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First Drive: 2017 Kia Soul EV

Zippy performance overrides limited range.

by on May.25, 2017

The 2017 Kia Soul EV provides plenty of oomph to get around town while keeping its popular exterior design.

Driving a pure battery electric vehicle in the heartland can be a challenge.

But after a spending a week with the 2017 Kia Soul in around and around Detroit, I found it could be done with a little bit of planning and forethought.

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For starters, I enjoyed driving the Kia Soul. The electric motor is fitted into the shape of the gasoline version of the Kia Soul, which has become popular in recent years and is consistently one of the South Korean-brands most popular and best-selling models. (more…)

Kia Unveils Korea’s First Battery Car

Ray EV gets 86 miles per charge and outperforms gas model.

by on Dec.22, 2011

The Kia Ray EV is Korea's first battery car.

Kia has charged out Korea’s first full battery-electric vehicle, a city car dubbed the Ray EV.

A virtual clone of one of the Asian maker’s conventionally powered multi-purpose minicars, the lithium-ion-powered Ray EV will get about 86 miles per charge, the maker says.  And, significantly, it will outperform the gas-powered 5-door.

Like its sibling Hyundai, Kia has been slow to embrace battery power, only recently introducing its first hybrid in the key U.S. market, a version of the midsize Optima sedan.  But both Korean brands have announced plans to aggressively expand their electrified offerings, with an array of conventional hybrids, plug-ins and full battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, under development.

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The Kia Ray EV uses a 16.4 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion polymer pack – about the same size as the larger Chevrolet Volt, and a third smaller than the battery pack in the Nissan Leaf.  It powers a 50kW, or 67 horsepower, electric motor which turns out 123 lb-ft of torque.


First Look: Kia Naimo

A battery car for squares?

by on Mar.31, 2011

Naimo, Kia's third battery car concept, adopts the square shape familiar to fans of the Soul.

A first look at the new Naimo concept vehicle and you might think you’re looking at the next-generation Kia Soul.  They do share some basics, including the hard-edged new prototype its name, Naimo derived from the Korean word for “square shape.”

But with its pottery-like finish, the new Kia Naimo is the latest in a string of battery-powered prototypes from the Korean carmaker, this one making its debut today at the annual Seoul Motor Show.  As with many recent electric vehicles, Kia’s concept targets an urban market where today’s relatively limited batteries won’t produce excess range anxiety.

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A relatively simple design nonetheless boasts some distinctive features, including a wraparound windshield and an unusual, asymmetric sunroof.  The front and rear LED lamps use a dot-like design.

Though it sits on a modest B-segment platform, Kia targeted a more upscale market for the Naimo, offering a Korean oak-laden interior contrasted by the use of a classic Korean paper-finished headliner.