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Kia begins production of first export electric vehicle

The Soul EV is Kia’s first electric vehicle to be exported outside its home market, and is the next generation of the drivetrain used in the Ray EV city car offered for short-term hire in Seoul. An estimated 5,000 units will be produced in Gwangju each year.

Based on the conventionally-powered Soul, Kia is claiming an electric range of 132 miles on the European combined cycle, helped by what is claimed to be industry-leading energy density in its battery pack. Using a CHAdeMo rapid charge connection, it should be possible to recover 80% of its range within half an hour.

The drivetrain produces 108bhp, reaches 62mph in 11.2 seconds and tops out at around 90mph, while the battery is mounted under the cabin for a low centre of gravity and to improve stability. Kia has also made widespread use of bio-based plastic and organic carbon content in its construction.

Thomas Oh, Executive Vice President and COO, Kia Motors Corporation, said: ‘Although it is Kia's first globally-sold all-electric vehicle, the Soul EV is our second-generation battery electric vehicle and benefits significantly from our in-depth experience gained from development of the Ray EV and proven daily operations of the Ray EV fleet in Korea for the past three years.’

The UK launch of the Kia Soul EV is schedules for the fourth quarter of 2014.

Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.

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