2020 Kia Soul EV To Boast 250+ Mile Range To Zap Tesla Model 3 And Chevy Bolt
Kia has been working hard to change perceptions about its cars. It was in the past the place you went for cheap, but not terribly exciting or attractive vehicles. That has changed with cars like the Kia Stinger GT competing against the likes of the Mustang GT and other performance vehicles. Kia this week unveiled the new 2020 Kia Soul EV to compete directly with the Tesla Model 3, the rumored VW EV, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Bolt.
The new Soul EV gains power and torque with a 201 hp electric motor producing 291 lb-ft of torque. That is loads more torque than the outgoing Soul EV made and will mean much better performance. The Soul EV won't offer Tesla Modle 3 dual-motor levels of go, but the new Soul EV has 81 lb-ft more torque than last year. Kia crams a 64 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery inside the car that uses liquid-cooling. There is no "official" word right now of driving range expected for the car, but Kia does say the battery is "expected to mean much less need for daily charging" than the battery in the outgoing car. We should note, however, that the the Soul EV uses the same powertrain/battery pack as the Hyundai Kona EV, which is EPA-rated at 258 miles per charge.
The Soul EV also gets a Combined Charging System DC fast-charge as standard equipment to quickly recharge the battery. Kia says that the car is currently being tested for an EPA-estimated range and that the range testing will be complete in early 2019 and announced at a later date.
Kia integrates four drive modes in the Soul EV including Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Eco+. Each of those modes adjusts power output to the traction motor, regenerative braking, air and heating settings, and sets speed limits to manage efficiency. Smart regenerative braking is operated with paddle shifters to let the driver slow the car and capture kinetic energy to improve driving range. Kia features a brake and hold system that allows the regen paddle shifter to bring the car to a full stop and grab as much energy as possible. The Smart regen system also adjusts regenerative braking level based on vehicles detected in front of the Soul EV and allows the car to coast when on a steep road to gather energy.
In addition to the new battery and more power, the 2020 Soul EV also gains the new style regular Soul cars get for the year model including restyled front and rear bumpers. The EV also gets a solid front grille insert with a charging door on driver's side, LED headlamps, unique fog lamps, and EV exclusive 5-spoke 17-inch wheels. Soul EV also gets Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition, numerous safety systems, and Kia Drive Wise driver assistance system as standard, though some features of that system are optional. Pricing on the car is unannounced at this time.