It's not currently clear whether these upgrades could come to the U.S.
A pair of leaked documents from Kia indicates the brand is fitting a 30-kilowatt-hour battery in the Soul EV as a replacement for the existing 27 kWh pack, according to Kia-World. The model’s electric motor continues to produce 109 horsepower (81.4 kilowatts) and 210 pound-feet (285 Newton-meters).
According to one of these documents, Kia reports the larger battery boosts the model’s range in the Korean testing cycle to 112 miles (180 kilometers) – versus 92 miles (148 km) currently. A leak from a dealer in Germany indicates the Soul EV would be able to go 155 miles (250 km) based on the New European Driving Cycle’s evaluation – as opposed to 132 miles (212 km) now.
The Environmental Protection Agency in the United States currently rates the Soul EV at a range of 93 miles. Assuming similar gains for the EV in that testing cycle, the maximum driving distance would increase to around 113 miles.
These tweaks would be the first major mechanical upgrades for the Soul EV. However, the company added some minor equipment improvements for the 2016 model year, including a new entry-level model. The automaker also offered an upgrade for the infotainment system by supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
After the battery improvement, the Soul EV still isn’t a very close competitor among the latest crop of EVs. For example, the Chevrolet Bolt has an EPA-rated range of 238 miles (383 km). In the near future, the Tesla Model 3, Nissan Leaf, and Hyundai’s upcoming electric model should top 200 miles (322 km) on a charge, too.
Even the existing Kia Niro EV tops the Soul EV’s rumored figures. The electric crossover can go 124 miles (200 kilometers) on a charge. Its electric motor produces 118 hp (88 kW) and 215 lb-ft (291 Nm).