What Is It?
The 2014 Soul EV is an all-electric variant of the 2014 Kia Soul.
What's New About This Model?
The 2014 Kia Soul EV is an all-new, battery-electric-powered version of the Soul compact hatchback. It's also the first electric car from Kia sold in the United States.
When Does It Go on Sale?
Late summer or early fall of this year. Sales initially will be limited to California, Oregon and a handful of eastern states that include Maryland, New Jersey and New York.
How Much Does It Cost?
Kia plans to announce pricing for the 2014 Soul EV closer to its showroom debut. Similar-size electric-powered small cars from Chevrolet, Fiat and Nissan run from the high-$20,000 range to the low-$30,000 mark — but a federal tax incentive of $7,500 cuts the net price considerably, and many states also offer tax incentives for fully electric vehicles.
How Many Body Styles and Trim Levels Are There?
Like all Souls, the new Soul EV will come only in a hatchback body style.
It will be sold in base and "+" trim levels, but even the base model features a high level of standard equipment such as navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and five years of no-cost access to Uvo EV Services, a special version of Kia's Uvo telematics and infotainment interface, as well as five years of free Sirius/XM Data Services and Travel Link.
There will be a few stand-alone options, such as leather seats and a range-maximizing heat pump for the climate control system.
What Kind of Engines and Transmissions Does It Have?
• 109 horsepower electric motor
• 210 pound-feet of torque
• Single-speed automatic transmission
• Driving range of 80-100 miles
• Recharge time of less than five hours with a 240-volt charger and outlet
What Unique Features Does It Offer?
The 2014 Kia Soul EV comes in one of three special two-color color schemes and has a unique grille and LED exterior lighting, plus special 16-inch alloy wheels and tires.
Inside, the Soul EV gets bright white accent trim and 19 different interior pieces made from bio-based materials. A sophisticated climate control system includes a setting to deliver hot or cooled air only to the driver and other tweaks to maximize energy efficiency. A special screen in the gauge cluster uses energy-saving organic light-emitting-diode (OLED) technology, a first ever for Kia.
What Kind of Standard and Optional Safety Equipment Is Offered?
Standard safety equipment for the 2014 Soul EV includes four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, a rearview camera, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints.
What Models Will It Compete Against?
2014 Chevrolet Spark EV: A spunky performer with an airy, inviting interior and one of the lowest-priced all-electric models you'll find. But so far, it's available only in California and Oregon.
2014 Fiat 500e: Great handling, impressive driving range and quick-ish recharging, but it's really only useful for two occupants and unless you live in California, you can't buy it.
2014 Nissan Leaf: The granddaddy of affordable electric cars, with a spacious interior, good driving range and loads of thoughtful technology.
Should You Wait for It?
Absolutely. The 2014 Kia Soul EV is spacious enough that four people can actually fit, while the fact that you can buy one in many more states than most of its competitors makes it the only real alternative to the Nissan Leaf, which can be purchased in any Nissan dealership.