Unique to the Soul EV is a revamped UVO telematics system, allowing owners to monitor and control a long range of vehicle operations. Drivers have access to notifications of battery and charging status, real-time charging station updates and scheduled charging functionality. Panic notifications enable the vehicle to send an alert to the server if the panic alarm is triggered, dialling 911 emergency services and providing the car's position via GPS – this opens a live microphone so that emergency workers can communicate with vehicle occupants. The UVO telematics sytems also offers 'Send2Car' points of interest (POI) and waypoint functionality, allowing owners to plan a route or road trip with waypoints, and send it directly to the navigation system. Buyers can choose from two trims, the standard Soul EV and the Designer Collection adding two-tone exterior paint scheme (Gravity Grey with a Platinum Gold roof, Cherry Black with an Inferno Red roof, or Neptune Blue with a Cherry Black roof), as well as power-folding heated, power-adjustable door mirrors with signal repeater, finished in gloss-black. Inside, Designer Collection models feature a 10-speaker Harman-Kardon premium audio system with external amplifier, a wireless phone charger and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. A leather-wrapped steering wheel completes the interior, alongside heated front seats trimmed in Sofino premium non-animal seating upholstery. Built at the Gwangju plant in Korea, the new Soul EV goes on sale in the US in the first half of 2019, with other markets to follow. Pricing will be announced closer to sale dates.