Yesterday, I was driving on the highway in Connecticut when I came across a newer Kia Soul in red. I have always liked those cars and Kia has made them more and more appealing since they first appeared in 2008. Maybe it was the kicky and oh so cute hamster commercials that endeared the Soul to me.
The Soul is like the Tesla Cybertruck — you either love it or you don’t. Personally, I find it very appealing and have often thought to myself, “That would make a great EV if it had fast charging and a range of 250 miles.” But it is not to be. At the Chicago Auto Show this week, a Kia spokesperson told Autoblog the company has no plans to bring the next generation Soul EV to America, although it will be sold in Europe and in Canada, apparently.
Why is that? Basically because the Soul EV is built on a hybrid chassis that can also be powered by a gasoline engine. The Soul, as good as it is, is yesterday’s technology. Time to clear the decks and focus on pure EVs going forward.
The current Soul EV has been delayed in part by battery supply issues. It was only sold in states that follow the California vehicle emissions rules, which is why when I searched for one online last winter in Florida, there were none for sale anywhere in the state. The Soul EV is due for a refresh, but the updated version will not be sold in America.
Instead the company has decided to concentrate on the Niro EV, which has a more subtle shape and is larger inside. Kia has decided it will be the affordable electric crossover best suited to American tastes. It has more of that crossover vibe many US customers crave, but it is still built on a hybrid chassis and is not marketed in all states.
The Soul EV will be the primary Kia small electric vehicle for Europe, however, where its funky look and hatchback configuration are seen as a better fit for that region. It’s the same reason the Volkswagen ID. 3 is not available in America. The powers that be at both companies have decreed people in the US won’t buy them and so they aren’t going to waste their time importing them and advertising them.
That’s America’s loss. If I could get a Soul EV with decent range for a decent price in white with the red roof option (the black with red roof would do also) and a full federal tax credit, I would have one in my driveway tomorrow. Too bad Kia. You almost had me.
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.