The next-generation Kia Soul EV electric car won’t go on sale in the United States for the 2020 model year, as originally stated by Kia. The U.S. launch has been pushed back until the 2021 calendar year at the earliest, according to Green Car Reports, which cites a Kia spokesperson.
When the third-generation Kia Soul was unveiled in November 2018 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, both gasoline and all-electric versions were shown. But while the gasoline Soul is now on sale in the U.S., the Soul EV has been held up. The car, which is already on sale in Europe, was originally expected to hit U.S. showrooms in the spring of 2019. U.S. buyers will now have to wait roughly two years, although even the 2021 target date is subject to change, according to Green Car Reports. Limited production capacity is causing the delay.
“The global demand for Kia electric vehicles continues to grow and exceeds Kia’s current production capacity,” a Kia spokesperson told Digital Trends. “To address supply constraints, Kia Motors America (KMA) has decided to delay the Soul EV to the 2021 calendar year. This action will allow KMA to concentrate the limited supply of EV components to one model, the Niro EV, to better meet customer demand.”
Supply constraints have also slowed the U.S. rollout of the Hyundai Kona Electric, which the Soul EV shares a basic platform with. The Kona has received praise from reviewers and has among the longest ranges of any mainstream electric car (an EPA-rated 258 miles), but Hyundai has been slow to expand sales.
The new Soul EV could be worth the wait, though. It’s expected to dramatically improve on the range of its predecessor, which was rated at 111 miles. The EPA has already confirmed a range rating of 243 miles for the new model. The new Soul EV boasts a 64-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, and an electric motor making 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque.
The Soul EV shares its battery pack and electric powertrain with the Kia Niro EV, which is currently available in the U.S. (Kia also sells hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Niro). The Niro takes a slight hit in range compared to the Soul (it’s rated at 239 miles). The Niro EV is equipped with a Combined Charging Standard (CCS) DC fast-charging system that can complete an 80 percent recharge in 75 minutes, according to Kia. That’s a bit slower than rivals, so hopefully, Kia can improve performance for the Soul EV ahead of the car’s U.S. launch.
It’s unclear how Kia will position the two models to avoid them cannibalizing each other’s sales. Kia currently sells electric cars in just 13 states, but that could change as the automaker, along with parent brand Hyundai, moves to add more zero-emission models to its lineup.
Updated on October 21, 2019: Added statement from a Kia spokesperson.