Today, Kia Motors announced that production for export of the 2015 Soul EV commenced.  For Kia, this is a "landmark" event in the automaker's history, as the Soul EV is Kia's first-ever mass-produced electric vehicle and only EV to be sold to date outside of South Korea:

Kia Soul EV Winter Testing

Kia Soul EV Winter Testing

Start of production for all-electric Kia Soul EV

  • Volume production of Soul EV for export is a landmark in Kia’s history

  • Ideal for commuters, Soul EV goes on sale outside Korea later in 2014

  • Class-leading drive range of 212 km certified for Europe

  • 81.4 kW motor produces 285 Nm of torque for ‘fun-to-drive’ motoring

The Soul EV is currently on sale in South Korea.  The first export Soul EVs will go to "select European countries" and then "across the continent" in the second half of 2014 (so, really soon).

Annual output at the site of production (Kia’s Gwangju facility in South Korea) is only 5,000 units for the Soul EV, so we don't expect to see high-volume sales in any one country.  However, the US is expected to be the largest market for the Soul EV.

Kia Soul EV Charging Inlets

Kia Soul EV Charging Inlets

The 2015 Soul EV should arrive in the US by year's end, but the rollout will be limited:

 “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.”

Additionally, Automotive News previously reported the following:

“Kia hasn’t announced U.S. pricing. In South Korea, the Soul EV stickers for 42.5 million won, or about $41,300 at current exchange rates. But incentives of as much as $22,350 cut the cost by more than half.”

“The battery accounts for 40 percent of the Soul EV’s total cost.”

Inside the Kia Soul EV

Inside the Kia Soul EV

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 - NEDC range of 212 km
    • 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 11.2 seconds
    • Top speed of 90 MPH
    • Projection type headlamps
    • LED positioning lamps
    • LED rear combination lamps
    • Aerodynamically shaped 16-inch alloy wheels.

Full Kia Motors press release below:

Frankfurt, 12 June 2014 – Kia Motors has begun volume production of its new all-electric Kia Soul EV for export sales. A landmark in Kia’s history, the zero-emissions Soul EV is Kia’s first electric vehicle to be marketed by the company outside Korea.

The first vehicles off the production line are destined for select European countries and are scheduled to go on sale across the continent during the second half of the year. The Soul EV is manufactured at Kia’s Gwangju facility in Korea, where annual output of the electric car is planned to reach 5,000 units.

“Now that production of export models has begun, the new Soul EV is truly at the forefront of Kia’s ‘Clean Mobility’ program, providing environmentally-friendly transport to our customers around the world,” comments Thomas Oh, Executive Vice President and COO, Kia Motors Corporation.

“Although it is Kia’s first globally-sold all-electric vehicle, the Soul EV is our second-generation battery electric vehicle and benefits significantly from our in-depth experience gained from development of the Ray EV and proven daily operations of the Ray EV fleet in Korea for the past three years.”

Embodying the iconic design language of the second-generation Kia Soul, the Soul EV is a uniquely designed battery electric vehicle perfectly suited for city commuters thanks to its class-leading drive range, a spacious cabin and generous cargo area.

Featuring a high-capacity 192-cell 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, the Soul EV’s 212 km drive range is now certified for Europe. Behind the Soul EV’s outstanding drive range are industry-leading 200 Wh/kg cell energy density and a number of state-of-the art energy-saving features, such as the new heat pump, smart air intake control system and a new individual ventilation system, which ensure maximum driving range without losing energy for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC). The Soul EV also employs regenerative braking to capture and recycle kinetic energy generated while the car is coasting and braking.

Power comes from an 81.4 kW (110 ps) electric motor, producing a generous and instantly available 285 Nm (29kgm) of torque and driving the front wheels via a single speed constant ratio gear reduction unit. Ensuring that the Soul EV retains all the ‘fun-to-drive’ character of the regular Soul, rapid acceleration to 100 kph (62 mph) is predicted to take 11.2 seconds, while top speed is in the region of 145 kph (90 mph).

The pack is mounted beneath the cabin, ensuring a low centre of gravity and contributing to the car’s accomplished ride, handling and refinement, plus more mature and composed on-road behaviour.

Charging is accomplished by plugging the Soul EV into any standard household electricity supply. Recharging times are up to five hours for a fully depleted battery using a 6.6 kW AC slow charger. An 80 percent charge can be achieved in as little as 25 minutes with a 100 kW or 33 minutes at 50 kW DC charger (if available).

The new Soul EV has achieved the world automotive industry’s first UL Environment Validation for containing bio-based plastic of 23,942g and bio-based organic carbon content of 10%. The range of recycled interior materials in the Soul EV include Bio Plastic, Bio Foam, Bio Fabric and Bio PET Felt, together with low volatile organic compounds and newly developed antibacterial materials and paint.