Competes with: Chevrolet Spark EV, Fiat 500e, Nissan Leaf, Smart ForTwo ED
Looks like: A new Kia Soul with fewer body openings
Powertrain: An electric motor making 109 hp and 210 pounds-feet of torque, single- speed transmission and 27-kwh lithium-ion battery pack; Kia says range is 80-100 miles
Hits dealerships: Summer 2014, limited to coastal states
Kia unveiled its first-ever all-electric vehicle at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show this week, the 2014 Kia Soul EV. Based off the recently redesigned front-wheel-drive Soul subcompact, the new Soul EV will join the growing list of small battery-electric vehicles on sale primarily in the coastal states in order to comply with increasingly stringent zero-emissions mandates that require a percentage of an automaker's sales to bezero-emissions vehicles.
More 2014 Chicago Auto Show Coverage
The new Soul EV doesn't look much different from the standard Soul, which already received a 2014 update inside and out to incorporate cues from Kia's popular Track'ster concept car. The main visual differences between the conventional gasoline-powered car and the EV are in external trim — the EV has a blocked-out grille opening where the charging ports are hidden, 16-inch wheels with a design borrowed from the Optima Hybrid and a two-tone paint scheme that looks positively Mini Cooperish. Three colors will be offered: white with blue roof, blue with white roof or silver with white roof.