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Kia Gives its Soul An Electric Drive

Kia finally goes electric after showing us an electric version of what the Soul could be with its Naimo concept. Kia gives its Soul electricity.


It was an easy title, after all Soul and electricity make for good headlines but this electric Soul should hit our streets sometime early next year. The like it or no quirky box-styled Soul is the company’s second best selling U.S. car with no less than 93,356 copies sold this year. So what would a low-volume electric version of the Soul bring the company? Probably not much welcome the green credentials bragging rights. As more and more low volume electric cars, EV come onto the market, the electric Soul would directly compete against the Fiat 500 EV, Smart Fortwo Electric Drive, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Nissan Leaf, and Honda Fit EV, CODA’s EV amongst a few.

Technically Speaking. Although the original Naimo concept sported a sporty twin-pack 27 kWh battery pack placed under its trunk floor, the lithium-ion polymer battery came from Hyundai in flexible sheets giving better malleability than the conventional rectangular battery pack. Fast forward two years into development and production, Kia’s first electric car for the U.S. market is really none other than the carmaker’s Ray EV that was introduced last year in Korea. With a range of up to 86 miles, it feeds its 50kW electric motor, 67,6 HP that puts out a generous 129 lb-ft. of torque through its 16.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The pack can accept fast-charging that takes 25 minutes, as well as a more regular charging that takes six hours.

It would make sense to see such numbers and performance in the Soul EV but unfortunately, Kia is playing coy. Scott McKee, a Kia spokesman told Edmunds it did not "have any news to share about an electric Soul. As you know, Kia Motors America is constantly evaluating the U.S. market in search of opportunity, and our market analysis certainly extends into the realm of alternative-fuel vehicles, including electric. We'll be launching a lot of exciting new products and technologies over the next year, but at this point, I don't have any news to share about an electric Soul."

It’s good to see yet another carmaker jump into the electric drive scenery. What a difference this is from a few years ago when Nissan was the Lone Ranger and we test drove early Ford Focus electric prototypes. When even Kia has an electric car they are looking to introduce to an ever increasing variety of electric cars on the market, this should serve to quiet naysayers’ tired rhetoric that electric cars just aren’t ready.

In the meantime, we will continue to hunt for more specs and especially the most important question, how much. We are looking forward to seeing what Kia can do with giving its Soul some needed electricity.