Dec. 02, 2019
In 2015, Kia introduced the Soul EV with a range of 93 miles. At the time, that was considered pretty good for an all-electric vehicle. By today's standards, that seems like a joke, but for most driver's that's more than they need for their daily commute and regular shopping. The car alerts you when you are low on electricity, and a map with multiple charging locations and their distance appears on the large screen.
I received delivery of my Kia Soul EVE in 2016 (MSRP $31,950), and after driving the car for nearly three years, I believe I can give a qualified review of the Kia Soul and the "electric" vehicle that it is. The 93 miles range freaked me out at first and tempered my driving distance. Back then there was the issue of charging stations, while no longer a problem, there are plenty of places charging stations, even in Southern Florida, back then there were very few if you drove anything other than a Telsa.
To charge my Kia Soul, I can plug it into an ordinary outlet and fully charge the car overnight (Level 1 Charger supplied with the vehicle) and get about 4 miles for each hour it's plugged in. If you're looking for a faster charge, you can purchase the high-speed charger for the home (Level 2 Charger), which requires 240 volts; most people are going to need an electrician to add the outlet. For even faster results, there's the option of going to a high-speed charging station and "filling up" in about 30 minutes.
Living in South Florida has its issues, especially when it comes to electricity. A hurricane can cause power outages. Our home had no electricity for nearly three weeks, followed by a week of power and another storm taking us down for another two weeks. Blackouts make charging impossible without a generator, and if you're looking to escape an impending hurricane, you have a 600-mile trip ahead of you.
We fled Florida for Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico and thankfully spared South Florida, and upon returning home from North Carolina, we nearly ran out of gas. Almost all of the gas stations in South Carolina or Florida could not pump gas or had any gas to sell. We lucked out, and after detouring and waiting on lines for hours at one gas station, which ran out of gas, we found another with gas to get home. Even a Tesla only has a range of 373 miles, and that wouldn't have helped either. We have a second vehicle, a hybrid, a Toyota Prius, which my wife loves, and I don't comfortably fit, but it will do the job if we have to get out of town.
Over time, I have grown accustomed to the limitation of 93 miles and plan trips by first checking the mileage when traveling to Miami, which is the furthest I can travel without stopping for a charge. It's not that I'm not looking to pay for the charging station, it's just that I am not quite ready to spend 30 minutes roaming a shopping mall waiting for my car to charge fully. I don't like to do partial charging unless needed because a battery does have a lifetime and it is best to avoid charging more than needed.
My favorite part of the Kia Soul is that I fit comfortably, not like one of those airline seats or my wife's Toyota Prius. It's quite and tall and the interior has lots of room like an SUV, and the electric engine allows for extreme acceleration, unlike a hybrid or other small engine car. The car handles quite well, and I use the "B" feature, which captures electricity when letting go of the "accelerator." Instead of relying only on the brakes, the engine runs in reverse, capturing the power much the same way as a hybrid does, extending driving. Upon returning from the airport and stuck in traffic, my spouse was afraid that we would run out of electricity. Instead, just the opposite happened, driving at slower speeds and braking extended the distance of the electric car.
In the last year as my level of comfort has increased, I have been driving much more frequently. My children who visit occasionally prefer the electric "larger seating" car to the smaller "hybrid," plus they enjoy not having to put gas in when bringing the car back. I, too, enjoy not having to visit a gas station and of course, paying a lot less per mile than that of a gas vehicle. A side benefit is that because I don't stop for gas, I buy less in the way of junk foods and lottery tickets. Another thing I don't miss is sitting waiting for the "oil change" every couple of months. The best part of the electric vehicle is the smoother ride that comes from using an electric vs. a combustion engine that shakes the car and makes noise. Be careful when in parking lots, people who are walking are not aware that you are right behind them, it's that quiet.
As electric vehicles continue to add to the distance and one can drive without charging and speeding up the time required for a complete charge, I can see getting rid of the hybrid and replacing that with an all-electric car as well. Alternative energy is going to surpass coal shortly, and it's just a matter of time before the same is true of gasoline. If you can get an affordable electric vehicle that travels more than 250 miles on a single charge, I would certainly recommend replacing one of the family vehicles, giving the electric vehicle to the commuter with the longest distance within a comfortable range. And don't worry about running out there are lots of places to charge nowadays.
Visitor Comments: [Comment] Note: Pages are moderated.
I have the Kia Soul and I agree with your review the car is alot of fun to drive and it's really roomy. It's too bad American auto manufacturers can't find ways to make cars fun again.
Kyle [Dec. 03, 2019]
It's too bad that Kia's range hasn't increased with the 2019 the range is now 111 miles. If Kia doesn't figure out how to get more out of its batteries it is going to be left behind.
Sammy [Dec. 03, 2019]