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Kia shows first electric vehicle for Europe

Set to launch in Europe in the third quarter of 2014, with right hand drive versions coming to the UK shortly afterwards, it features a 107bhp, 210lb.ft electric motor powered by a lithium-ion polymer battery under the rear seats.

The car is as yet untested for European markets, but Kia is claiming a range of between 80-100 miles in real-world conditions and a 0-62mph sprint time of around 12 seconds with a top speed of 90mph. Packaging the drivetrain in to the rear of the cabin has resulted in a small drop in legroom for back seat passengers, but no loss of boot capacity.

Marked out by a model-specific aerodynamic package, including unique alloy wheels with low rolling resistance tyres and the first application of Kia’s Eco Electric branding, it debuts a new regenerative braking system capable of capturing 12% of the car’s kinetic energy as battery charge, and features a noise generator to alert pedestrians at less than 12mph.

Behind the grille are two charging ports. Kia has confirmed a J1772 Level 1/2 port and CHAdeMo fast charging capability for the United States market, but engineers indicated that it could use the new Combo Charging Standard and a Mennekes Type 2 connection for the European market, in line with forthcoming standards for public chargers. Using a DC fast charger, the Soul EV can be fully charged from flat in 33 minutes.

Although the Soul EV is Kia’s first electric vehicle to be sold globally, the carmaker already has a fleet of Ray EV city cars available to share in Seoul, using a less powerful version of the second-generation drivetrain. Pricing and specification of the Soul EV, which uses a third-generation electric drivetrain, has yet to be announced for the UK market.

Alex Grant

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