Cue the electric hamsters.
Kia, the automaker known for those dancing hamsters in its ads, has announced it will be bringing to market an all-electric version of its popular Soul compact crossover. The model will be the first all-electric vehicle from the Korean automaker.
Photos of the car and details about its drivetrain weren’t disclosed, with Kia saying the Soul EV would debut "at an upcoming major U.S. auto show."
An educated guess pegs that as the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, a venue that automakers have traditionally favored for its eco-friendly audience for similar debuts.
Just where the Soul EV will be available is another unknown, but count on California being on that list. California’s Air Resources Board has set tough guidelines for automakers that require at least 15% of their vehicles sold in the state to be fully electric by 2025. Now, less than 1% of cars sold in the state are EVs.
Failure to do so could mean an automaker is barred from selling any of its vehicles -- gas or otherwise -- in California, the country’s largest auto market.
Pricing is another unknown for the Soul EV, but it will face stiff competition when it comes to market in 2014. Brands such as Ford, Honda, Fiat, Nissan and Chevrolet have all slashed the prices of their EVs to make them more appealing to consumers who might not otherwise consider them.
The Soul EV will be based on the Soul, the hard-to-characterize four-door hatchback that has been Kia’s second-biggest seller for 2013. An all-new version of the Soul is rolling into dealerships now, with a second-generation of sleeker hamsters featured in current ads.