General Motors may have been first to the affordable electric car segment, but the competition is quickly moving in. Some of the latest threats come from Hyundai and Kia with the Kona Electric and Niro EV. However, Kia’s Soul EV may also become a direct competitor to the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
New spy photos from Autoblog published Wednesday show the next Soul EV testing and the photos also reveal the prototype’s estimated range remaining. From the photos, the infotainment system shows 92 percent charge left on the battery with a 437 kilometer estimated range. That’s about 271 miles, but we have a feeling this is testing with more liberal estimated figures from Europe since the range estimate is in kilometers.
However, the full range estimate falls within striking distance of the Kona Electric, which was rated at 292 miles in Europe. Autoblog speculated the Soul EV and Kona Electric could share an electric powertrain, which would give Hyundai-Kia another vehicle to leapfrog the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
The EPA has rated the Kona Electric at 258 miles of range in the U.S., and if the Soul EV is sharing an electric powertrain, we could see its range rating hover in the same area. Obviously, the figure is greater than the Bolt EV’s 238-mile estimated range.
Kia has largely made the current Soul EV a compliance car for sale in California with a 111-mile estimated range at present. However, the brand has discontinued the cheapest model in recent days, likely making room for the Niro EV and the next Soul EV itself.
At Chevrolet, we haven’t heard any whispers of increased range to the Bolt EV yet, but it a boost in range could certainly be on the table in the near future. GM has plans to introduce 20 new electric cars by 2023, though it remains to be seen how many will reach North America.
Spy shots: Autoblog