Kia Announces Pricing for Soul EV and It's High
Kia will start building a battery-powered version of its Soul compact in Korea next month. The car will be Hyundai-Kia's first battery-powered EV export, with destinations including the United States and Europe, according to a Reuters report via Automotive News.
For this year, the global sales target is 5,000 Soul EVs, said Cho Yong-won, vice president of Kia's Domestic Marketing Group. In Korea, the price of the Soul EV will be 42 million won, which is about $39,400. That seems unrealistically high for the US market where a base Soul costs $14,900 in its most stripped down package but typically runs about $18,000.
The Soul EV uses a highly energy-dense lithium-ion polymer battery. Located beneath the floor, the 27kWh, air-cooled, 200 watt-hour/kg battery is expected to yield a range of approximately 80-100 miles of real-world driving on a full charge, with internal testing and evaluation results exceeding 100 miles in some instances. That's attainable on a fast charge of about 30 minutes and four hours on a slow charge.
"There is no clear direction about which eco-friendly cars will win. We are dividing the roles of Hyundai and Kia, with Hyundai launching fuel cell cars and Kia focusing on electric cars," said Senior Vice President Lee Ki-sang, who leads the eco-friendly car divisions of both Hyundai and Kia, in the Reuters article.
Kia, 34 percent owned by Hyundai, has favored battery-powered cars because they can be charged at home as well as at charging stations. Fuel cell cars must be refilled with hydrogen only at filling stations, the Reuters article reported.
The Kia Soul EV is going to succeed in the United States if it comes in at a more realistic price. Expect it to do better if Kia pushes it at special leasing rates but not if comes in costing close to $39,000. That would put it well behind the Nissan Leaf, which has a starting MSRP of $28,890.