Brian Joss – The third globally-sold electric vehicle from KIA Motors makes its European debut at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show.
In its third generation, KIA’s pioneering urban crossover has become more distinctive, dynamic and innovative than ever. While the e-Soul embraces the iconic design and playful character of its predecessors, it will be powered in Europe exclusively by electric energy, with a choice of two long-range, zero-emissions powertrains. The new-generation battery packs powering the new e-Soul are up to 30% more energy efficient than Europe’s current best-selling electric vehicle.
Emilio Herrera, Chief Operating Officer for KIA Motors Europe, commented:
“Since its inception, the Soul has been a true pioneer for KIA, and for the wider market. A decade ago, it established the urban crossover segment, and when we launched the Soul EV it became the first fully-electric crossover.
The new e-Soul breaks more ground, as we launch it in Europe with an extended-range electric powertrain as standard – without the option of an internal combustion engine.
“The market has changed significantly in recent years, and in 2018 – the outgoing model’s final year on-sale, KIA sold more of the zero-emissions Soul EV in Europe than petrol and diesel versions combined. KIA is recognised today as a global leader in electrified vehicles, with a growing range of mild-hybrid, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles.
Electrified models accounted for one in eight KIA cars sold in Europe in 2018, up from one in 10 in 2017, and the new e-Soul will further build on this momentum.”
The new e-Soul celebrates the iconic design and playful character of the
first- and second-generation Soul models. With newly-sculpted lines, sharp details, and technical lighting elements, the new e-Soul is the most futuristic, youthful and innovative iteration yet.
At the rear, the ‘island’ of bodywork in the tailgate remains. Surrounded by gloss black, this panel takes on a more rounded, modern shape for the new model, and sits atop restyled rear bumpers. It is bracketed by bold new wraparound LED combination lamps.
The e-Soul’s interior space is finished with acoustic-inspired shapes and textures, creating a full sensory experience. The new Soul retains the signature ‘tweeter’ speakers which bookend the dashboard, a feature of the previous-generation Soul which exemplified the car’s combination of cool design and ultimate functionality.
The car is also available with a wireless phone charger at the base of the dashboard, heated and ventilated front seats, and a premium Harman Kardon sound system. An available Head-Up Display system unobtrusively projects relevant driving information on to a small glass panel behind the steering wheel – such as turn-by-turn navigation directions and vehicle speed information.
The new KIA e-Soul will be sold in Europe exclusively as an electric vehicle, with a choice of two fully-electric, zero-emission powertrains to meet the needs and budgets of different customers.
Drivers have a choice of long-range (64 kWh) and standard-range (39.2 kWh) powertrains. Whichever version a buyer chooses, both variants offer vastly improved range over the outgoing Soul EV. On-road performance is also enhanced, with significantly more powerful electric motors providing 395 Nm of torque – 39% more than before.
KIA’s new-generation lithium-ion polymer battery packs offer greater energy capacity than those of many other electric vehicles, regardless of price.
Cell energy density of 250 Wh / kg, achieved through new cell chemistry, enable the cells to store 25% more energy within a defined volume than those of the 200 Wh / kg battery pack in the outgoing Soul EV. This has enabled KIA to keep the battery pack as compact and lightweight as possible, while taking a huge leap in the car’s zero-emissions driving range compared to its predecessor and other electric vehicles on the market.
With the powertrain’s maximum 395 Nm torque available from a standstill, and 84% more power than the car it replaces, the long-range 64 kWh e-Soul will accelerate from 0-to-100 kph in just 7.6 seconds.
A Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast charger is fitted as standard to both models, enabling shorter stops for charging. Both battery packs can be recharged from 20% up to 80% capacity in just 42 minutes from a 100 kW DC fast-charger.
The e-Soul is fitted with a range of energy-recuperation technologies to maximise driving range. This includes KIA’s energy efficient heat pump system, which scavenges waste heat from the car’s coolant system. It also features KIA’s innovative individual ventilation and air conditioning system, which shuts off cabin ventilation at the source to all seats except the driver’s – unlike other systems, which merely divert air to open passenger cabin vents.
In addition, the e-Soul’s Drive Mode Select system lets drivers adapt the car to their preferred style or the road conditions. Drivers can choose from ‘Normal’, ‘Eco’, Eco+’ and ‘Sport’ mode. The two Eco modes are tuned to maximise vehicle range with certain power-saving measures, while Sport mode increases responses from the steering and electric motor to maximise the dynamic driving feel of the car. Normal mode provides a careful balance between each.
A suite of advanced features enhance safety, improve the driving experience and provide ease of operation and ownership. Furthermore, the new model is the first KIA in Europe to offer the brand’s innovative UVO CONNECT telematics system which connects drivers to the world around to provide them with invaluable information – via the in-car touchscreen, and on their smartphone.
UVO features the KIA Live system, housed within the 10.25-inch TFT LCD widescreen in the centre of the e-Soul’s dashboard. The system uses its own SIM card to retrieve and update live data during a drive, such as live traffic information, weather forecasts, points of interest, and details of potential on- and off-street parking – including price, location and parking availability. Crucially, the UVO system also shows drivers charging station locations, charger availability, and connection compatibility.
The second element of the UVO system is the UVO App, designed for compatibility on Android and Apple smartphones. The app offers users peace of mind with a range of features to provide diagnostic data about their car and the trips they take. The app also enables owners to activate a range of remote functions and features remotely. Depending on country, users can remotely activate the climate control system (pre-heating or pre-cooling the car, depending on the weather), and send route directions to their car before a journey.
A range of passive and active safety systems ensure that occupants remain as well protected as possible on every journey. KIA’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) help to reduce many of the inherent hazards and stresses of driving.
The new e-Soul is produced at KIA’s Gwangju manufacturing facility in Korea.
It goes on-sale in selected European markets in four months.
CAPTION: Innovative: The KIA e-Soul brings power to the urban crossover class. Picture: Motorpress