Destined for a US-market launch later this year, the Soul EV will be Kia’s first electric model to be offered in western markets.
The Soul EV wears largely identical styling to its conventional siblings, but adds unique wheels, a ‘Caribbean Blue’ paint finish and a larger grille to accommodate charging points.
Power in the Soul EV is provided by a 81kW/284Nm electric motor, drawing energy from a 27kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack beneath the hatchback’s floor.
Motivation is sent to the front wheels through a single-speed constant-ratio gear reduction system, and Kia claims a 0-100km/h time of just under 12 seconds.
The Soul EV boasts a driving range of around 120 to 160 kilometres from one charge - about par with most electric vehicles - and the battery can be fully charged in five to 24 hours depending on the type of charger used.
An 80 percent charge can also be achieved with a special 50kW charging unit. Battery regeneration also occurs while the car is braking or coasting.
Due to the lack of engine noise, the Soul EV will be equipped with a Virtual Engine Sound System (VESS) for pedestrian safety that emits an audio alert at speeds below 12mph (20km/h) and whenever the car is in reverse.
The Soul EV will also feature a unique ‘Supervision’ instrument cluster along with an eight-inch display screen and aerodynamically shaped 16-inch alloy wheels.
"Although it is Kia's first globally sold all-electric vehicle, the Soul EV is our second-generation battery electric vehicle and significantly benefits from the in-depth knowledge gained during development of the Ray EV sold in Korea," Kia said in a statement.
Will we see the Soul EV in Australia? Unlikely, as production is expected to cater to left-hand-drive markets only at this stage.
The ‘regular’ all-new Soul hits Australia this week, however, so keep an eye out for our first-drive review.