Since the Kia Soul EV’s UK launch in October 2014, its official range of 132 miles has been a positive talking point as it brings a new benchmark to its class.
To prove that the Kia really is capable of 132 miles on a single charge, Kia Motors UK set up a real-world range test, independently conducted and verified by Next Green Car. The test was conducted on 18th December 2014, with Dr Ben Lane, Next Green Car’s Managing Editor behind the wheel throughout.
Navigating the highs and lows of Somerset and Wiltshire’s cities, towns, villages and countryside, a specially designed route was planned to ensure all road types and traffic environments were included.
Bristol’s bumper to bumper traffic, A and B roads, hill climbs and descents, plus the high speed demands of the M4 were all part of the route to ensure real world conditions, with the aim of representing the wide variety of motorists’ daily journeys.
Bringing further authenticity to the test, the weather was not particularly favourable. With an average temperature of 8 degrees centigrade throughout the day, coupled with both light and heavy rain, it dampened performance slightly, triggered heavier traffic and used more battery power for on board heating, windscreen wipers and headlights. Throughout the test, satellite navigation and heated seats were used as and when required.
Although initially skeptical that the claimed range would be achieved, we can report that the actual range achieved on the day over the test route was an impressive 125.3 miles; we actually ran out of route to discharge the battery completely with a further nine available miles showing on the display. This implies that the Kia Soul EV does indeed have potential driving range of 134.9 miles, validating the claimed range.
According to Dr Ben Lane of Next Green Car: “The Kia Soul EV is an impressive drive with one of the best driving ranges in its class and welcome entrant to the UK electric vehicle line-up. The 27 kWh lithium-ion battery gives the Soul EV an official range of 132 miles beating everything but the Model S. The range test we conducted demonstrates that it is possible to achieve this range in typical UK driving conditions.
“The Soul EV also scores highly on the use of low impact materials including bio-degradable plastic, bio-foam and bio-fabric which are all used in the interior.”
The Soul EV comes with tax as well as emission benefits. Zero tail-pipe emissions mean zero London Congestion Charge and zero car tax (Vehicle Excise Duty). Priced from £24,995 the Soul EV isn’t cheap but it does come with Kia’s class-leading 7-year warranty.
With the test concluded, Next Green Car’s only criticism is that Kia is only making limited numbers available for the UK market in 2015. With the Soul EV as its first EV offering, Kia should have no trouble in taking a good slice of the future EV markey share.
Read more and see video: Next Green Car