Kia has been toying with the notion of an electric vehicle for years now. In the two years since the Korean automaker revealed the Ray EV concept, rumors of a battery-powered production vehicle have persisted, evidenced most recently by spy shots showing an electric version of the Soul hatchback this past July. Now Kia has officially announced that the Soul EV is heading for production.

Although Kia has yet to reveal official photos or specifications, this is the first confirmation we've received that the Soul EV is indeed headed for a showroom near you. Set to arrive sometime next year, the Soul EV promises to pack an as-yet unspecified arrangement of electric motors and batteries and visual cues that aim to improve the vehicle's aerodynamics and differentiate it from the conventionally powered Soul.

We'll have to wait until its debut approaches at an undetermined upcoming auto show in the US for more details, but for now you can delve into the official announcement below and scope out those same spy shots in the gallery above.
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KIA MOTORS ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR FIRST All-ELECTRIC VEHICLE IN THE UNITED STATES
Electrified Version of the All-New Soul Urban Passenger Vehicle Scheduled to Arrive in 2014

- Kia's first EV in the U.S. will combine the Soul's funky and iconic design with new styling cues aimed at improving aerodynamics and distinguishing it from non-EV Souls
- Soul EV will be powered exclusively by a battery for gas-free driving and zero emissions
- Images of the Soul EV will be release closer to launch

Minneapolis, Oct. 1, 2013 – At the media launch of the all-new 2014 Soul, Kia Motors America (KMA) today announced plans to offer an all-electric version of the company's iconic Soul urban passenger vehicle in select markets in 2014. Already one of KMA's best-selling vehicles, an all-electric variant is a natural extension of the Soul's urban-friendly place in the brand's lineup of award-winning vehicles. More details about the Soul EV's powertrain, range/MPGe, packaging and go-to-market strategy will be announced at an upcoming major U.S. auto show.

"Eco-consciousness already comes standard on the all-new Soul with 85-percent of its materials able to be recycled at the end of its lifespan, and the Soul EV will further demonstrate Kia's engineering capabilities as well as our commitment to producing vehicles with reduced environmental footprints," said Orth Hedrick, executive director of product planning, KMA. "The Soul has always been a terrific choice for drivers in urban environments, and the all-new version's blend of technology, refinement, style, improved dynamics and value has allowed us to create a car that is as efficient as it is fun to drive."

Kia Motors was recently ranked by Interbrand as one of the "50 Best Global Green Brands," and Soul EV will be the second alternative-fuel Kia vehicle to be offered for sale in the U.S. The award-winning Optima Hybrid was introduced in 2011 and for 2013 sees a number of enhancements including numerous powertrain refinements for smoothness and drivability, including a more robust 47 HP electric traction motor, a stronger Hybrid Starter Generator (HSG) and a more powerful 47 kW Lithium Polymer battery.

Kia: One of the World's Fastest Moving Global Automotive Brands
Kia Motors America is one of only three auto brands to increase U.S. sales in each of the past four years, and in 2012 the company surpassed the 500,000 unit mark for the first time. With a full line of fun-to-drive cars and CUVs, Kia is advancing value to new levels of sophistication by combining European-influenced styling – under the guidance of chief design officer Peter Schreyer – with cutting-edge technologies, premium amenities, affordable pricing and the lowest cost of ownership in the industry. Kia recently moved up in the exclusive ranking of Interbrand's "Top 100 Best Global Brands" after joining the list for the first time last year, and the company is poised to continue its momentum with seven all-new or significantly redesigned vehicles scheduled to arrive in showrooms in 2013. Over the past decade Kia Motors has invested more than $1.4 billion in the U.S., including the company's first U.S. assembly plant in West Point, Georgia – Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia – which is responsible for the creation of more than 14,000 plant and supplier jobs. The success of the U.S.-built* Optima and Sorento in two of the industry's largest segments has fueled Kia's rapid growth and is complemented by Kia's comprehensive lineup which includes the Cadenza flagship sedan, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Sportage compact CUV, Optima Hybrid, the Forte sedan, Forte5, and Forte Koup compacts, Rio and Rio 5-door sub-compacts and the Sedona minivan.

About Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 765 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA. In 2012, KMA recorded its best-ever annual sales total and gained U.S. market share for the 18th consecutive year. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, advanced safety features and new technologies.

Information about Kia Motors America and its full vehicle line-up is available at its website – www.kia.com. For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com. To receive custom email notifications for press releases the moment they are published, subscribe at http://www.kiamedia.com/us/en/newsalert.

* The Sorento and Optima GDI (EX Trims and certain LX Trims only) and GDI Turbo are built in the United States from U.S. and globally sourced parts.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Year Ago
      A pre-release press release to announce their upcoming press conference. great.
      walt
      • 1 Year Ago
      Kia has my interest piqued. Waiting for the '15 Sedona for the family, and what ever brand BEV that's somewhat affordable. I like what Tesla's doing but I'm pretty sure their "affordable" mass market option will still be price at premium for what it is. The next few years are going to have fierce competition in the electric segment as these companies try to cement down their market share.
      Neil Blanchard
      • 1 Year Ago
      Electric Soul sounds good to me. Soul Electric works, too. I'm looking forward to seeing the battery pack capacity and physical packaging, etc. Looks like they at least have added flat and relatively smooth wheels, which will help aero drag a bit. Neil
      Awhattup
      • 1 Year Ago
      S. Korea dominates in many IT categories and ,is the biggest car battery supplier... I wonder what they have for the motor though.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why did they electrify the least aerodynamic compact car they have? This is a car that gets 20% less fuel economy on the highway than their small sedan, with the same engine. Pretty unwise to go through with this.... oh well, they'll learn.. the hard way :P
        Mike J
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Electric MPV and CUV is an untapped potential market. Toyota is testing the waters with the Tesla EV and the upcoming Tesla X
        DaveMart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        What is the notion that it is a wonderful idea to streamline vehicles used almost exclusively at relatively low speed in the City? Having good accomodation for the road space taken up is far more important in crowded Far Eastern and European cities, and streamlining works against that. This car will spend most of its life at under 55 miles an hour.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @DaveMart
          Umm, i don't know if you Europeans are getting this car but we usually drive at about 70mph here; and this car is more like sending a brick through the air than a bullet train.. Look, with EVs, batteries are at a premium so you must design the car to be efficient aerodynamically in order for the car to be an even remotely good value. Range sells.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @DaveMart
          You don't know how we drive here. We drive pretty fast in California.
        DK
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Probably because this car is much more popular and is more likely to sell.
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Year Ago
      Prediction: Carb compliance vehicle. Low volume, not for sale in the mid-west.
      DaveMart
      • 1 Year Ago
      The disguise is excellent. I can reveal that when the front-end camouflage is stripped off, it is actually very similar in appearance to the front of the Tesla S.
      Levine Levine
      • 1 Year Ago
      The new Kia commercial: Hamsters get electrocuted by its EV, goes to heaven and buys a Tesla S.
      Bill
      • 1 Year Ago
      Nice. How about a Soul pickup with a 7' bed?
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      purrpullberra
      • 1 Year Ago
      This should be a big hit. The Soul sells very well and the EV powertrain will make it a super-efficient city car. So this car is perfect for a lot folks but I doubt it will be a sales hit. The marketing could be the problem. Sell them as "affluence" items, it shows that you can afford to buy a car that really only does city driving very well and that can't do road trips. It's a sign that you've 'made it' if you can afford to put a small EV in your garage right next to your ICE vehicle. AND it's 'green' and saves you money on fuel.
      Cruising
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Soul was inspired by a wild boar wearing a backpack yet the hamsters keep stealing the spot light. Wild boars would make excellent marketing material and they should make a Soul with some low end grunt and aggressive front fascia. See boar illustration here: http://m.autoblog.com/2009/06/10/review-2010-kia-soul/
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