How To Extend Kia Soul EV's Battery Life in Cold Weather
For some owners living in cold-weather locales, the 2021 Kia Soul EV can’t get here fast enough. That’s because owners of the current generation can see massive cold-weather battery loss when the temps hit 32 degree Fahrenheit or lower.
According to AutoEvolution, in the U.S., Kia is expected to offer the 2021 Soul EV with a single fully electric, zero-emission powertrain. While Europe and Korea get a standard single-motor model with an output of 100 kW (136 PS/134 hp), North America will likely get only the more powerful 150 kW (204 PS/201 hp) variant, which also offers a longer range.
The benefit of the North American powertrain is greater range. It’s projected to be in the 280-mile range, which is going to be extremely appealing to Soul EV users in cold-weather climes. The current model is rated at 111 miles – and that’s where the problems come in.
The Kia Soul EV Facebook page is full of laments about the vehicle’s range loss in cold weather. One poster said his Kia Soul EV showed 135 miles of range in May (an astounding number considering it’s rated at 111 miles) but now in 35-degree weather is showing only 107 miles: an almost 21% drop.
Others chimed in how fortunate the man was to hit 107 miles range when the mercury drops so low. They began to share their tales of woe, as well as some suggestions.
One owner said losses of 30 to 40% are more typical. In British Columbia, well north and west of the original poster, one owner shared his lament of losses in the 60% range!
So what are some possible solutions? The obvious one is move to warmer climates for better results. Of course, that is not practical for most Kia Soul EV owners.
Here are some of the suggestions offered. Use driver only heat. A lot of energy is lost heating up the entire passenger cabin. Heated seats and a heated steering wheel are a must, too.
One poster had an idea I hadn’t come across. He suggested a portable battery and cigarette light heater that wouldn’t draw energy directly from the car.
Another smart move is cranking up the car’s defroster to maximum temperature and fan. This does an excellent job warming up the cabin. Once underway, drop the temp back to something more palatable and slow the fans way down.
What is your experience with loss of range? It happens even in warmer areas once the temperatures drop. What are some of your tips for getting warm behind the wheel of your Kia Soul EV? Comment below.
Keith Griffin covers Hyundai and Kia at Torque News. He has been writing continuously about cars since 2002. Keith used to be a researcher/writer for US News & World Report, as well as numerous car sites, including Carfax and Car Gurus, and a contributor to The Boston Globe. Most recently, Keith was the managing editor for American Business Media. Follow Keith at @indepthauto on Twitter, on @LinkedIn and on his Indepth Auto Facebook page.