The Kia Soul EV: Best Electric Vehicle Value on the Market?

9375_2015_Soul_EV (640x424)

Source: Kia Motors America

Electric vehicle consumers have gotten some intriguing new options in 2014. Following the rollout of the first EVs by German luxury brands, Korea-based Kia Motors (KIMTF.PK) is about to weigh in with the 2015 Kia Soul EV. Featuring one of the top electric ranges along with a starting price near the most reasonable automobiles in the segment, the Kia Soul EV represents one of the top values currently available. Here’s a look at the new Soul EV following the release of pricing and mpg specs.

2015 Kia Soul EV specs

Kia announced its pricing for the 2015 Soul EV with updated specs in a September 11 release. The funky urban styling remains from the standard Soul while the power quotient tops out at 109 horsepower and 210 pounds-feet of torque. Electric range estimates from the EPA came in at 93 miles, making it third-best among cars now on the U.S. market. The Soul EV’s 120 MPGe city and 90 MPGe highway average out to 105 MPGe combined, which would make it the eighth-most efficient car on U.S. roads (a tie).

Soul EV profile (640x424)

Kia Motors America

For the range and MPGe, Kia’s prices of $33,700 for the base Soul EV and $35,700 for the Soul EV Plus (leasing for $249 per month) are relatively reasonable. In terms of the cost per mile of range (CPMR) stat created by Mojomotors, the 2015 Kia Soul EV would weigh in at $362 for fourth place. Most of these numbers compare favorably against electric vehicles now available.

2015 Kia Soul EV rivals

Immediately, the Soul EV has to face off against the Nissan (NSANY.PK) Leaf, the leader in electric vehicle sales and the most efficient midsize car on U.S. roads at 114 MPGe combined versus the Soul EV’s 105 MPGe. Kia’s new EV has the Leaf beat by 9 miles in range though the Soul EV purchase price tops the Leaf ($28,980) by $4,720. The Leaf costs $345 per mile of range to the Soul EV’s $362. This contest is too close to call.

Kia Soul EVs (640x424)

Source: Kia Motors America

Matching up against the Ford (NYSE:F) Focus Electric is a different story. The Blue Oval’s all-electric car gets a respectable 76 miles of electric range, but that figure trails the Soul EV by 17 miles. Calculating the cost per mile of range, the Soul EV ($362) beats up on the Focus Electric ($463) by $101. As previously noted, they are tied at 105 MPGe combined. The Kia Soul EV presents a better overall package while undercutting the Focus Electric price ($35,170) by $1,670.

Like Kia and its German rivals, Volkswagen (VLKAY.PK) is bringing its first all-electric car to the U.S. market in 2014. The VW e-Golf arriving in November will start at $36,265 and come in near the Soul EV at 105 MPGe with a lower range than the Kia (70 to 90 miles) according to Volkswagen estimates. In terms of cost per mile of range and purchase price, the Kia Soul EV has the e-Golf’s number.

Any price quote is before the $7,500 federal rebate. There is is no accounting for the feel of being behind the wheel and the impact of real-world conditions for each driver, so test each car well. From this vantage point at least, the 2015 Kia Soul EV is a very welcome entry to the electric vehicle segment and one of its best values.

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