Kia has announced pricing on its all-new Soul EV, the South Korean automaker’s first foray into the electric segment.
The all-electric version of Kia’s most popular vehicle will start at $33,700 when it goes on sale in October. That price doesn’t include destination or any state or federal tax credits or incentives.
Buyers in California could lop off $2,500 for the state’s electric-vehicle rebate, and up to $7,500 for a federal tax credit, depending on their income, pushing the price as low as $23,700.
Kia will also lease the Soul EV for $249 a month, but that price is for 36 months, includes a $1,999 down payment and is based on the full $7,500 federal tax credit.
The Soul EV will be available only in California at its October launch. In 2015, Kia hopes to bring the EV to other states that follow California’s lead in requiring automakers to sell zero-emission vehicles. Those states could include Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
California has long had the most eager audience for electric vehicles. Just this week, the 100,000th plug-in vehicle was sold in the Golden State, which accounts for 40% of all plug-in vehicles in the U.S.
Gov. Jerry Brown has said he wants 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road in California by 2025. The California Air Resources Board requires all automakers selling vehicles in the state to offer at least one that is zero-emissions.
This has led to a surge of pure-electric vehicles from brands such as Ford, Fiat, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Chevy and Mercedes-Benz. Critics of the requirement -- even those among the automakers themselves -- argue that it’s forcing money-losing electric vehicles onto the general public when supply far outreaches demand.
Indeed, widespread adoption of EVs has yet to catch on throughout the nation; just 1% of households in the U.S. have an electric vehicle.
Models such as the Kia Soul EV are designed to look and feel just like their gas-powered counterparts. The new Kia uses the automaker’s funky -- and popular -- front-wheel-drive Soul crossover as its foundation. The car’s boxy shape allowed Kia to tuck the air-cooled lithium-ion batteries into the floor without cutting into the Soul’s prized functionality.
Those air-cooled, 27-kWh batteries power an electric motor that makes 109 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque. The batteries recharge in under five hours using a 240-volt outlet. Top speed on the Soul EV is 90 mph.
The all-electric Kia comes standard with a navigation system, rear-view camera, Bluetooth connectivity and a smartphone app that lets drivers control the charging timers and pre-heat or cool the car when it’s plugged in.
The Soul EV Plus will sell for $35,700 and adds heated and cooled leather seats, fog lights and power-folding mirrors.