Kia Motors Corp. said it is developing an electric version of the Kia Soul for the U.S. market.
The Kia Soul EV – the automaker's first all-electric vehicle marketed outside of Korea – is scheduled to go on sale in 2014.
"Although it is Kia's first globally sold all-electric vehicle, the Soul EV is our second-generation battery-electric vehicle and significantly benefits from the in-depth knowledge gained during development of the Ray EV sold in Korea", said Orth Hedrick, Kia Motors America's executive director of product planning.
The Soul EV takes its design cues from the recently launched second-generation battery-electric Kia Soul, according to the automaker. Equipped with a high-capacity 27-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion polymer battery pack, the Soul EV is expected to offer a driving range of more than 120 miles on a single charge.
The vehicle will take the energy generated while the car is coasting and braking and recycle it back into the battery, according to Kia.
Drivers will be able to recharge the Soul EV by plugging into any standard electrical outlet. Recharging times are up to five hours for a fully depleted battery using a standard 240-volt outlet, or 25 minutes on 'fast' charge with 100-kilowatt output, according to the automaker.
'True to the Soul's Fun-to-Drive Reputation'
The front-wheel-drive Soul EV prototype test cars are built on modified versions of the 2014 Kia Soul and are powered by a 109-horsepower electric motor, producing 210 pound-feet of torque. The motor delivers its power to the front wheels through a single-speed constant-ratio gear-reduction unit.
Accelerating from 0 to 62 mph in less than 12 seconds with a top speed approaching 90 mph, "the Soul EV promises to remain true to the Soul's fun-to-drive reputation," Kia Motors said in a news release.
For the benefit of pedestrian safety, the Soul EV will be equipped with a virtual engine sound system that emits an audio alert at speeds below 12 mph and whenever the car is in reverse.
When it goes on sale in 2014, the Soul EV will offer projection-type headlamps, LED positioning lamps, LED rear combination lamps and aerodynamically shaped 16-inch alloy wheels.
"In keeping with its eco-friendly ethos, the interior components and trim will use an increased range of recycled materials including bio-plastic, bio-foam, bio-fabric and bio-PET felt, together with low-volatility organic compounds and newly developed antibacterial materials and paint," the automaker said.
In 2012, Kia Motors America sold more than 500,000 vehicles for the first time. The automaker has an assembly plant in West Point, Ga.