- Kia is holding off on bringing its next-gen Soul EV to the U.S. because demand is high in Europe and supplies of battery-electric parts are limited.
- The new Soul EV made its debut at the 2018 Los Angeles auto show and had been expected to come to U.S. buyers in 2019.
- When it does get here, likely as a 2021 model, it will have more than twice the range of the current Soul EV: 243 miles versus the current 111, thanks to a larger battery pack.
Sometimes, we just have to wait for the good stuff.
Kia's updated Soul EV is already available in Europe, but Americans will need to be patient until some time next year for the new electric Soul to go on sale. The new Soul EV was introduced at the 2018 Los Angeles auto show and was supposed to arrive in 2019, but a combination of popularity in Europe and limited supply of vital components for the battery and electric motors mean that the Korean automaker is limiting sales to the markets where sales are hot.
Michael Cole, COO of Kia Motors America, told Wards Auto that, in general, EV demand is high in Europe, where strong regulations are in place to limit carbon dioxide emissions. He didn't tie this directly to the Soul EV's delay, but he did say that demand for the all-electric Kia Niro is high in Europe and connected that to a recent drop in U.S. sales for that model. Kia does not sell a liquid-fuel-powered Soul in Europe.
The updated Kia Soul EV is an improvement in pretty much every way from the first-gen model. It is rated at 243 miles of range from the EPA thanks to a 64.0-kWh liquid-cooled battery pack. That range is more than double the 111 miles that the current Soul EV gets from its 31.8-kWh pack. One-pedal driving will be possible once the new EV gets here, thanks to driver-selectable regenerative braking levels that range from effortless coasting to reliably harsh. The new Soul EV also ditches the CHAdeMO fast-charging standard for a 100-kW CCS Combo connector.
The new Soul EV uses a permanent-magnet synchronous AC electric motor that produces 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque that should allow the EV to go from zero to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds, according to Kia. This is the same powertrain that is used in the Kia Niro EV and the Hyundai Kona EV, furthering the connection between high demand for those models and the delayed stateside arrival of the new Soul EV.
The first-gen Kia Soul EV originally went on sale in late 2014 as a 2015 model.
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