Kia Testing World’s First Driver-Only Ventilation System For Soul EV in Extreme Winter

FEB 15 2014 BY MARK KANE 18

Kia Soul EV in extreme winter testing

Kia Soul EV in extreme winter testing

Kia announced that it’s finalizing development of the Soul EV and is testing several innovative new drivetrain and on-board technologies somewhere in the Lapland region of Sweden. (update)

Lapland is right place for tests if an automaker wants to check how something functions at -35°C.

In the case of Kia, one of the main reasons it’s in Finland is to test a new energy-saving heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems.

“The primary focus for the vehicle’s validation test in Swedish Lapland is the introduction of all-new Kia heating and ventilation technologies. These include a world-first driver-only ventilation system that improves the efficiency of the batteries and increases the vehicle’s overall driving range.

Hmm… it seems that to conserve energy, not only will lightweight materials and heat pumps be used, but even special driver-only ventilation systems can be used instead of enlarging the battery pack, which is the most expensive single part of the vehicle.

Since vehicles are most often driven with only the driver on board, the system makes perfect sense to us.

Kia Soul EV in extreme winter testing

Kia Soul EV in extreme winter testing

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18 Comments on "Kia Testing World’s First Driver-Only Ventilation System For Soul EV in Extreme Winter"

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I am amazed that methods of heating have been so poorly addressed by EVs. If someone said, we can make an adjustment to the chemistry of the battery to improve winter range by 20% it would make world headlines. A decade from now, the methods of heating all EVs will have completely changed. This is one step in the right direction.

Are you shore they arent in Sweden?
they normaly test cars in Swedish Lapland.

Yes..yes it should be. Thanks! /fixed

I appreciate the innovation they are bringing here, but this doesn’t really help much. The Leaf’s heated seats / steering wheel are enough for me when I’m alone. The only problem I have is that the windshield fogs up.

“Since vehicles are most often driven with only the driver on board, the system makes perfect sense to us.”

While this may or may not be true, I typically need much more range when the car is loaded with kids in car seats than when I’m driving alone. Heated seats don’t help the kids, and a heat pump doesn’t really help in sub-zero temperatures. Maybe a low-tech solution like better cabin insulation? And again, some efficient means to keep the windows clear.

The solution in the Volvo C30 electric is multiple ways of heating but the main heating when driving during the winter being an ethanol heater.

Heating with electricity is (almost) always a poor solution.

The Volvo C30’s’s ethanol heater is a great solution. I wish other EV makers would see the light and adopt it for their vehicles.

A fuel heater? What a brilliant concept. Too bad the purist rules at CARB penalize such efficiency. In the 90s, many EVs had fuel heaters on board. I would be comfortable with something like an ethanol heater -at least as an option- in my BEV.

Some heat pump can be very efficient at much lower temperature, but is it the case here?

Why don’t heated seats help your kids? My co-worker’s kids are just fine with heated seats. He bought aftermarket rear seat heaters from


Well what is the difference of just opening the drivers vents only? They need some kind of infrared heater in the dash panel above the drivers legs.. And possibly in the door panels.

You want the warm air to stay at the drivers area and not get simply blasted over the driver and then spreading all over in the car. The air must be blown in a way that it creates a vortex around the driver.

What is the policy for pointing to stories? For instance there is a new video on Tesla at the Motley Fool.

I think this is to us? We have no policy, lol. You can link to whatever you like…we are breezy like that. If somebody has some interesting stuff, then everyone should know regardless of source.

If we can embed the video here we’ll do that too, (=

“…we are breezy like that.”

I had to look it up, because it didn’t know “breezy” had more than one meaning. Hopefully, you’re referring to definition #5, and not definitions #1 to #4. 🙂

You learn something new everyday reading InsideEVS!

/hip like that, (=

Electric Heat and batteries don’t mix, at least at several hundred $ per kwh. IN my area, ev’s go from being inexpensive to run in the spring and fall, to much more expensive than gasoline cars during our winters.

Heat pumps help in moderate climates, unfortunately where I am the climate is not moderate and heat pumps’ coefficient of performance (COP) drops to 1 or lower, with the plain old electric heat already having a COP of 1.

Big Transit Busses running as ev’s solve this problem by having propane fired condensing heaters. Any waste heat from the already 95% efficient heaters can now be used to warm the batteries ‘for free’. All the precious juice goes into to running a few L.E.D.’s or pushing the vehicle down the road for a full days worth of travel (successfully), and with no infrastructure needed other than a moderately sized charger back at the depot for after midnight charging.

The “CleanCities” group says this is “environmentally friendly”, and naysayers can’t say anything against it since the ‘cleancities’ group has so much prestige.

I know that there is a NJ I-MiEv driver who modiifed a diesel heater to heat his car. Is this not safe? If it is safe, why haven’t the various EV mfgrs instituted this system, or one like it(such as the ethanol based system)? As Bill mentioned, EV’s go from cheap to run to expensive to run in the winter in the NE. Or, they go from very comfortable to very uncomfortable if you don’t use heat unless absolutely necesssary(which is, sadly, how I do it). It’s a big enough of an issue that it has me rethinking if I want to stay in an EV when the lesase is up on mine. Seems hard for me to believe that this is not an easily solved problem. Bigger batteries, yes, they will do the trick. But they are not happeing for most of us for quite some time(those of us who cannot afford an 85KW battery).