In music unplugged means different. When it comes to EVs, same word could also have a negative meaning. But not with the electric Soul. It wants to be a bit different.

Look at it. It's pretty original, right? If you drive it to a residential area, you get the feeling that children will come running, thinking that it's an ice cream van. But why merge with the masses, if you've already decided, when you go to buy it, that you want a car that is completely different from the other hunks of metal that you see on the street? It is different in its concept, although its exterior does not reveal this at first sight, since the electric Soul is very similar to its series sibling. The second generation of this model does not deviate significantly from the initial concept, which was also conceived by the Slovenian car designer, Robert Lešnik. It is interesting that the second generation was basically adapted to an electric motor without changing the exterior much. If we put aside the typical white-blue color combination, we notice that the front does not have the typical motor air vents, since the battery charging plug is located behind the closed vent doors. For the purposes of improved weight distribution, its cells are well-hidden below the front and rear seats, which is also another space-saving feature.

The Soul's drive system has an 81 kW liquid cooled electric motor (which is more than enough for its intended use) and the 270 kg battery, composed of 192 polymer cells, which hold 27 kWh of energy. This combination suffices for 200 kilometers of worry-free driving, as mentioned in the promotional materials; however, in our experience, we have to subtract some kilometers, due to those pesky external factors, like cold, darkness, rain or simply more kilometers on the motorway, which cause electric cars to lose energy faster. The electric Soul is charged quickest if you find a CHAdeMO station – the battery is charged to 80% in only 33 minutes. You can also charge it from a normal 220 V socket, which takes more time. If you use a 6.6 kW charging station, the Soul is charged in less than five hours; and if a household socket is used, the same result is achieved in 12 hours.

The only stress you encounter when driving electric cars is constantly checking the battery indicator. Kia has managed to mitigate this stress by developing the main multimedia system which, in various ways, shows data about the range and consumption, as well as information on the quantity of energy used by individual system energy users. The navigation device also indicates charging stations, so that the car can instantly help the driver search for the closest source of electricity.

Driving the electric Soul brings total pleasure to the driver and passengers, because they can enjoy the silent drive, which is lively and fun. This car's get-up-and-go is quite inspiring, when you look in the rearview mirror and see that cars lag far behind you. Well, data on acceleration to 100 km per hour – 11.2 seconds – does not reveal the truth that the car is raring to go from a dead stop. You get the feeling that everything around you is just stuck in the tarmac. The mood inside is pleasant, due to the quality materials in bright colors, and the large glass surfaces. The seats are comfortable, and there is quite a lot of space in the back – the 281-liter trunk, with its double floor (where the charging cables are neatly stored) ranks about average for cars in this class.

With its electric Soul, Kia has shown that it is among the most advanced car producers in this area. However, it is true that most of its electric cars are marketed on the American market, and they are present in Europe in much lower numbers, looking like they are mostly bringing Soul EV here for promotional purposes – or as a warning to their competitors, that Kia can also make an excellent electric car.

Oct. 30, 2015 Driving photo: Saša Kapetanović

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