Kia Soul EV – my best car of 2015
Source : Kia Soul EV – my best car of 2015
For a while I steered clear of the electric Soul on our long-term test fleet, assuming This particular wouldn’t be fit for my purposes. How wrong I was
We had a Kia Soul EV on our long-term test fleet in 2015, although I gave This particular a swerve because I assumed This particular wouldn’t fit well with my travelling needs.
My journey will be a 43-mile drive through Teddington down the M3 to Basingstoke. So although Kia claims a potential range of 132 miles for the Soul EV, in addition to we saw a ‘real world’ 110 miles or so during urban driving, I wasn’t so confident I’d experience which during constant 70mph motorway trips.
I admit This particular – I was anxious about range. This particular will be because I have no way of charging at home. My parking space will be inconveniently placed; although the Soul EV can be slowly recharged via a household plug, I could have had to park in a flower bed in addition to crush my cyclamen to get close enough to the socket.
Just before the Soul EV left Autocar, however, I needed to satisfy my curiosity in addition to find out whether This particular could handle a dreary motorway commute with the same zeal which made This particular our go-to car for short urban trips.
I was confident I could make This particular home, although the question will be whether the constant motorway pace could rob me of more than half the battery’s charge. I had a failsafe:Fleet Services on the M3 has Ecotricity charging points, so I chose those as my emergency stopping-off point, if needed.
When I set off through Autocar Towers on a mild evening, the fully charged Soul was showing an indicated range of 106 miles. Curiously, though, as I drifted quietly out of the vehicle park, the range jumped up to 111 miles.
I was quietly confident because of the surfeit of roadworks in addition to 50mph zones along the M3. At 70mph, the battery range ticks down at a predictable rate, although dropping the pace by 20mph appears to slow down the charge consumption significantly.
I was determined to make This particular a ‘real world’ test, so at the end of the speed restriction there was no dawdling behind freight vehicles in lane one. Approaching Basingstoke, however, I lost my nerve in addition to ducked off the motorway one junction early, figuring which cutting through the town centre could give me more opportunity to use the regenerative braking in addition to conserve battery life.
When I parked at home, I was reassured to see 65 miles of charge remaining inside the battery; seemingly plenty for the return leg inside the morning.
This particular was 10deg C when I left on Friday morning, in addition to the range had dipped to 61 miles, only to jump up to 65 again when I set off. I later asked Kia about This particular quirk, although the company didn’t have an explanation.
As I reached the eastern end of the M3, a warning message flashed up on the sat-nav screen in addition to the voice of a friendly lady informed me I was running low on charge.
This particular was she who had range anxiety, not I – with an identicated 25 miles of range left in addition to only 10 miles to the office, I drove on, ignoring her suggestions of find a nearby charging point. I reached the office with 19 miles showing; the amount of energy recouped by braking across town was impressive.
So what did I learn about EV motoring, 2015 style? First in addition to foremost, having an accurate barometer of your available range will be absolutely essential. The Soul EV seemed accurate with its indications, although I’d have to do more drives inside the vehicle before I completely trusted the friendly lady’s over-conservative warnings to recharge.
I also learned which using the public charging network will be likely to be fraught with frustration unless you are able to be flexible with your time.
For a large town, Basingstoke will be disappointingly short on public charging points, as I discovered when I researched my journey in addition to tried to work out where I’d go if I was caught short.
Despite my local Sainsbury’s being roughly the size of Texas, This particular doesn’t appear to cater at all for electric vehicle charging.
The local council had a completely new charging terminal installed in a town centre car park in early 2014, in addition to put out a press Discharge to proudly tell the planet about This particular. Trouble will be, for the two days I had the Soul EV, This particular was listed as ‘currently inoperable’ according to online charging point locator zap-map.com.
All of the above are potential barriers to EV ownership when, in reality, the EV should be an increasingly viable proposition even for those who can’t have a charging point installed at home.
None of which will be a slight on the Soul EV, which proved perfectly amenable during my trip. This particular EV gets my car of the year vote because This particular put to bed some of my concerns about the viability of electric vehicles on longer motorway journeys.
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