Kia Motors showed off its first mass market electric vehicle (EV), the Soul EV, as well as the 2014 Optima Hybrid mid-size sedan and Niro Concept, at the Chicago Auto Show.
Scheduled to go on sale in the third quarter of 2014, the Soul EV will be Kia’s first all-electric, zero-emissions car sold in the U.S. and expands the brand’s line of alternative-fuel vehicles. The Soul EV was joined by Optima Hybrid as well as the hybrid Niro, an urban lifestyle concept vehicle. The Soul EV utilizes a 360 volt 96-cell lithium-ion polymer battery, which is expected to yield a range of 80-100 miles of real-world driving on a full charge.
The Optima Hybird comes with a 47 HP electric traction motor, a Hybrid Starter Generator, and a 47 kW lithium polymer battery, and yields a combined gas-electric 199 hp rating and combined 235 lb.-ft. of torque. The LX model achieves an EPA-estimated 36 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and 38 mpg combined, while the EX model delivers an EPA-estimated 35/39/37.
The Nero Concept was built with a variant of Kia’s turbocharged 1.6-liter Gamma engine, capable of 160 hp. The engine and a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission serve the front wheels while an electric hybrid system powered by regenerative braking to deliver up to 45 hp to the rear wheels.