2015 Soul EV, courtesy of Kia Media

Kia Soul EV: Gaining Traction, Expanding Production and Sales

From ChargedEVs.com, a semi-bombshell on the Kia Soul EV:

“The issue is actually getting enough cars,” EV Product Manager Steve Kosowski told Charged. “As soon as we can get the supply, we’re going to start selling the car outside of California. What we don’t want to do is starve our California dealers after they’ve already invested in chargers and tools and training. The Soul EV is the first electric car we’ve sold outside of Korea. So, we want to make sure that the quality is there, that the suppliers and the distributors and the dealers and everybody in the whole chain is ready and there are no problems.”

 

In short this means that the Kia Soul won’t be a “compliance vehicle” or a green car manufactured at just enough numbers to trigger lower fleet MPG numbers for the EPA.  The Cadillac Escalade Hybrid was a compliance vehicle. The Fiat 500e is pretty much a compliance vehicle.  The Nissan Altima Hybrid was one as well.  You can think of them as crass attempts to manipulate, or an opportunity to build a green car and limit the damage if it’s crappy.

But it looks like the Kia Soul EV will be a full-on competitor to the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, and the other compact 4-bangers out there.  I’m thinking that the designers at Nissan should get ready to apply some new skin.  Because for about the same money, the Kia Soul EV is significantly better looking.

Nissan’s marketers should get ready as well.  The mice are better at selling the Kia Soul as their counterpart at Nissan.  Wait, there’s nothing similar in terms of consumer marketing for the Leaf.  This could be the first really good head-to-head green car battle.

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Sebastian James

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