Kia's Soul EV, which was revealed for the first time in North-America at the Chicago auto show in February, made its Canadian debut at the Vancouver auto show this week.
Kia also revealed there that the car will be sold in Canada beginning in fall 2014, making it the brand's first all-electric vehicle to be offered in this country.
When the Soul EV was first announced last fall, it was unclear in what markets it would be made available.
"We are elated to offer a full EV to Canadian consumers," said Robert Staffieri, director of marketing for Kia Canada. "With its youthful, fun, practical and green design, the Soul EV will certainly win the hearts of Canadians as did its gasoline-powered variant"
One of the major concerns for potential EV buyers is range anxiety.Kia says the Soul EV is expected to provide a range of approximately 160 km in real-world driving on a full charge, with internal testing results exceeding 200 km in some instances.
To achieve that range, it utilizes an energy-dense, 27kWh lithium-ion polymer battery located beneath the floor. Nissan's Leaf uses a 24kWh battery.
The Soul EV's 360-volt 192-cell, air-cooled battery has an energy density of 200 watt-hour/kg (43% greater than the Leaf battery).
Kia says its advanced chemistry does not build up gases if overcharged, unlike lithium ion which can ignite. For additional safety, an overcharge protection device has been incorporated.,
Each cell contains ceramic separators surrounded by gel electrolyte to improve thermal stability and safety and allow for 95% energy usage, compared with 60-80% in some other batteries.
The Soul EV also uses Kia's third-generation regenerative braking system to capture up to 12% of the car's kinetic energy, which is fed back into the battery while the car is coasting and braking.
Drivers can choose among four different regeneration modes: "Drive" or "Brake Regen" modes in each of the Eco-mode "Off" Eco-mode "On" states. The "Brake Regen" setting with Eco-mode "On" produces the most kinetic regeneration.
The EV can be charged by plugging into any standard 120-volt outlet or a conventional 240-volt EV charger. Two charging ports are included an SAE J1772 port for Level 1 and Level 2 AC charging and a fast-charge CHAdeMo DC port (480-volt).
Recharging times range from 24 hours for a fully depleted battery using a standard household 120-volt outlet to 4 hours and 20 minutes when plugged into a 240-volt outlet.
An 80-percent charge can be achieved in as little as 24 minutes with a 100-kW-output fast charger (33 minutes with a 50-kW charger).
The car's charging ports are located behind a sliding door located in the front grille.
Power is delivered by an 81.4 kW (109-hp) electric motor, producing 210 lb-ft of torque (23 lb-ft more than the Nissan Leaf). Kia says the car's liquid-cooled AC synchronous permanent-magnet motor helps reduce the whine that is common with other electric vehicles.
There is no transmission; the motor drives the front wheels through a single-speed constant-ratio gear reduction unit.
According to Kia's internal testing, the Soul EV accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 11.4 seconds (versus Nissan Leaf at 15.9 seconds). Its 80-120 km/h passing time is said to be 8.9 seconds (versus Nissan Leaf at 9.8 seconds). Top speed is electronically limited to approximately 145 km/h.
In the interest of pedestrian safety, the Soul EV is equipped with a Virtual Engine Sound System (VESS) that emits an audible alert at speeds below 20 km/h and whenever the car is in reverse.