Kia Soul EV Range Autonomy Demonstration Nets More Than 100 Miles – Video


Today, we tested a new Kia Soul EV for range autonomy. I met the car’s owner, Andrew, at a Walgreens drug store in Gardena, California at the appointed time of 9am. It was an absolutely beautiful Saturday morning as I drove my 2014 RAV4 EV up from San Diego, about 115 miles (184km), to meet Andrew and his fully charged and ready-to-go car. It was interesting to learn that Andrew had started his professional career as an 18 year old employee of General Motors working on the EV-1 project. He had lots of interesting stories about that program!

In addition, he had owned not one, but two previous Chevrolet Volts, both of which were returned (voluntarily) to the auto manufacturer due to service issues. It was with some trepidation and resolve that he stepped back into the electric vehicle arena to buy a brand new model from a manufacturer who had not previously offered an electric car for public consumption.


Kia Soul EV Gets Ready To Go Out (RAV4 EV That Got Us To Test In Background)

Kia Soul EV Gets Ready To Go Out (RAV4 EV That Got Us To Test In Background)

The Range Autonomy Demonstration is a standardized test that we perform on electric vehicles, with a purpose to more accurately compare the actual range between different models of electric cars in a very common scenario; the operator needs to know how far the vehicle will really go when stretching range in a steady speed highway situation compared to other cars. The parameters are always the same: two occupants for the test, in this case, both the owner Andrew and myself. The combined total crew weight is always close to 450 pounds (205 kg), plus or minus about 10%. There is no baggage allowed. We always use the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure, which in this case is 33 psi (2.275 bar).

The ambient air temperature is always near 70F (20C), plus or minus a handful of degrees, and the wind is always light. We drive in a loop specifically to mitigate the effect of any wind that may exist. Here in sunny southern California, the wind is predominantly out of the west. We drive to maintain 62mph (100kmh) ground speed as measured by GPS. The windows are either all the way up, or one may be slightly open for ventilation. If the vehicle is equipped with cruise control, we use it. In the case of the Kia, the actual ground speed matched the indicated speed of 62mph perfectly and the car has an excellent cruise control, which we used.

The cars are always unmodified in as close to “as-new” condition as is possible, and the test is always done with the climate control off. This last issue seems the most confusing to some EV drivers. Any climate control must consume energy to heat of cool the cabin (or battery), therefore no improvements or changes to the method of providing that heating or cooling will improve ultimate range. Those heating and cooling methods will merely change the amount of range that is lost, compared to an electric vehicle with the climate control off.


If you wanted to drive the maximum range of any electric vehicle where electricity is used to heat or cool, you would turn cabin climate control off to get the maximum range. Period. Plus, for testing, there are far too many variables that affect the energy used to heat or cool a cabin. How many people are in the cabin, solar radiant heating, temperature maintained, any cabin vents that may be opened or closed, cabin preheating or cooling that was performed, etc. For all those reasons, and to provide the most accurate comparisons between the vehicles tested, we never use climate control.


Just Heading Out On The Test

Just Heading Out On The Test

Another issue that is frequently discussed in relation to range is “regen”. That is the ability of the motor on the car to become a generator and put energy back into the battery, typically during slowing, stopping, or going down a hill. Of course, our test specifically eliminates regen because we drive at a constant speed on level ground. Like climate control, there are far too many variables with regen to make a simple test viable. All electric vehicles will limit the amount of regen based on battery capacity, battery temperature, or other programmed or user selectable variables. Cars that have user selectable regen profiles include the Tesla Model S, Volkswagen e-Golf and Mercedes Benz B-Class ED.  Other cars have non-adjustable, yet strong regen profiles, like the BMW i3. Finally, some cars have a “B” or “E” mode included with the gear selector that arbitrarily increases regen by some preset amount when selected. That feature is in cars like the Nissan LEAF and Toyota RAV4 EV.

Regen is never 100% efficient. It’s not even close to 100%. If you consume the energy, you can NEVER put it back in the battery as efficiently as not consuming the power in the first place. For around the town type driving, with lots of stops and starts, it will ALWAYS be more efficient to anticipate the stops and slow-downs so that you need neither brakes nor regen. Obviously, this isn’t practical in modern cities with impatient drivers around you, so we need a way to capture that energy that would otherwise be lost to braking; regen does that.

The singular instance where regen is viable from a purely efficiency standpoint is going down a hill with either a stop at the bottom (where you could not stop without braking) or when the vehicle is going down a hill too fast and either braking is required to limit speed, or the velocity has reached a point where it is better to use regen instead of “wasting” the energy on increased aerodynamic drag at the higher speed.


The Kia Soul EV’s closest competition is the Nissan LEAF, now with over 150,000 sold worldwide, so it’s easy to make comparisons between the two. At the 100kmh ground speed we would be driving, and since both cars are nearly the same weight, I expected that the Soul EV would be very close to the historical consumption rate of the LEAF in this test, which consistently has been 4 miles per kWh (250 watts per mile) or 6.437 km per kWh (155 watts per km) without climate control.

Of course, the Nissan LEAF has a significantly smaller 24kWh battery than the Soul EV, and of that 24kWh, only about 21.3kWh is usable to propel the car. The Kia Soul EV properly advertises the size of the battery that the consumer cares about; the useable stored autonomous energy. We found that to be almost exactly 27kWh useable, which means that the actual Kia Soul EV battery size is about 30.5kWh total.

Since the Kia Soul EV battery is fully 25% larger than the LEAF, we expected a range quite close to 25% farther than the 84 – 88 miles that a LEAF can perform (when in new condition) under these parameters. That would put the Soul EV at an estimated range of 105 – 110 miles. But, there’s a problem. We know that the Kia doesn’t slip through the air quite as smoothly as the LEAF, therefore the boxy looking car’s consumption rate would be expected to be slightly below the LEAF’s 4 miles per kWh. How much below 4, we would find out.


Center Console "Heading Out" Data

Center Console “Heading Out” Data


Range autonomy in any thing that moves over land, through the sea, or in the air is always a product of autonomous stored energy (gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, nuclear “stuff”, rocket fuel, or electricity) multiplied by the consumption rate (economy) of that stored energy (miles per gallon, km per liter, tons per hour, or miles / km per kWh consumed).

So, the range in a test like ours is always:

(Usable kWh stored)* (miles / km per kWh consumption rate) = (range in miles / km)


The weather was absolutely perfect for the event with close to 70F (21C) degree weather, clear blue skies and light breezes. In short, another perfect day in southern California.

Weather between 8:53am and 11:53am at the Long Beach, California airport:
– Time — Temp. – DewPt-Pressure – Visibility-Wind Dir-Wind Speed – Gust Speed
8:53 AM — 70.0F – 62.1F – 30.04 in – 10.0 mi – northwest — 4.6 mph — N/A
9:53 AM — 73.0F – 61.0F – 30.05 in – 10.0 mi – calm ———- calm —— N/A
10:53 AM —73.9F – 62.1F – 30.05 in – 10.0 mi – variable —– 5.8 mph — N/A
11:53 AM —79.0F – 55.9F – 30.04 in – 10.0 mi – west ——-– 5.8 mph — N/A

Density Altitude Calculation

Density Altitude – 1117 feet, 340 meters
Absolute Pressure – 29.94 inches Hg, 1013hPa
Air Density – 0.074 lb/ft3, 1.185 kg/m3
Relative Density – 96.77%


Kia Soul EV Range Test Journey Hits The Highway

Kia Soul EV Range Test Journey Hits The Highway


The course selected was a 90 mile (144 km) loop that ended at the intersection of the 105 freeway eastbound and the 110 freeway southbound, just east of Hawthorne airport (home of the Tesla Design Studio and Space X), the point that I expected to be the earliest that the car may run out of power. We would then turn south on the 110 freeway, where we would drive by the starting point (where my car was waiting for me) for the shortest towing distance if the vehicle physically stopped.

Mapping It Out

Mapping It Out

All distances below per Google Maps linked above.

Walgreens Store Gardena – ChargePoint J1772 charging station
1344 W Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena, California

— 1.8 miles (2.9 km) – accumulated miles: 1.8 (2.9 km)

California 91 freeway east to Interstate 5 freeway south:

— 18.4 miles (29.4 km) – accumulated miles: 20.2 (32.3 km)

Interstate 5 freeway south to California 133 freeway south:

— 19.3 miles (30.9 km) – accumulated miles: 39.5 (63.2 km)

California 133 freeway to Interstate 405 freeway north:

— 1.0 miles (1.6 km) – accumulated miles: 40.5 (64.8 km)

Interstate 405 freeway north to 105 freeway east:

— 43.2 miles (69.1 km) – accumulated miles: 83.7 (133.9 km)

105 freeway east to 110 freeway south:

— 5.2 miles (8.3 km) – accumulated miles: 88.9 (142.3 km)

110 freeway south to Anaheim Street freeway exit:

— 10.5 miles (16.8 km) – accumulated miles: 99.4 (159 km)

Anaheim Street exit to Carl’s Jr, fast food restaurant, 1360 W 190th St, Torrance, California – Blink J1772 charging station

— 6.7 miles (10.7 km) – accumulated miles: 106.1 (169.7 km)



Trip odometer “A” was used to record miles driven. The odometer is currently reading 1.5% low compared to Google maps. As the tires get worn and ever so slightly reduced in their diameter, this will get more accurate. The speedometer was perfect compared to the two GPS’s that were used for the test, and as the tires wear, it will read slightly faster than the car is really going.

The headlights were turned off, climate control off (except fan) and tires set to 33 pounds per square inch (2.275 bars) pressure, which is the auto manufacturers recommendations. It’s likely that one or more percentage points of range could be gained by inflating the tires to the maximum recommended pressure, in exchange for a slightly less comfortable ride and possibly irregular wear on the tires.

The elevation profile of the route is nearly flat (virtually no hills of any kind), and very close to sea level. The dash display showed “98% battery” after driving 1.7 miles, however the percent was not observed at the start. Presumably, it read 100%. Finally, the “Distance to Empty” (DTE) meter, which I generally refer to as the “Guess-Oh-Meter” (GOM), was observed displaying 112 miles after having driven 1.7 miles.

We got underway at about 9:34am and finished about two hours later.


Kia Soul EV Test Results

Kia Soul EV Test Results


Amazingly, The Range Journey Ends With More Than 100 Miles In The Books For The Soul EV...And At A Functioning Blink Charger (we'll let you decide which of those two things were amazing)

Amazingly, The Range Journey Ends With More Than 100 Miles In The Books For The Soul EV…And At A Functioning Blink Charger (we’ll let you decide which of those two things were amazing)


Some Previous Real World Tests (click to enlarge)

Some Previous Real World Tests (click to enlarge)

We drove a total of 104.5 miles, however 100 miles from the odometer reading was at 62mph (100kmh). With the Google Maps correction of 1.5% added to the odometer, we will therefore award 101.5 mile (162.4 km) autonomous range at 62mph (100km) given our test parameters.

With an ending economy / consumption rate of 3.9 miles per kWh (256.4 watt hours per mile), or 6.24 km per kWh (160 watt hours per km) divided into the distance of 104.5 miles results with 26.8 kWh of usable energy consumed from the battery. Kia advertises the battery as 27kWh. For comparison, the Nissan LEAF advertises 24kWh, however that has led to confused consumers when the battery really only has 21.3kWh of usable stored energy when new.

We have not physically measured the energy consumption with external instruments, however using a common 200 – 240 volt charge station that can provide the Kia Soul EV with 30 to 32 amps, I would expect approximately 85% charger efficiency. Therefore, to recharge the car from a depleted battery to full would require approximately 32 kWh as measured from the charge station. We expect the maximum capacity of the battery to be 30.5kWh (typically the “advertised” capacity of other manufacturers).

26.8kWh * 3.9 miles per kWh = 104.5 miles total range for this test, with a correction of 1.5% increase equals 106 miles of ultimate range given these parameters.

This car is very well suited to take on the world leader in this class, the Nissan LEAF, both in range autonomy, but also in regard to a host of other small improvements (like the heated and cooled seats). I think the folks at Nissan better look over their shoulder! Congratulations to the Kia folks for a truly well done car.

Editor’s Note:  Tony is also the R&D Manager at Quick Charge Power, which has some good stuff when it comes to your electric vehicle’s charging needs

Categories: Kia

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52 Comments on "Kia Soul EV Range Autonomy Demonstration Nets More Than 100 Miles – Video"

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sounds just like a cummins 210! jk

Yes, But will they ever sell it in all states or is it really a compliance car that only a California buyer can get?
I’d love to lease one for a few years and test the AIR Cooled battery in our Phoenix heat.

Selling it already in Ontario, Canada: Richmond Hill Kia says they already sold one! Come on up to Ontario – if we have any to spare – you can get it here! 🙂

Wow, thanks for a very detailed and useful report.

Hopefully the Soul EV will be sold nationwide soon with good lease deals – and hopefully this will be the camel’s straw that sends Nissan to start offering larger battery options in MY2016.

I certainly thank Nissan for opening the flood gates to near mass market worldwide EV sales, but as the old saying goes, they just might “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory”.

I don’t know why they have let the LEAF languish largely unchanged. They should have already had an 80 mile car and a 120 mile car, and maybe a 160 mile car.

Kia is truly at the threshold to give the giant automaker (Nissan) a lesson in EV’s.

FWIW, outside of California and a select few other markets, the Leaf has little to no EV competition in its class. I don’t blame Nissan for trying to milk its investment in the Leaf with minimal changes. Every change – even small ones – is costly to implement, test, validate and bring to market (e.g. updating production lines).

That said, I fully expect Nissan to solidly leap-frog the competition when the next generation arrives. I’m sure they are working very hard to make sure the car is a hit.

The real question is, will it be too late as Nissan plans on bringing the next gen to market in spring of 2017. It could get very hard to sell the current iteration by the end of 2015, let alone through 2016. Maybe there will be an incremental change in the meantime, but there has been absolutely no indication of such from Nissan. Plenty of speculation and wishful thinking though.

Most EV drivers are happy with 80 mile range that they use for commuting. As range goes up, price go up too. And demand falls exponentially. And when they need extra miles, they can drive at 50 mph, as this test shows.
If the 120 mile car is also upgraded to cater to higher end clients, then it’s a different story.

This test means nothing to EV drivers. We have to keep 20% buffer for unknown terrains, weather and traffic conditions. And no one drives at 62 mph in CA freeways.

I’m sorry that you see no benefit (or more specifically, you volunteered everybody to join your position).

You clearly missed the entire point of the exercise. If I need or want a car that goes “X” distance on electricity, I could just guess which car might meet that need, or I could compare the available cars to each other.

The EPA does this, with test that award a value that indicates range based on a very specific test. That’s what this does. It gives the consumer another tool in cowing a car.

You might be surprised to know that I have driven almost 100,000 miles without gasoline, and without a gasoline standby engine in the car, and I find these tests very useful. So, to say that “nobody” would find this test useful is blatantly not true.

OK, Tony, I was a bit impolite to say “no value in the test”. Yes, there is some value for sure. And thanks for writing about/conducting the test. Since I drive an EV too, I go 60 mph when I really am concerned about range. It’s doable. But then, I have to drive behind giant trucks.

My main point was that, most car makers are concerned with volume sales, so they stick with most common range of 80-90 miles. And it may not be trivial to fit any size battery depending on what the buyer wants. It will be nice, if they could.

Most manufacturers don’t build 80 mile cars for “profit”. They do it because it fits in the regulatory profile. Very few manufacturers are offering Zero Emission Vehicles as a positive cash flow proposition. Quite the opposite, it’s a means to allow continued sales of autos in California and other ZEV states.

Manufacturers subject to California Air Resources Board (CARB) Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandates and vehicle used to meet that mandate, 2015 – 2017 model years:

BMW – i3
Fiat/Chrysler – 500e
Ford – Focus EV, likely hydrogen by 2018
General Motors – Spark EV, potential “200 mile Sonic EV” or hydrogen by 2018?
Honda – absolutley hydrogen
Hyundai – absolutley hydrogen
Kia – Soul EV
Mazda – Demio EV
Daimler/Mercedes – B-Class ED, Smart ED, hydrogen by 2018
Nissan – LEAF, eNV-2000
Toyota – absolutley hydrogen
Volkswagen – eGolf, hydrogen by 2018

Auto manufacturers that are NOT subject to CARB-ZEV due to their small sales in California. These additional manufacturers are required to comply with the ZEV requirements, but would be allowed to meet their obligation with Plug-In Hybrids (PHEV):

Fuji Heavy Industry (Subaru)
Jaguar Land Rover

So far there seems to be only 3 real EV makers.
all others seem to be compliance with very limited or lease only EVs.

Electric Car Guest Drive

> no one drives at 62 mph in CA freeways


I’m going to guess I’m not the only one who has, in fact, driven 62mph ground speed (typically 65mph indicated, the actual speed limit in much of California).

I’m also not the only one who has driven slower than that to extend the range. That may not be you, but it certainly has been me on many, many occasions.

Yes, I’ve driven faster, also, but those trucks don’t go much over 60mph EVER. The price of a ticket and the impact to a professional driver to go over the 55mph speed limit for trucks in California is to great.

Anyhoo, we are way off track from the actual issue at hand, which is a comparison test. There is only one speed in a one speed comparison test.

I have found that most people have no clue how fast other drivers are actually traveling, they only know their own speed and whether those cars are faster or slower. Therefore, stating that “nobody” drives at a given speed is highly suspect.

For example, I typically set my cruise control so that I am traveling the speed limit (ground speed). I find that I pass plenty of other cars, some driving considerably slower, maybe a full 10mph slower than the speed limit. By contrast, I have plenty of friends who drive 9mph over the speed limit. They are also passed by plenty of cars.

There is no such thing as “driving with the traffic” since a major (non congested) highway typically has cars traveling between -10mph and +15mph relative to the posted speed limit.

well done car? lol

“It was interesting to learn that Andrew had started his professional career as an 18 year old employee of General Motors working on the EV-1 project. He had lots of interesting stories about that program!”


Any plans to do a writeup about these “interesting stories”?

Great detailed writeup above about the Kia Soul EV’s range autonomy demo!

I don’t really think I’ll pursue writing about the EV-1 much. I think it’s more “pub banter” than mass appeal stories.

Tony, even a ‘Kit Car’ with an EV1 Appearance – would be a seller today, particularly if you put this Soul Drive Train under it! (Even hotter if a Tesla Like Drive train were under it!)

Have you ever thought about working with any of the Universities to Model (Read: ‘3D Scan’) l of their EV1 Donor vehicles for a new body with today’s materials and building systems – like FRP Sheet Molding Compounds?

That is a big project!! If somebody wanted an EV-1 type car, it would certainly be smart to start with a current car to put the body “on”. The Kia Soul EV is way too big for that.

I personally would rather build a Detroit Electric replica from pre-WW1.

Thanks for the writeup! This is certainly an interesting car. While not a huge leap over the competition, 100 miles is a solid step forward over everyone else in its class.

You’re welcome. I know the folks at Kia did many LEAF owner focus groups and they seem to have delivered almost EXACTLY what LEAF owners want in an electric car.

We certainly don’t know how much the battery degradation issue will affect this car, but I’m going to bet that they heard LOUD AND CLEAR that the Nissan LEAF issues with degradation are not acceptable.

There is a fan in the trunk / boot to circulate cabin air through the battery, so I’d recommend keeping the air conditioning on during CHAdeMO DC quick charging (I don’t even know if that’s possible, but it should be).

I liked it a lot, however, I really only drove it in one very narrowly defined regiment.

The NMC battery chemistry combined with the larger pack should mean that this car’s battery will last well, as for any given mileage a bigger pack equals less cycling.

It is a tough old chemistry as they are happy to put 100kw charging through it, which creates heat, ergo it is likely the battery has good resistance to heat.

It is the 200Wh/kg battery at the cell level which is the revolutionary thing about this car, second only to the 18650’s in the Tesla’s, and none of the other manufacturers bar Tesla think that sticking those together is really very practical for mass production.

So this is the first of a new wave of higher energy density batteries from just about everyone.

If you think the Soul EV will charge at 100kW, you might want to carefully read the charger description from previously articles.

It specifically was a “100kW” charger with a 50kW CHAdeMO capability and a 50kW CCS capability.

The Kia Soul EV will charge at up to 125 amps multiplied by about 400 volts for about 50kW maximum.

It would have been good if you had provided links if you wanted to dispute my post. However,after searching it seems that your opinion on the subject is not the only one. Here is what Bill Howland, who is well up on charging, said: ‘Oh, C’mon!! While I dislike the games everyone plays here, you guys are playing one yourself. The thing is no faster apparently at 70 kw than it is at 100 kw, but the fact that they give an accurate charging TIME absolves them. I can plug my table lamp into either a 15 or a 20 amp outlet. The table lamp will still work, amazingly. TESLA is always given a pass, saying charging happens at 130 kw or whatever, when it does not happen at that rate all the time. And the standard 10 or 20 kw never happens in the home, especially with the drop through the 14-50 plug and the inline evse. This even happens at the Authorized Tesla Service Centers, where I saw an S charging at 196-197 (the indicator kept dancing) volts @ 40 amps, meaning a charging rate of less than 8kw for a supposedly 10 kw model. I’m one of… Read more »
You quote from last month is the closest to “proof” of 100kW charging, where somebody quotes a time at 100kW, but NOWHERE have I seen a 200 amp capable CHAdeMO plug assembly. And, even if it was at 200 amps (the maximum of the CHAdeMO standard), then it would still be sub-80kW charging, and likely 70kW charging with an under 400 volt battery. Your comments: It looks like it can either power one car at 100kw using all five 20kw modules, or two, on at 50kw using 3 modules and one at 25kw using 2 modules. Whilst for the batteries in the Soul: ‘In addition, a special safety & 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. Together, the low electrical resistance battery cell, proper battery system thermal control and accurate state-of-charge calculation improve the charging performance, achieving an outstanding ‘fast charge’ time of 25 minutes (100 kW DC)… Read more »

100 miles at highway speed! I tell everyone my LEAF will do 100 miles around town, and 80 on the highway (hypermiling my butt off). But 100 miles legitimately on the highway is quite a step forward. I wonder if real-life users will be able to crack 120 miles in city driving.

There’s no hypermiling in this test. Just “straight up” freeway driving, like people do every day in the US, and elsewhere in the world.

This is my particular car and I can confirm that in urban driving it’s not at all difficult to average close to 5 miles per kWh. Multiplied by the 27 usable kWh in the pack is 135 miles of urban non-highway, no-HVAC range. Even though I’ve not drained the battery very far (aside from this test) the miles traveled versus percentage remaining tracks this range very well.

The car is an… animal.



Thanks for letting Tony beat up your car though, (=

Andrew, this got me to thinking. While the Rav4 EV is a significantly larger with a 2/3 larger battery, I don’t think it would beat the Soul EV in city driving.

Typical is 2.7 to 3 miles per kWh in town, which translates to 112 to 125 city miles. That’s with no heater.

On the highway, yes, the Rav4 EV will really get its second wind with 3.4 miles per kWh at 65mph, or about 142 miles total range.

Other than the Leaf, have you performed any Range Autonomy Demonstrations with other EV’s? If so, where are your results posted? Do you plan to perform such demonstrations with other EV’s (e.g., i-MiEV, i3)?

We started and developed the range protocol for the LEAF, when it was apparent in summer 2012 that the batteries were not doing so well in heat.

The was posted right here at InsideEVs.

We did follow up tests on other LEAF’s, primarily the new 2013 LEAf to determine if it had longer range. It didn’t.

Then, we tested the Spark EV, which isn’t very far behind the Soul. The Spark EV is physically a tiny car, and for 2015, the GM folks have decided to make the battery smaller (and likely cheaper). Of course, that will very likely diminish the range significantly, counter to GM’s claims. So, we will drive the 2015 Spark EV.

You can see the results of some of these tests in this chart:

and via this link:

We will test the Mercedes B-Class ED next, and probably the BMW i3 and Fiat 500e.

… and, of course, I’ve tested the Rav4 EV. I just never wrote an article about it:

3.4 miles per kWh * 41.8kWh useable = 142 miles range

The more kWh you put in the farther you go… Nothing new! The soul isn’t really an efficient car.

Humm… 3.9 miles/kWh at 62 MPH not efficient?
As Andrew notes in urban (40-45 MPH est) he states ~5 miles/ kWh.

A lot depends what you’re comparing Soul’s efficiency to … other vehicles, other drivers, different driving conditions. Context matters. 😉

Sorry… Isn’t more efficient than actual BEV.

Well, at least Hyundai/KIA is working on both EVs and FCVs instead of Toyota’s apparently FCV only approach.

The Kia looks to be a good value too. (All after $10k in CA rebates.)

Nissan Leaf – 84 miles $19,200
Kia Soul – 102 miles $23,700
Toyota RAV4 – 136 miles (EPA is 103 miles) $39,800
Tesla Model S 60 – 208 miles $61,000

If you get a RAV4 EV before they’re gone, Toyota will kick in an additional $10,000 to your lease deal.

Total Lease Incentives:
Toyota: $17,500 (includes $7,500 Fed Tax Credit)
CA Rebate: $2,500

It is also very easy to negotiate the top line down below $49,000. So, your number should be $29,000 for the RAV4 EV.

The Soul does look like a pretty good value…

But the best value at the moment is probably the Focus Electric. They can be had for less than 15k, post incentives. That’s less than a similarly equipped ICE version. As long as you can get enough miles in before it becomes an orphan after the 8 year battery warranty expires.

I would lease one TODAY if they were available in Minnesota… unfortunately they will not be available here until next summer according to the dealers I checked in with 🙁

If this car gets a 100 miles on a charge doing 62 miles on hour at expressway speeds this car could meet 78% of my driving needs. If they add a localized system of DC quick chargers this could meet a 100% of my needs.

There is one thing I’m wondering is would it be possible to take out the i-miev crap low range battery and drop in one of these 27 kilowatt beasts. In that the i-miev’s battery is half the energy density of the Kia’s new 200 kilowatt monster.

Tony’s range tests are always interesting. Doing them in SoCal is great because of the (usually)temperate weather and then driving flat as he does eliminate a lot of the variables related to terrain and regeneration on the way down from hills, etc. I am curious to see(assuming that this car is eventually released nationwide)how it performs in the colder locations. In particular, how the heating system functions, does it really heat the car adequately without causing a major hit on the car’s range? Seems like it just might. Someone else mentioned that Nissan is going to have to up their game, and it seems so. But also, something tells me that Nissan is looking beyond this and aiming to get that 125-150 mile battery ready for market. If so, those 82 mile LEAF cars will hardly be obsolete, but they will need to be significantly discounted. I could use an 82 mile LEAF as an adjunct to my Volt. It would work great in my situation.

The owner mentioned a thermal management system as one of the reasons for purchasing the Soul. Kia’s webpage doesn’t provide details of this. What exactly is the Soul’s thermal management system? From what I have read elsewhere it is not liquid cooled as some of the other EVs are (Ford Focus, Spark EV, Tesla I believe). Living in California’s Central Valley where 100+ summer days are common, and having to park in a lot in the sun without shade, I am concerned that there could be a yet unknown problem as there was for the Leaf in the desert Southwest.

Owner here. It has a basic air cooled setup where the car draws cabin air from under the front seats across the battery pack and exhausts it outside the car.

Provided one has the cabin set to a comfy temperature, the batteries are likely to stay cooler than in a Leaf (sealed box). Batteries take a long time to change temperature so my take is that median temps between cooling events will be quite a bit lower than in a Leaf (the other car I was considering).

Time will tell, but I’ll take cabin air cooling over a sealed box any day. GM really nailed it with their liquid cooling though, to their credit. My Volt had zero degradation as far as I could tell after nearly 35,000 miles.

Liquid cooling is still the best way to do this, but all batteries degrade just with time. Manufacturers like GM hide that degradation “in the margins”. Toyota has a composite of this strategy on the Rav4 EV, where as the very advanced Tesla battery in the Rav4 EV degrades, the car automatically adjusts to charge more into the “extended” part of the charge. That means that a normal charge for a new Rav4 EV is about 83% as reported by the Tesla BMS automation. But, with our earliest Rav4 EV, with about 14% degradation, the car now charges to about 91%. Note that half of the degradation is present in a normal charge (14% loss of capacity is offset by 7% gain in normal charging, or about 2:1 ratio), but a full “extended” charge will still be to near 100%. That means the 14% total degradation is only available to the end user during the less frequent “extended” charge. The GM Volt/Ampera does not have this “extended” charging option, and instead, all the degradation up to about 20% can be hidden. After that, of course, you will see range reduction, however that should be near 100,000 miles on the car… Read more »

Hi Tony, nice article, thanks.

I’m curious about your statement that said “Manufacturers like GM hide that degradation “in the margins”.” Do you have proof. The reason I ask is as a 3 year Volt owner, I’ve yet to see any degradation whatsoever here in the Phoenix area. Also everything I’ve read says that GM does NOT alter the unsaleable capacity (shift or widen the usable window) as the batteries degrade. Actually from what I’ve read, primarily on, this has not and will not ever happen. Any info you can provide to the contrary would be quite interesting. Many Volt owners are listing 🙂

All batteries degrade, and the chemistry that GM used in the Volt is the same that Nissan used in the LEAF.

If Volt owners want to believe they have “super cells”, that’s fine. I have no desire to disprove them.

Thanks Andrew.

Tony, in your limited driving of the Soul EV, how did you like it compared to your RAV EV?

Darren, they are totally different types of cars, but I like them both.

I would absolutely chose the Soul EV over a LEAF, however.

Wow!! How is it possible? EPA range is 93 miles and I always thought that’s a pretty accurate value. But you’ve just crush it. How do you did it?