Kia launched its first electric car for the U.S. market Thursday in Chicago with the new Soul EV.
On the outside, it looks much like the conventional gasoline-powered Soul 5-door hatchback. However, this version doesn’t have a gas tank, or a fuel filler door.
Instead, the little Soul has a 360-watt 27-kilowatt battery that’s good for a range of about 80 to 100 miles on a full charge. In terms of power, that comes out to 109 horsepower and a hefty 210 pound-feet of torque.
Kia wants to make this car as eco-friendly as possible with things like regenerative brakes that turn the forward motion of the car back into electricity. There are also about 10 pounds of bio-based plastics throughout the car.
On the outside, you can spot the differences of the Soul EV with its two-tone paint for the body and roof. Plus, the traditional grille has been replaced with a solid plastic cover that hides the charging port.
Technological sophistication extends beyond the powertrain. The car has standard navigation, a back-up camera and Bluetooth connectivity.
There’s even an app that can control some of the car’s functions, like heating and cooling. That way, you can warm or cool the car remotely while it’s still plugged in to its electric source.
The new version of the Soul will go on sale in California and Oregon this fall. Then, early in 2015, it will also go on sale in New York, New Jersey and Maryland.