Full Details Released on 2015 Kia Soul EV’s “Advanced Battery”


Soul EV Live in Chicago

Soul EV Live in Chicago

The 2015 Kia Soul EV is set to launch in the US in Q3 of 2014.

Most of the details on the upcoming electric Soul are known, excluding price:

    • 109 HP
    • 210 Pound-feet of torque
    • 27 kWh lithium polymer battery pack
    • Target range of 80 to 100 miles according to Kia
    • Recharge in under 5 hours on 240 volt (via 6.6 kW on-board charger) or 80% in 33 minutes via 50 kW CHAdeMO quick charge
    • 0 to 62 MPH in less than 12 seconds
    • Top speed of 90 MPH
    • Projection type headlamps
    • LED positioning lamps
    • LED rear combination lamps
    • Aerodynamically shaped 16-inch alloy wheels.

Here’s what Kia says in regards to the US launch:

Kia Soul EV Battery

Kia Soul EV Battery

 “The Soul EV will initially be sold in California and Oregon in the West and several Eastern states including New York, New Jersey and Maryland, the regions with the largest EV markets and infrastructure. KMA will look to offer the vehicle in other markets in the near future as infrastructure and demand grow. Pricing for the Soul EV will be announced closer to the vehicle’s launch.”

Ahead of its launch, Kia has informed us of the battery technology found in the Soul EV:

Advanced battery for Kia Soul EV

  • Class-leading battery cell energy density of 200 Wh/kg ensures driving range of up to 200km
  • Innovative application of Nickel-rich high capacity cathode material

Soul EV power pack features lithium-ion polymer battery cells supplied by SK Innovation

The forthcoming Kia Soul EV is to come with a class-leading battery energy density of 200 Wh/kg as a result of a three-year joint development programme between Kia Motors Corporation and SK Innovation in Korea.

Kia engineers have developed the outstanding power pack featuring 192 lithium-ion polymer battery cells in eight modules, delivering a total battery capacity of 27 kWh. The pack incorporates state-of-the-art thermal control technology to maintain individual cells at optimum temperature and structural design to enhance crash worthiness.

Nickel-rich NCM (nickel-cobalt-manganese) cathode material is used in the mass production of the battery cells for Soul EV. Energy density, which is dependent on cathode capabilities, is a core performance factor deciding EV driving range. By exploiting the class-leading energy density of its battery, the Soul EV offers a driving range of around 200 km on a single charge.

High performance electrolyte additive and anode materials were also developed to meet various performance requirements, such as safety and lifecycle, while maintaining high energy density.

Soul EV Live in Chicago

Soul EV Live in Chicago

In addition, a special secure separator is used in the Kia Soul EV’s battery cells. The separator determines the safety and the charge/discharge speed of the battery. It has improved thermal resistance, which helps to keep the cell secure from exposure to heat or fire by preventing the shrinking of the separator if the temperature of the cell increases beyond normal levels.

Soul EV Live in Chicago

Soul EV Live in Chicago

Together, the low electrical resistance battery cell, proper battery system thermal control and accurate state-of-charge calculation improve the charging performance, thereby enabling an outstanding ‘fast charge’ time of 25 minutes (100 kW DC) or 33 minutes (50 kW DC). Full recharge time, depending on power source, takes up to five hours (6.6 kW AC).

The electrolyte additive used in the Soul EV will prevent the degradation of battery performance at both low and high temperatures, expanding the temperature range of the battery usage and reducing the fluctuation of the driving range according to the weather.

Cold weather is notoriously hostile for a battery and the Soul EV features a battery heating system, which warms-up the battery while the car is plugged into the grid, prior to use. This helps to maintain optimum battery performance regardless of external temperature.

For maximum ‘active safety’ the battery module is fitted with an overcharge protection device that cuts the high voltage circuit if ever the battery cell swelling phenomenon should occur due to overcharging.

Optimisation of the raw materials used to create the cathode morphology control and surface coating, the anode surface coating and electrolyte additive, plus the excellent mechanical strength of the separator, ensure best-in-class durability and safety of the cell.

Soul EV Live in Chicago

Soul EV Live in Chicago

Background to Batteries

A lithium-ion battery is a rechargeable battery which saves the electric power as chemical energy and uses it when necessary. The lithium-ions move from cathode to anode during charging and from anode to cathode during discharging. The electrolyte is necessary as a medium for the transfer of the lithium-ions and the separator is necessary to separate the anode and cathode electrically.

Generally the cathode consists of heavy oxides and can store less electricity per weight than the anode which consists of light carbons. To increase the energy density (energy to weight) of the battery pack it is important to increase the quantity of the electricity stored by the cathode, since the quantity of electricity should be balanced between the cathode and anode.

Lithium-ion polymer is the common name for the battery type which uses ‘pouch film’ as a packaging material. The name lithium-ion battery refers to the battery type which uses a metal can as a packaging material.

The advantages of a lithium-ion polymer battery – over normal lithium-ion batteries – include: greater efficiency due to the simple cell structure (fewer parts), lower costs, increased safety and reliability (thanks to better thermal diffusion and internal pressure control), ease of manufacture in a variety of capacities and shapes.

The Kia Soul EV had its global debut at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show on 6 February and will have its European debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show on 4 March. The vehicle is expected to go on sale in European markets, including the UK, in the Autumn.

Categories: Kia

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25 Comments on "Full Details Released on 2015 Kia Soul EV’s “Advanced Battery”"

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Chris O

” class-leading battery energy density of 200 Wh/kg”…I doubt that’s actually at the pack level as this quote suggests. Still, 200wh/kg at the cell level is pretty good too and a 27KWh battery certainly is bigger than is usual in the compliance EV class, though it doesn’t seem to result in a much higher range than cars like Spark EV and BMW i3 get from much smaller packs.

Jay Cole

Its good news Kia is putting these cells to work in a practical application, the bad news (at least to myself) is that Kia decided to take the cost/weight savings over installing a 40 kWh pack in the same space as a traditional 27 kWh one could have went.

Still, I think it puts the other players who have been sitting on NMC a little bit on notice. I think we are all ready for inexpensive 100+ mile BEVs to start finally hitting the market.


Yes, too many PHEV announcements @ <16kwh and BEV announcements @ < 100mi make one go numb.

Jim in Laramie

Ensuring….”driving range of up to 200km” isn’t really promising anything except it won’t go further than 200km.

Chris O

@Jay Cole:This car is a compliance car done by the Hyundai hydrogen hoaxers. It was never going to have specs that might make hydrogen look redundant.


Yeah it’s disappointing, but I think it makes sense for Kia given they don’t really intend this car to be anything but a compliance car. No point in making a 40kWh car when you don’t really get awarded for it in terms of ZEV credits.

We know Nissan would put the same NMC tech to better use because they actually intend to sell in large volume.

MTN Ranger

Putting in a 40kWh pack would have been great; basically a smaller RAV4EV. But price would be definitely over $40k which is a no go.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Needs moar voltage and moar powahful motor(s)!

Nick M

According to Elon, Model S uses 250 Wh/kg cells (see https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/408708548009291776), so 200 Wh/kg doesn’t seem so great to me. But maybe all EVs outside of Tesla use lower density batteries, so the “class-leading” claim could be accurate if Kia agrees that Tesla is in a class of its own 😉

Sam EV

I’m sure Tesla gets counted as being in it’s on class. The Leaf has a much lower energy density of 140 Wh/kg.


Jay Cole

The ‘of interest’ note here is the advent/ “breaking the seal” of 200+ Wh/kg NMC cells in an automotive application.

While Tesla is running a higher Wh/kg NCR18650A 3100 mAh, the total installed electric drivetrain cost is much higher dealing with the complexities of 7000 odd batteries and that tech – which isn’t as big a deal when the average car sold in Q4 was just over $100,000

In this case, it is not totally about performance. It is about having an adequately sized pack, displacing an acceptable amount of room, for the least amount of money.

Tesla is a great company, they have done great things…but for the health and future of the plug-in industry past luxury/premium applications, the market is screaming for a 150 mile car under $30,000 before that $7500 fed credit gets “Atlanta’ed”…this is the first step in getting there – even though Hyundai has little interest in producing such an example themselves.


Lack of range advantage most likely due to refrigerator aerodynamics.


Fridgedynamics. 😀


They claim the car is going to “the regions with the largest EV markets and infrastructure”, but that sure looks like the list of CARB ZEV states. This car still feels like a compliance car, but I’m happy to see it’s available outside of California.

Also, I’m happy to read that they will actively warm the battery while the car is plugged in. Nissan already has a battery heater, they just need to use it when it’s cold outside!


Re: “The pack incorporates state-of-the-art thermal control technology to maintain individual cells at optimum temperature”
Actually it sounds like it handles the cooling as well. Is the LEAF the only EV that doesn’t cool it’s battery?!? (with liquid or the A/C)


The ES model of the i-MiEV does not have any active cooling of the battery yet doesn’t seem to have the hot weather issues the LEAF does. The SE model of the i-MiEV uses A/C to cool the battery during quick charging. (The ES model doesn’t have quick charging capability.)


But does it have a “fan” blowing across the pack?

If it does, then that is a lot more than what LEAF has….


Interesting details on the battery.
But the vehicle is just another compliance car, yawn. Its only Nissan and Tesla in the game.

Suprise Cat

No. It’s a full serial production car with in-house developed drivetrain and quick charging. It will be sold in Korea, France, Germany, Netherlands and dozen more countries this year.

Scott Franco

Its nice to see LiPo technology used in a car. I use them in my model airplanes, its far and away the most advanced, lightest type for the power. I have wondered why they weren’t using them in cars.


Hmm. This chemistry is making red lights flash in my head. I thought cobalt tended to make lithium batteries burn? And Manganese? That also likes to burn AND give off poisonous gases in a fire… 🙁

Bill Howland

Jay, your 40 kwh battery addition seems like a great extra cost option for those who want it. If 90% of buyers purchase the 40 kwh battery over the 27 kwh standard, perhaps Kia and other automakers will get the hint the US customers prefer larger batteries.


They didn’t figure that out with the 40 kWh Model S???


The battery chemistry sounds promising as far as it goes. Not mentioned: Cycle life. Toshiba SCiB batteries (Honda Fit EV) claim almost >80% capacity after 6,000 charge cycles. What does the Kia technology predict?


KIA website says that the battery pack is made of 96 lithium-ion cells, not 192.