Tested – BMW i3s vs Kia Soul EV vs Renault ZOE

JUN 23 2018 BY MARK KANE 13

Auto Trader, which describes itself as the UK’s biggest, best and most trusted car-buying website, recently tested three electric cars – BMW i3s, Kia Soul EV and Renault ZOE.

In the overview, that could help one decide which city car to choose, Renault ZOE was considered the best because of its longest-range (real-world up to 300 km / 186 miles) and affordability.

The BMW i3s was also appreciated for its performance and standard equipment, but that comes at a price. In case of the Kia Soul EV, there were less advantages so it placed third.

  • #1 Renault ZOE: Affordable, Stylish & good to drive, Decent electric range
  • #2 BMW i3s: Sharp handling & performance, Plenty of standard equipment, More expensive than other EVs
  • #3 Kia Soul EV: Relaxed, comfortable drive, Kia’s seven-year warranty, Low potential resale value

BMW i3s vs Kia Soul EV vs Renault ZOE (Source: Auto Trader)

We note that the video could mislead you though because it shows the fast charging times to 80% of battery capacity of each car (60-minutes for ZOE, 33-minutes for Soul EV and 40-minutes for BMW i3s), and connecting the cars to AC charging stations. Well, only ZOE is using AC for fast charging at 22 kW three-phase.

The two other cars need a DC fast charger (50 kW) so don’t expect such short charging times while plugging-in to the stations shown in the video (i3S and Soul EV require several hours to charge from an AC charging station).

“Racing driver Vicki Butler-Henderson, Millennial Rachael Hogg, and mum Erin Baker (REV!) are testing three of the UK’s most popular electric cars, based on how people search for them at Auto Trader.

They’re looking at how easily they can fit into your lifestyle, covering practicality, connectivity, and ride and handling. And because they’re EVs, charging time, range, and the perils of range anxiety.”

Categories: BMW, Kia, Renault, Videos

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13 Comments on "Tested – BMW i3s vs Kia Soul EV vs Renault ZOE"

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“Well, only ZOE is using AC for fast charging at 22 kW three-phase.”
According to the pricelist I found, a i3(s) got 11kW 3phase Typ2 if you got CCS (all part of one package). So the Zoe is not the only vehicle in that test with 3phase Typ2 (I understood that sentence in that way). And fast charging is for me at least 40-50kW…

“Kia’s seven-year warranty” – an advantage?!
According to the Zoe pricelist I got here, you can buy a warranty extension up to 6 years/100Mm (beside of the longer warranty on motor/battery/etc.). So Kia forces you to spend that money resp. forces you to their garages if you don’t want to loose that warranty (AFAIK there’s just an EU rules for the first two years where you can go to other garages). Maybe it’s cheaper at the end if you’re going to other garages.


Well, Zoe is also available with 43kW AC charging.

The Renault Zoe has two versions, a 22 kW and a 43 kW AC fast charging option.

As I understand the tiering of Charging,it goes,Slow-Fast-Rapid.The 43kW (Rapid charging) capable Zoe (Q Spec) can seamlessly use all 3 modes. No other EV has this “Chameleon” capability.
The R Spec has Chameleon capability up to 22kW. Other cars can use AC 3 phase,but at lower levels. While to a Leaf,only charging on AC at 6.6kw,a 22kW charger is perceived “Slow”.Hook up a Zoe,and it’s Fast. I understand only Zoe can make use of the full AC output up to it’s inbuilt limit.

I’d rank the kia 1, the i3 2 and the Zoe third. Kia is a decent car and has fast charging at ccs. I3 is unpractical and zoe has charging more than half as slow as kia.

Well, at least here it’s more likely/cheaper to have a 22kW Typ2 wall-box (incl. a suited power line to the house) at home than >=20kW CCS/Chademo (wall-box is much more expensive and more additional power is often a problem with usual power lines to houses).
And in some areas Chademo is a significant disadvantage when charging at public chargers…


Why would you ever have 22kW charging at home? You have all night to recharge. People drive on average like 30 miles which can be recharged over night with 2kW. Why over dimension the charging with a factor 10?

Be very careful of the KIA SOUL EV. I leased one and the battery pack failed. All 16 in my area of the Greater Phoenix HOT area had battery failures. Ours also shut down twice as my wife drove home in traffic at about 10 miles. It took KIA over a month to test and replace the battery pack. They have also had a lot of failures in Georgia the all over the HOT South.

They have also had a lot of OBC On Board Charger failures all over the USA. It seems to take them months to get replacement parts. It’s a very unsafe car. Until they add liquid cooling for Battery Thermal Management don’t take a chance.

Be aware than Phoenix gets so hot they have to cancel some types of commercial flights!…your experiences may vary.

MY Soul EV has lost ONE mile of range in almost 10k miles, and is otherwise flawless.

Well with the range extender, the i3 would be far be the most capable of a long trip into areas without a charging infrastructure. On the other hand without the range extender, you could save $3000 and save the equivalent weight of carrying 2 extra passengers.

The BMW would also be the fastest and the most fun, possibly the most efficient too if you chose to drive it that way. ( Carbon Fiber Body, aluminum battery tray. )

All that Korean Hyundai need to do of course – if they really wanted consumers worldwide to be Sold on the Soul – is to contact Korea-based LG(or even Samsung) and ask ’em to equip the Soul with a Zoe or Bolt-like battery pack. Get the Soul’s range up to or beyond 200 miles – and suddenly the Soul would be topping the charts – and frequently souled out – worldwide. It ain’t rocket or socket science – Kia clearly just don’t wanna see a global EV chart-topper in their line-up until 2020 at the earliest.
Paul G

Reading the comments particularly, it is easy to see why people are scared of EV charging. Chargers work all sorts of ways, with different cars, the same car can be bought with different charging capabilities, fast chargers might be slow for a particular car etc. And that’s without considering the numerous different types of plug, the different membership schemes with their Apps and Cards etc.
So much easier to just Go Tesla.