Kia 2015 Soul EV Starts Production

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Kia began volume production of the 2015 Soul EV hatchback this month. The Korean company plans to export the Soul EV worldwide.

At the heart of the Kia Soul EV is a 192-cell, 27 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and an official European-rated range of 131 miles. Using a 6.6 kW AC charger, Kia quotes a recharging time of "up to five hours". However, with a 100 kW fast charger an 80 percent juice-up takes around 25 minutes, extending to 33 minutes using a 50 kW DC charger.

Kia says the Soul's 200 Wh/kg battery cell energy density is an industry leading power-pack. Power output is similar to the Leaf, with an 81.4 kW -- 109 horsepower providing 210 pounds feet torque -- electric motor driving the front wheels. Acceleration and top speed also mirror the Leaf's figures, at 11.2 seconds to 62 mph and 90 mph flat-out

Production is now underway at Kia's Gwangju facility in Korea, with estimated annual production of 5,000 units. Kia has pushed the use of bio-plastics in the car's construction, and bio-based organic carbon content to replace some fossil-fuel plastics and synthetic equivalents. Materials and paint also have antibacterial qualities. European sales are slated to begin in late 2014, and Kia's most recent word on U.S. sales puts the car's release date some time between July and September.

Pricing has yet to be announced.

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