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2015 KIA Soul EV+

  • Written by Julie Boselly, Publisher

MSRP starting at $26,200 As tested: $36,625
    105 MPGe (equivalent)
    Estimated fuel savings over 5 years: $8,000

I was very excited to test out an all-electric vehicle. Hybrids are fairly easy — they use a combination of electric and gas and never need to be plugged in. All-electric vehicles require some serious planning.

Step 1:
Look up all of the local plug-ins. My friends on Facebook came in handy for this. Lynn: “There’s a charging station right behind Jimmy Johns!”, Rich: “Also by Starbucks/Mongolian Grill.” (Yes, we agree those are the same location, near Starbucks, which is the official designated name on the navigation system). 21 Acres and most Walgreens have charging stations.

Step 2:
Figure out how many miles it takes to get everywhere you need to go. A full charge gets you anywhere from 80-120 miles. If you’re in traffic, you will be able to drive farther because the act of braking charges the battery. Long distance should be done with caution.

Step 3:
Understand how long it will take to re-charge the battery and plan accordingly. If you work near a charging station, that’s a bonus. I drove into downtown Woodinville (from downtown Bothell), plugged in and walked to my office. About 3 hours passed and I walked back to the car. It wasn’t done charging. Here was my charge result: blink station 1:15-4:20pm. $7.46. Was at 50%. Range says 88mi. (Charging as a blink guest was $0.49/kW).

My opinion: this vehicle works best for someone living in a house or any location with a charger close by. I don’t think many apartment dwellers would find this easy to use. You can plug into a 110v outlet but 220v will charge faster. This is a great commuter car. If you drive a long distance (nearing the maximum mileage), I estimated you would have to wait about eight hours before you are fully charged again. My plan to go to Olympia for the day ended up in my own gas-powered car.

Other features:
•    The stereo was great, just like the standard KIA Soul.
•    I dislike the cup holders. They are huge and I spilled my coffee every time I went over a speed bump. My daughter also said there were no cup holders in the back.
•    Heat: remember this is an electric vehicle. Turning on the heat = smells like hot electrical.
•    It’s fun to drive! It comes with 210 lb.-ft. of instant torque.

I do like the standard KIA Soul. I might stick to that but if you are really interested in the all-electric model, you can read more details about it at www.kia.com.

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