The new Kia e-Soul, their third globally-sold electric vehicle makes its European debut at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show next month. It is produced at Kia’s Gwangju manufacturing facility in Korea and goes on-sale in selected European markets from the end of Q1 2019, with pricing announced closer to the start of sales.
In its third generation, Kia’s urban crossover e-Soul will be powered in Europe exclusively by electric energy, with a choice of two long-range, zero-emissions powertrains. Electrified models accounted for one in eight Kia cars sold in Europe in 2018, up from one in 10 in 2017, and the new e-Soul will further build on this momentum.
The e-Soul promises value for money, a roomy interior for five occupants, and high levels of space and versatility. Like all Kia models, the new e-Soul will be sold as standard in Europe with Kia’s 7-Year, 150,000-kilometre warranty, which also covers the car’s electric motor and battery pack.
Every exterior panel on the e-Soul is new, but is recognisable by staying true to its boxy origins. Its urban crossover design has been enhanced with full-LED headlamps integrated into the upper ‘brow’, which extends across the front of the 1,800-mm wide car. The front and rear bumpers, and a solid panel in place of a grille, give it a smooth, aerodynamic appearance. The charging socket is housed behind a small panel at the front of the car. Strake-style LED foglamps beneath the headlights replace the round lamps found on the previous Soul EV.
At 4,195 mm in length, the new e-Soul is 55 mm longer than the car it replaces – with a 2,600-mm wheelbase (+30 mm) and a 15-mm longer front overhang. The windows taper towards the rear of the car, with a fin-shaped rear pillar replacing what was previously a sharp angle at the base of the rear windows. The shape of the glasshouse draws the eyes along the side of the car as the bodywork kicks up towards the roof, ending in a matte black panel bearing the Soul name. The e-Soul is finished with a unique five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheel design.
At the rear, the ‘island’ of bodywork in the tailgate remains. Surrounded by gloss black, this panel takes on a more rounded, modern shape for the new model, and sits atop restyled rear bumpers, with new wraparound LED combination lamps.
The new e-Soul is available in a choice of seven single-tone paint finishes and seven two-tone combinations, mixing bright body colours with metallic shades for the roof and door mirror caps.
European customers can also specify an optional SUV Pack, which elevates the design of the e-Soul with the addition of bolder wheel arch and side sill cladding, as well as a skid plate on the base of the front bumpers.
The e-Soul’s interior space is finished with acoustic-inspired shapes and textures, retaining the signature ‘tweeter’ speakers which bookend the dashboard, a feature of the previous-generation Soul.
The e-Soul’s cabin can be finished in a range of single- or two-tone colour schemes, with a choice of fabric and synthetic or real leather, depending on market and vehicle specification. Colour and trim schemes include single-tone black or two-tone grey cloth (light and dark grey) with pearl-style door trim.
The interior is also available with black or grey cloth, cloth and synthetic leather, or real leather upholstery, with light grey contrast stitching and metallic-painted door trim. Models finished in black cloth are also available with optional Green or Gold Packs, which add gold or green contrast stitching and door trim. A Red Pack is available to accompany the black leather interior, adding sporty red stitching and door trim.
The cabin is fitted with an optional Sound Mood Lighting system, emitting soft light from panels in the doors. This also includes a unique 3D-patterned surface on the upper door panels. The Sound Mood Lighting system pulses in time the beat of music playing through the audio system, with eight customisable colours and six themes illuminating the cabin.
The car is also available with a wireless phone charger at the base of the dashboard, heated and ventilated front seats, and a premium Harman Kardon sound system. An available Head-Up Display system unobtrusively projects relevant driving information on to a small glass panel behind the steering wheel – such as turn-by-turn navigation directions and vehicle speed information.
The new Kia e-Soul will be sold in Europe exclusively as an electric vehicle, with a choice of two fully-electric, zero-emission powertrains to meet the needs and budgets of different customers.
Drivers have a choice of long-range (64kWh) and standard-range (39.2 kWh) powertrains. Whichever version a buyer chooses, both variants offer vastly improved range over the outgoing Soul EV. On-road performance is also enhanced, with significantly more powerful electric motors providing 395 Nm of torque – 39% more than before.
Kia’s new-generation lithium-ion polymer battery packs offer cell energy density of 250Wh/kg, achieved through new cell chemistry, enable the cells to store 25% more energy within a defined volume than those of the 200 Wh/kg battery pack in the outgoing Soul EV. This has enabled Kia to keep the battery pack as compact and lightweight as possible, while taking a huge leap in the car’s zero-emissions driving range compared to its predecessor.
The long-range 64kWh battery pack is paired with a 150kW (204ps) electric motor, enabling the e-Soul to travel up to 452 kilometres (280 miles) on a single charge (on the WLTP combined cycle).
Energy consumption for the 64kWh battery pack is 157Wh / km on the WLTP combined cycle. Energy consumption for the long-range e-Soul is as low as 109Wh/km in urban environments (WLTP urban cycle).
With the powertrain’s maximum 395Nm torque available from a standstill, this is 84% more power than the car it replaces.
The standard-range 39.2kWh battery pack powers a 100 kW (136ps) electric motor. With peak torque of 395Nm, and 23% more power than the outgoing Soul EV, the significantly improved efficiency of the battery nevertheless enables the standard-range e-Soul to travel up to 277 kilometres (172 miles) on a single charge. Energy efficiency is rated at 145Wh/km (WLTP combined).
A Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast charger is fitted as standard to both models, enabling shorter stops for charging. Both battery packs can be recharged from 20% up to 80% capacity in 42 minutes from a 100kW DC fast-charger.
The e-Soul is fitted with a range of energy-recuperation technologies to maximise driving range. This includes Kia’s energy efficient heat pump system, which scavenges waste heat from the car’s coolant system. It also features Kia’s individual ventilation and air conditioning system, which shuts off cabin ventilation at the source to all seats except the drivers.
The 2019 e-Soul is also equipped as standard with Kia’s regenerative braking system, operated by paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. The system provides drivers with the ability to slow the car and recuperate kinetic energy to maximise its driving range and efficiency.
Drivers can choose from five regenerative braking levels (none, 1 to 3, or ‘single pedal’ mode), depending on the level of energy recuperation they desire from the brakes. The system’s ‘single pedal’ driving mode also allows the car to harvest the maximum amount of energy from its brakes, and even enables the driver to bring the car to a gentle halt without necessarily needing to push the brake pedal.
The regenerative braking system can also automatically adjust the braking level if it detects the car in front slowing down, creating smoother coast-down driving – especially on a steep downhill road. A Smart Eco Pedal Guide display on the driver’s instrument cluster also keeps the driver aware of real-time battery usage based on accelerator pedal input.
E-Soul Drive Modes
In addition, the e-Soul’s Drive Mode Select system lets drivers adapt the car to their preferred style or the road conditions. Drivers can choose from ‘Normal’, ‘Eco’, Eco+’ and ‘Sport’ mode. The two Eco modes are tuned to maximise vehicle range with certain power-saving measures, while Sport mode increases responses from the steering and electric motor to maximise the dynamic driving feel of the car. Normal mode provides a careful balance between each.
The new e-Soul is the first generation of the Soul to feature fully-independent multi-link rear suspension. This replaces the torsion beam rear axle on first- and second-generation models, making the car at once more engaging, responsive and comfortable to drive.
This new model is the first Kia in Europe to offer the brand’s UVO CONNECT telematics system. UVO CONNECT is designed to bring driving into the digital era, connecting drivers to the world around to provide them with invaluable information – via the in-car touchscreen, and on their smartphone.
The new technology has been developed to comply with the latest European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ensuring the highest levels of data privacy and protection
UVO features the Kia Live system, housed within the 10.25-inch TFT LCD widescreen in the centre of the e-Soul’s dashboard. The system uses its own SIM card to retrieve and update live data during a drive, such as live traffic information, weather forecasts, points of interest, and details of potential on- and off-street parking – including price, location and parking availability. Crucially, the UVO system also shows drivers charging station locations, charger availability, and connection compatibility.
The second element of the UVO system is the UVO App, designed for compatibility on Android and Apple smartphones. The app offers users peace of mind with a range of features to provide diagnostic data about their car and the trips they take. The app also enables owners to activate a range of remote functions and features remotely. Depending on country, users can remotely activate the climate control system (pre-heating or pre-cooling the car, depending on the weather), and send route directions to their car before a journey.
The app enables users to check battery charging status remotely, and stop or resume charging at a tap of a screen – allowing them to take advantage of cheaper overnight electricity tariffs if charging at home. The app also lets users check the location of their vehicle, and access vehicle reports and diagnostic notifications.
Following its introduction on the e-Soul, Kia’s UVO CONNECT technology will be introduced to other European models in the near future.
The 10.25-inch touchscreen navigation system features Bluetooth multi-connection as standard, enabling occupants to connect two mobile devices at once, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Its advanced split-screen functionality lets users control or monitor different vehicle features at the same time, customising the screen with a series of different widgets.
This enables the driver to have a single display (such as navigation or battery information), or combine numerous elements on-screen at the same time. This means the driver can follow navigation directions or keep track of battery energy efficiency, while passengers can choose their favourite songs or check the weather forecast. The infotainment system also controls vehicle recharging preferences and Sound Mood Lighting settings.
The widescreen in the centre of the dashboard is complemented by a 7.0-inch TFT-LCD supervision instrument cluster, displaying essential driving information to the driver.
Driver Assistance Systems
Kia’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) help to reduce many of the inherent hazards and stresses of driving.
Available technologies include Forward Collision-avoidance Assist (FCA), Blind-spot Collision Warning (BCW) and Blind-spot Collision-avoid Assist-Rear (BCA-R), Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop & Go, and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW) and High Beam Assist (HBA). Kia’s ‘level two autonomy’ technology, Lane Follow Assist (LFA), controls acceleration, braking and steering depending on the vehicles in front. Between speeds of 0 and 130kph, LFA uses camera and radar sensors to maintain a safe distance from the car in front, while monitoring road markings to keep the e-Soul in the centre of the lane. In addition, the e-Soul features a Rear View Monitor (RVM) with Parking Assist guidance and Rear Cross-traffic Collision-avoidance Assist (RCCA).
E-Soul Passive Safety
As for passive safety features, the e-Soul is fitted with up to seven airbags (dual front airbags, dual front seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, and driver’s side knee airbag), as well as a suite of electronic vehicle safety systems. These include Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management system as standard, incorporating traction control and electronic stability control.
The e-Soul’s body is made up of a blend of steel and aluminium, maximising torsional rigidity while keeping body weight low. With a higher proportion of Advanced High-Strength Steel and hot-stamped steel components than its predecessor, as well as new aluminium side-sill reinforcements, the more rigid body-shell reduces road vibrations and enhances occupant safety in the event of a collision.
KIA e-SOUL – Europe Technical Specifications
Body and chassis
Five-door, five-seater all-electric urban crossover, with high-strength steel and aluminium unitary construction bodyshell. An electric motor drives the front wheels via a single-speed reduction gear set, powered by a lithium-ion polymer battery pack.
|Type||Permanent magnet AC synchronous motor|
|Voltage||356 V (long) / 327 V (standard)|
|Max power||204ps (150 kW) @ 3,800 – 8000 rpm (long-range)|
|136ps (100 kW) @ 2,600 – 8000 rpm (standard)|
|Max torque||395Nm (291.5 lb ft) @ 0 – 3,600 rpm (long-range)|
|Max torque||395Nm (291.5 lb ft) @ 0 – 2,400 rpm (standard)|
|Long-range battery pack|
|On-board charger||7.2 kW|
|Energy density (cell)||250 Wh/kg|
|Standard battery pack|
|Energy density (cell)||250Wh/kg|
|Suspension and damping|
|Front||Fully-independent by subframe-mounted MacPherson struts, coil springs and gas-filled shock absorbers, with anti-roll stabiliser bar|
|Rear||Fully-independent subframe-mounted multi-link, coil springs and twin tube gas-filled shock absorbers, with anti-roll stabiliser bar|
|Front||305 x 25 mm ventilated discs|
|Rear||300 x 10 mm solid discs|
|Parking brake||Electronic parking brake|
|Wheels and tyres|
|Standard||Alloy 17-inch, 215/55 R17 tyres|
|Spare||Tyre mobility kit|
|Overall length||4,195||Overall width||1,800*|
|Front overhang||865||Rear overhang||730|
|Front track||1,565||Rear track||1,575|
|Ground clearance (*excluding door mirrors)||155|
|Luggage capacity (litres)|
|Behind second row||315|
|Behind first row||1,339|
|Weights (kg)||Long- range||Standard|
|Max vehicle range*||Long-range||Standard|
|Max vehicle range*||452 km||277 km|
|280 mi||172 mi|
|Energy consumption* *WLTP combined cycle||157 Wh/km||145 Wh/km|