This KIA’s Got SOUL – And It’s Electric Too.
The new Kia e-Soul brings long-range, zero-emissions power to the urban crossover class. The third globally-sold electric vehicle from Kia Motors is now officially on sale in Ireland, and is set to shake things up within the growing electric car market. Now in its third generation, Kia’s pioneering urban crossover has become more distinctive, dynamic and innovative than ever. While the e-Soul embraces the iconic design and playful character of its predecessors, it is powered in Europe exclusively by electric energy, with a choice of two long-range, zero-emissions powertrains. The new-generation battery packs powering the new e-Soul are up to 30% more energy efficient than Europe’s current best-selling electric vehicle. The new e-Soul breaks new ground, as it has been launched with an extended-range electric powertrain as standard – without the option of an internal combustion engine.
Fresh, Funky & Distinctive;
The e-Soul retains the strengths that have characterised earlier generations of the model, offering outstanding value for money, a roomy interior for five occupants, and high levels of space and versatility. Like all Kia models, the new e-Soul will be sold as standard in Europe with Kia’s quality promise – an unrivalled 7-Year, 150,000-kilometre warranty, which also covers the car’s electric motor and battery pack. Fresh, funky and distinctive, the new e-Soul celebrates the iconic design and playful character of the first- and second-generation Soul models. With newly-sculpted lines, sharp details, and technical lighting elements, the new e-Soul is the most futuristic, youthful and innovative iteration yet.
Every exterior panel on the e-Soul is new, yet it remains instantly recognisable by staying true to its boxy origins. Its urban crossover design has been enhanced with sharp full-LED headlamps integrated into the upper ‘brow’, which extends across the front of the 1,800-mm wide car. The front and rear bumpers, and a solid panel in place of a grille, give it a smooth, aerodynamic appearance. The charging socket is housed behind a small panel at the front of the car. Strake-style LED foglamps beneath the headlights replace the round lamps found on the previous Soul EV. In profile, the e-Soul’s boxy silhouette remains clear, yet subtle adjustments to its proportions and details give the car a more confident appearance. At 4,195 mm in length, the new e-Soul is 55 mm longer than the car it replaces – with a 2,600-mm wheelbase (+30 mm) and a 15-mm longer front overhang. This effect is enhanced visually by the newly-designed rear pillar and shape of its glasshouse. The windows taper towards the rear of the car, with a fin-shaped rear pillar replacing what was previously a sharp angle at the base of the rear windows. The shape of the glasshouse draws the eyes along the side of the car as the bodywork kicks up towards the roof, ending in a matte black panel bearing the Soul name. This effectively balances the visual ‘weight’ of the rear with the longer front end. The e-Soul is finished with a unique five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheel design, which compliments the car perfectly. At the rear, the ‘island’ of bodywork in the tailgate remains. Surrounded by gloss black, this panel takes on a more rounded, modern shape for the new model, and sits atop restyled rear bumpers. It is parenthesised by bold new wraparound LED combination lamps. The new e-Soul is available in a choice of seven single-tone paint finishes and seven two-tone combinations, mixing bright body colours with metallic shades for the roof and door mirror caps.
Since the Soul’s inception, music has been an overarching theme behind its design. In its third generation, this continues to be a core attribute of the car’s persona. For the new model, designers and engineers have ‘turned up the volume’ on the interior, drawing inspiration from the visualisation of sound.
The e-Soul’s interior space is finished with acoustic-inspired shapes and textures, creating a full sensory experience. The new Soul retains the signature ‘tweeter’ speakers which bookend the dashboard, a feature of the previous-generation Soul which exemplified the car’s combination of cool design and ultimate functionality.
Powerful Electric Motors;
Drivers have a choice of long-range (64 kWh) and standard-range (39.2 kWh) powertrains. Whichever version a buyer chooses, both variants offer vastly improved range over the outgoing Soul EV. On-road performance is also enhanced, with significantly more powerful electric motors providing 395 Nm of torque – 39% more than before. Furthermore, Kia’s new-generation lithium-ion polymer battery packs offer greater energy capacity than those of many other electric vehicles, regardless of price. Cell energy density of 250 Wh/kg, achieved through new cell chemistry, enable the cells to store 25% more energy within a defined volume than those of the 200 Wh/kg battery pack in the outgoing Soul EV. This has enabled Kia to keep the battery pack as compact and lightweight as possible, while taking a huge leap in the car’s zero-emissions driving range compared to its predecessor and other electric vehicles on the market. The long-range 64 kWh battery pack is paired with a 150 kW (204 ps) electric motor, enabling the e-Soul to travel up to 452 kilometres (280 miles) on a single charge (on the WLTP combined cycle). Energy consumption for the 64 kWh battery pack is just 157 Wh / km on the WLTP combined cycle – 24% more efficient than Europe’s current best-selling electric vehicle. Energy consumption for the long-range e-Soul is as low as 109 Wh / km in urban environments (WLTP urban cycle). With the powertrain’s maximum 395 Nm torque available from a standstill, and 84% more power than the car it replaces, the long-range 64 kWh e-Soul will accelerate from 0-to-100 kph in just 7.6 seconds. The standard-range 39.2 kWh battery pack powers an efficient 100 kW (136 ps) electric motor. With peak torque of 395 Nm, and 23% more power than the outgoing Soul EV, the significantly improved efficiency of the battery nevertheless enables the standard-range e-Soul to travel up to 277 kilometres (172 miles) on a single charge. Energy efficiency is rated at 145 Wh / km (WLTP combined), 30% more efficient than the best-selling electric car in Europe – making it one of the most energy-efficient electric vehicles in the world.
Combined Charging System;
A Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast charger is fitted as standard to both models, enabling shorter stops for charging. Both battery packs can be recharged from 20% up to 80% capacity in just 42 minutes from a 100 kW DC fast-charger. The e-Soul is fitted with a range of energy-recuperation technologies to maximise driving range. This includes Kia’s energy efficient heat pump system, which scavenges waste heat from the car’s coolant system. It also features Kia’s innovative individual ventilation and air conditioning system, which shuts off cabin ventilation at the source to all seats except the driver’s – unlike other systems, which merely divert air to open passenger cabin vents.
Innovative Regenerative Braking;
The e-Soul is also equipped as standard with Kia’s innovative regenerative braking system, operated by paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. The system provides drivers with the ability to slow the car and recuperate kinetic energy to maximise its driving range and efficiency. Drivers can choose from five regenerative braking levels (none, 1 to 3, or ‘single pedal’ mode), depending on the level of energy recuperation they desire from the brakes. The system’s ‘single pedal’ driving mode also allows the car to harvest the maximum amount of energy from its brakes, and even enables the driver to bring the car to a gentle halt without necessarily needing to push the brake pedal. The regenerative braking system can also automatically adjust the braking level if it detects the car in front slowing down, creating smoother coast-down driving – especially on a steep downhill road. A Smart Eco Pedal Guide display on the driver’s instrument cluster also keeps the driver aware of real-time battery usage based on accelerator pedal input. In addition, the e-Soul’s Drive Mode Select system lets drivers adapt the car to their preferred style or the road conditions. Drivers can choose from ‘Normal’, ‘Eco’, Eco+’ and ‘Sport’ mode. The two Eco modes are tuned to maximise vehicle range with certain power-saving measures, while Sport mode increases responses from the steering and electric motor to maximise the dynamic driving feel of the car. Normal mode provides a careful balance between each.
Two trim levels are available in the new e-Soul – K2 and K3, with both models sharing key features such as 17” alloy wheels, a Harmon Kardon sound system, smart cruise control, Lane Follow Assist, rain sensor, light sensor, heated front seats, and a 10.25” infotainment screen with integrated satellite navigation. Upgrading to the K3 model brings the addition of full leather seating with a red colour pack (cloth & leather trim is standard on the K2 model), and a heads-up display.
My test car was a new Kia e-Soul 64kWh K2 model and was finished in Black Soul paintwork with a contrasting Inferno Red roof and door mirror casings. On the road, the e-Soul gathers pace with a hushed urgency, with only a faint murmur from the car’s electric motor when pushed, making the e-Soul a far more tranquil travelling companion than any equivalent diesel SUV. The car’s brakes are as progressive as those of any regular car, but you can vary the amount of regeneration using paddles on the steering wheel, and when the system is set to maximum you can stop the car pretty effectively simply by lifting off the accelerator. The e-Soul’s suspension is slightly softer than many EV rivals, which makes the car a pleasure to drive over potholes in town or over undulations on the motorway. The interior of the e-Soul is funky, spacious, versatile and practical in equal measure, with excellent levels of leg, head, and elbow room. The widescreen in the centre of the dashboard is complemented by a 7.0-inch TFT-LCD supervision instrument cluster, displaying essential driving information to the driver. The e-Soul’s body is made up of a blend of steel and aluminium, maximising torsional rigidity while keeping body weight low. With a higher proportion of Advanced High-Strength Steel and hot-stamped steel components than its predecessor, as well as new aluminium side-sill reinforcements, the more rigid bodyshell reduces road vibrations and enhances occupant safety in the event of a collision. A range of passive and active safety systems ensure that occupants remain as well protected as possible on every journey. Kia’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) help to reduce many of the inherent hazards and stresses of driving.
The amazingly capable Kia e-Soul is priced from €35,995 (inclusive of current Government & SEAI incentives) for the K2 model, with the K3 available for an additional €1,500 premium. The entire allocation for ‘192 registration is sold out, but it is possible to now register your interest for early 2020. Kia’s new fully-electric car certainly has ‘Soul’.
Visit www.kia.ie for further information.