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Kia Soul EV goes on sale in UK

Based on the conventionally powered Soul, the Soul EV offers a claimed electric range of 132 miles on the European combined cycle, helped by what is said to be industry-leading energy density in its battery pack.

Kia also said other contributions to the range include the nickel-rich material used for the cathodes and an air con system that can be set to heat or cool only one side of the car when the driver is travelling alone.

The Soul EV has a top speed of 90mph and can accelerate from 0-60mph in 10.8 seconds. There’s two different performance levels – DRIVE and BRAKE – both of which can additionally be operated in ECO mode.

Outwardly, the only obvious differences between the Soul EV and the models powered by internal combustion engines are the lack of a radiator grille and fuel filler flap and the bespoke rear light clusters. Inside, there’s an 80mm reduction in rear-seat legroom whilst luggage capacity is down 31 litres to 281 litres because the luggage undertray is used to house both charging cables

The batteries have an energy storage capacity of 27 kilowatt-hours and are mounted beneath the car for a low centre of gravity and to improve stability.

Using a UK 230-volt domestic power supply, the Soul EV can be fully recharged in 10 to 13 hours. With the Kia-branded wallbox supplied as standard or at a public fast-charge point, the time is reduced to around five hours. Alternatively, through a public rapid charger the batteries can be topped up to 80% in 33 minutes.

Standard EV features include an eight-inch touch-screen with European mapping, traffic messaging channel, reversing camera and charging point locator; automatic air conditioning with the driver-only function; heated front seats; a smart key with a motor start-stop button; projection headlights with LED daytime running lamps; front foglamps; privacy glass on the rear windows and tailgate; 16-inch lightweight alloy wheels with super-low-rolling-resistance tyres; two charge points and the Heat Pump system.

Standard spec also includes cruise control with a speed limiter, front and rear electric windows, electrically folding adjustable heated door mirrors with LED indicators, a 3.5-inch OLED supervision instrument cluster with specific EV information display and a DAB RDS radio with MP3 compatibility, steering wheel-mounted controls, USB and AUX ports and Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming.

Kia expects to sell between 100 and 200 Soul EVs in the first year of sales in UK, due to limited supply from the factory in Korea. It is available from a network of 13 specially trained UK dealers.

Natalie Middleton

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