A new Kia Soul electric car and updated version of the Kia Niro EV are impressing crowds at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, unveiled by the South Korean carmaker as they prepare for launch in Europe and North America.
Keeping to its original design, the Kia Soul is a perfect fit for lovers of electric SUVs, with aesthetic features such as a closed grille, a 25″ touchscreen at the centre of the dash, bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and steering wheel mounted audio controls.
Driving assist features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision avoidance alerts, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assist as standard, with additional features such as blind spot and rear cross-traffic collision warnings and parking distance assists as options.
With two trims available – the EV and the EV “Designer Collection” – buyers will have the choice to upgrade for extra paint options, powered mirrors, a 10-speaker Harmon/Kardon audio system, wireless phone charge and premium interior styling.
Powered by a 64 kWh battery, the 150kW motor offers 395Nm torque while four driving modes allow drivers to choose driving experience and battery usage.
While range has not yet been revealed, a regenerative brake system and “brake and hold” paddle shift system allow the driver to get the most out of transferring the car’s kinetic energy back into the battery.
Likewise for charging; while Kia has confirmed it has opted for CCS DC charging as standard, charging speeds are under wraps until battery specs are ascertained, results expected by early next year.
Details of the 2019 Niro EV on the other hand, which has been touted for an Australian launch at around $A40,000 as early as next year, are now officially on the table, for Canada and the US at least.
Not surprisingly, the Kia Niro EV 2019 was presented to the media at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, as the Korean brand announced its arrival some time ago.
Also kitted out with a 64 kWh battery, 150kW motor output and 395Nm torque, and CCS charging equipment as standard, Kia has confirmed 100kW charging rate which equates to 0-80 per cent charging in 75 minutes (half an hour for an extra 160km range), or 9.5 for a full charge on a Level 2 7.2kW charger.
Four driving modes are also offered in the Niro EV, which as for the Soul EV include Eco, Normal, Sport and Eco+, modifying the regenerative braking level and the intensity of the air conditioning system to maximise energy efficiency.
The Niro EV also makes use of paddles behind the steering wheel to allow the driver to manually choose the degree of resistance of the regenerative braking.
Compared to the Niro Hybrid and Rechargeable Hybrid, the cargo space is barely affected in the 100% electric version, with cargo space actually increasing from 549 to 524 litres with the rear seats in place, and from 1,543 to 1,501 litres with the seats down.
Standard equipment in the basic EX version includes a seven-inch touch-screen multimedia system, a six-speaker audio system, Apple CarPlay integration and Android Auto, a wireless charging zone, and more, as well as a battalion of advanced security features.
The EX Premium will add an eight-inch touch screen, eight-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system, navigation system, sunroof, heated steering wheel, parking sonar and LED headlamps, among others.
Finally, the Kia Niro EV 2019 can be recognized by its 17-inch alloy wheels, designed specifically to enhance the aerodynamics of the car, as well as skirting sills and redesigned bumpers – the latter being trimmed with decorative blue accents.
Like the other variants of the Kia Niro 2019, the 100% electric version will be assembled in Korea.
While the all-electric version of the third generation Kia Soul will only be marketed in Europe, the 2019 Niro EV is to go on sale in the US from early next year. Price has not yet been announced for either model.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.