The Kia Soul EV made its world debut at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show on February 6. In advance of its European debut at the Geneva Motor Show, Kia have released some technical specification details that have instantly made fully-electric car a genuinely exciting prospect.
Thanks to an incredibly dense battery, the Kia Soul EV will have class-leading energy density, resulting in a range of up to 125 miles on a full charge.
On paper, those figures are clinical. You'd be forgiven for feeling somewhat underwhelmed, but the long-term implications of these innovations may well prove vital for the green car industry.Kia Soul EV – Batteries Very Much Included
The new Kia Soul EV will break new ground with its 200Wh/kg battery density. The revolutionary power pack features 192 lithium-ion polymer battery cells in eight modules, resulting in a total battery capacity of 27kWh. Nickel-cobalt-manganese (NGM) cathodes complete the unique construction, giving the Kia Soul EV a range of up to 125 miles on a single charge.
The performance and efficiency of EV batteries is wholly dependent on the external temperature. To counter this, the Kia Soul EV features a special secure separator to govern the safety and the charge/discharge speed of the battery, featuring improved thermal resistance to keep the cell secure from exposure to heat or fire. Conversely, a clever heating system ensures that the Kia Soul EV battery system delivers optimum performance even in cold weather.
Low temperatures are usually disastrous for EV battery performance, but the Kia Soul EV cleverly warms the battery as it charges, prior to use. A special electrolyte additive further serves to prevent the degradation of battery performance at both high and low temperatures. This extends the temperature range of the battery usage and dramatically reduces the fluctuation of the driving range according to the weather.
As well as offering considerably extended range, efficiency and reliability, the advanced new battery in the Kia Soul EV also delivers impressively rapid charging.
The low electrical resistance cell, effective thermal control and accurate separator state-of-charge calculation cumulatively serve to reduce the charging time. With a 100kW DC connection, you can charge the Kia Soul EV in as little as 25 minutes. 50KW DC takes just 33 minutes, but a standard mains connection can give you a full charge in no more than five hours. Left overnight, this will barely register.
Quicker charging, extended range and efficient performance that no longer fluctuates wildly with temperature, the importance of the innovations found in the Kia Soul EV cannot be understated. It might not seem very exciting now, but this might be one of the most significant developments for green motoring this year.
The sooner this technology becomes unremarkable, though, the better.