Kia's innovative all-electric small car, the Soul EV, now has an extended range of up to 155 miles on a single charge as a result of some ingenious fresh thinking by the engineering teams at the company's research and development centre in Korea. That is an improvement of 23 miles on the maximum range when the car was launched in 2015, and means that a careful driver could comfortably travel from London to Nottingham, Cardiff or Norwich in almost total silence and at negligible cost without needing to stop to top up the batteries.
This impressive extended range comes about through a number of highly developed improvements to the all-electric powertrain. There are an additional eight battery cells – now 200 instead of 192 – in eight modules; the battery storage capacity has been enlarged from 27 kilowatt-hours (kWh) to 30; the nominal voltage rises from 360 to 375V; while the amount of electric current the system can carry is up from 37.5 amp hours (Ah) to 40. There are Michelin tyres which offer less rolling resistance, while the open area in the lower front bumper has been reduced to minimise drag and improve the car's aerodynamics.
All of this has been achieved without impacting on the Soul EV's exceptional practicality, even though the rear floor is slightly higher to accommodate the additional battery cells. To compensate for this, the cooling duct to the rear battery cells has been lowered by 24mm – exactly the same as the increase in floor height.
Kia spent almost 30 years researching and developing electric powertrains before launching the Soul EV because the company wanted to ensure that the technology, recharging infrastructures and markets in the most important areas of the world were mature enough to support an all-electric vehicle. The Soul EV comes with a seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty, just like any other Kia.
Kia offers one comprehensively equipped version of the Soul EV in the UK, available in a choice of three colour schemes – Caribbean Blue with a Clear White roof, Snow White Pearl with an Electric Blue roof or Titanium Silver premium paint. The interior upholstery is Grey Eco cloth with blue stitching, while the fascia panel, door inserts and gear selector are finished in High-gloss White. The instrument cluster housing, door inserts, steering wheel and gearshifter are trimmed in leather.
Standard EV features include an 8-inch touchscreen with European mapping, traffic messaging channel, reversing camera and charging point locator; automatic air conditioning with the driver-only function; heated front seats; a smart key with a motor start-stop button; projection headlights with LED daytime running lamps; front foglamps; privacy glass on the rear windows and tailgate; 16-inch lightweight alloy wheels with super-low-rolling-resistance tyres; two charge points and the heat pump system. The car is also supplied with a wallbox charger and features Virtual Engine Sound.
Also included in the standard specification are cruise control with a speed limiter, an electronic parking brake, front and rear electric windows, electrically folding adjustable heated door mirrors with LED indicators, solar glass for the windscreen and front windows, automatic light control with a follow-me-home function, LED rear combination and high-mounted brake lights, a 3.5-inch OLED supervision instrument cluster with specific EV information display, a trip computer, front speaker mood lights, driver’s seat height adjustment, a heated steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors and a luggage cargo screen plus retaining net.
In-car entertainment includes a DAB radio with MP3 compatibility, steering wheel-mounted controls, USB and AUX ports and Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming. Safety is taken care of by Anti-lock Brakes with Emergency Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Hill-start Assist, Emergency Stop Signalling, a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System and six airbags.
The Soul EV is now compatible with Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ when paired with a suitable smartphone. Android Auto™ functions with Android smartphones running 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher, while Apple CarPlay™ is compatible with iPhone 5 and newer versions of the Apple handset. Both allow occupants to connect to various apps and functions, including voice-guided, hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition. Androind Auto gives access to Google maps navigation and Google Play music, while Apple CarPlay™ links to pre-loaded maps, music, podcasts, texts and messages and audiobooks, all through Siri voice control.
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Plus, like all other brand new Kia's - the all new Kia Soul EV also benefits from a pioneering
7 year warranty.