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2015 Kia Soul EV + Update 4: It's Getting Easier to be Green

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/30/2016 Motor Trend Staff, Kelly Pleskot
2015 Kia Soul EV + Update 4: It's Getting Easier to be Green

Our Kia Soul EV had big shoes to fill when we first took stock of it several months ago. After our long-term Tesla Model S P85+ returned home, we wanted our hands on another electric vehicle. Yes, it's comparing apples and oranges. But excluding Teslas, the Kia Soul EV had the longest range offered by any electric vehicle on the market at the time (until the Nissan Leaf stole its thunder with an improved battery option).
The Kia's 93-mile range has proven plenty sufficient for my 54-mile round trip to and from work. After charging up in MT's vehicle studio during the day, I drive the car home and often end up with an 80 percent charge by the end of the stop-and-go 27-mile commute back. How much you use the AC, however, can have a big impact on range.

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I've noticed other benefits, including the car's effortless acceleration without shifts. Compared to the gas-powered Kia Soul, the EV provides more torque and less cabin vibration for a more enjoyable driving experience. About 20 percent of the car's weight is under the floor, giving the eco-box a low center of gravity and a more planted feel.
The interior has held up well during its stay, even the plastic bits covering the gearshift and infotainment screen. The seats have proven durable and comfortable, though they're a bit firm. A few quirks in the cabin have become more noticeable with time. Although the infotainment screen is responsive to touch and features crisp graphics, I sometimes find myself in heavy traffic even though the roads appear green on the map. And I get a good laugh when I click "nearby charging stations" on the touchscreen and it suggests the nearest Tesla Supercharger. Continuing the green trend, the Soul EV has a climate-control system that uses 27 percent less energy than traditional AC, Kia says. Its efficiency is possible thanks to a heat pump setup that captures waste heat from the electronics. It feels slightly less powerful than climate-control systems in other vehicles. MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image


I'm just about the opposite of the Kia Soul EV's target audience: 45 to 55 years old, high-earning, techy, eco-oriented, and often with two or three other cars, and 70 percent of buyers are male. But I definitely see the purpose of the vehicle; the top benefits for me are the quiet ride, freedom from gas stations, use of the carpool lane, and manageable range. And as compelling rivals such as the Chevrolet Bolt arrive with a claimed 200 miles of range, Kia says it's preparing its own offensive. It's investing $10.2 billion in powertrain technology, including efficient combustion engines, EVs, plug-in hybrids, and even a fuel cell by 2020.
More on the 2015 Kia Soul EV + here:

2015-Kia-Soul-EV-plus-front-three-quarter-in-motion-07© Provided by MotorTrend 2015-Kia-Soul-EV-plus-front-three-quarter-in-motion-07
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