Kia Soul EV long-term test: report 7

Our sub-editor wants to go green with an electric car but doesn't want to miss out on making occasional long trips. Does the Kia Soul EV go the distance?...

Kia Soul EV 2021 long-term phone box rear

The car Kia Soul EV Run by Chris Haining, sub-editor

Why it’s here To find out whether electricity really can replace petrol when it comes to flexibility, cost and convenience

Needs to Cope with country lanes and motorways alike, accommodate an active lifestyle and be easy to live with day to day

Mileage 5643 List price £34,995 Target Price £34,995 Price as tested £34,995 Official range 280 miles Test range 276 miles

2 February 2022 – The EV mindset

As I ambled around the countryside in my Kia Soul EV the other day, an old red phone box got me thinking. These days it’s increasingly unlikely that a phone box will contain a telephone. Some local to me have been repurposed to house defibrillators, others – including the one in these photos – now serve as tiny libraries.

In other words, the way we use them has changed. To make a call, most of us reach into our pockets. And now, in some cases, we head to the phone box to pick up a book. If you see a phone box these days, the chances are that it has some new and exciting function, and is worthy of investigation.

Kia Soul EV 2021 long-term charging, reclined

Similarly, the Soul EV has made me think long and hard about how I use my car. At the beginning of my time with it, I worried that its 280-mile official range might be a hindrance, but a holiday in Cornwall quickly dispelled that fear; I just had to do a bit of planning. And such a trip is only an annual treat, if that.

Not so my commute to the office – a 230-mile round trip. But even in the bleak midwinter, when cold weather plays havoc with battery capacity, the Soul EV has proved up to the task. The only issue is that, with no fast-charging facilities at home, I have to visit my nearest 100kW rapid charger to do the trip on consecutive days. 

Kia Soul EV 2021 long-term phone box, rear

That’s okay, it just requires a change of mindset. And here’s the thing. When I fuel up my old petrol car, I’m in the habit of putting £20 worth in at a time, minimising the pain of spiralling petrol prices. I can only travel about 100 miles before I need to fill up again, but because I mainly use the car for trundling around town and occasional trips to see my parents or into the metropolis of Colchester, that can take a while.

Now, I can put 50 miles in the Soul EV’s “tank” by simply plugging it into a three-pin socket of an evening. I can add another 50 miles the next. I only need a full battery when it’s time to make a long trip – and I can plan for those accordingly. It strikes me that I adopted an EV mindset long before I got the car to match. 

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