- Kia's first electric car arrives in the UK
- Modest sales expectations for Britain
- Zero emissions mean low tax bills
Kia’s first electric car, the Soul EV, has arrived in the UK priced at £24,995 after the government's £5,000 plug-in car grant has been deducted.
With the same proportions and dimensions as the regular petrol- and diesel-engined versions, the Soul EV is fitted with an electric motor which develops 109bhp and 285Nm of pulling power, enabling it to accelerate from 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds with a possible top speed of 90mph.
Crucially for company car drivers is that electric cars produce no CO2 emissions, which for the current 2014/15 tax year means zero percent BIK tax. This will increase to five percent in the 2015/16 year, which will still mean very monthly bills.
If you live in London you will be exempt from the congestion charge too and don't forget the potential savings in fuel for company car drivers who pay for their own personal mileage.
As with other cars converted for electric power interior room and boot space have been compromised a little in the Soul EV. Its 281-litre boot is 73 litres short of the regular Soul's boot volume as well as 51 litres smaller than Renault's Zoe. Rear seat legroom is also reduced by 80mm over the regular Soul.
Ideally suited to urban driving, the Soul EV has a range of up to 132 miles on a single charge. Replenishing the batteries' reserves can be done via a standard domestic socket, a Kia-branded wallbox (included in the car's price) or at public fast or rapid chargers. Kia also supplies all types of lead and plug connection at no extra charge. Using a domestic socket will take 10 to 14 hours to recharge the Soul EV, reduced to five with the 30 amp wallbox.
Available in a single trim level, standard equipment is generous with DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, a voice recognition system, cruise control, eight-inch touchscreen with sat-nav with charging point locator, reversing camera, climate control with a driver-only zone, heated front seats and steering wheel, unique 16-inch alloy wheels and parking sensors all included.
To help keep pedestrians and cyclists safe the new Soul EV is also fitted with a Virtual Engine Sound system active at low speeds and when reversing.
Kia expects to sell between 100 and 200 Soul EVs in the first year of sales in UK although supply could increase if demand is strong enough.