Kia’s Soul EV becomes best-selling electric car in S. Korea last year

February 23, 2015
The Kia Soul EV (Courtesy of Kia)

The Kia Soul EV (Courtesy of Kia)

(Yonhap) — Kia Motors Corp.’s Soul electric vehicle was the most widely sold model among battery-powered cars in South Korea last year, data showed Monday, with two other local autos ranking second and third.

A total of 414 units of the Soul EV were sold here in 2014, taking up more than a third of the 1,183 electric cars sold in the country over the one-year period, according to the data compiled by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Industry watchers said the popularity of the Soul EV is due largely to the 148-kilometer distance Kia Motors claims the car can travel on a single charge, allowing for longer trips compared with some of the other models sold here. In addition, the vehicle has a 10-year warranty, a market first for battery-powered cars.

The top three best-selling electric vehicles in South Korea were all locally manufactured models, as the SM3 ZE by Renault Samsung Motors Co. claimed the No. 2 spot with 309 units, followed by Kia Motors’ mini subcompact Ray EV at 202 units, the KAMA data showed.

German carmaker BMW’s five-door urban electric car i3 trailed the list with 170 units sold here last year, while GM Korea’s Spark EV and Nissan’s Leaf hatchback stood at fifth and sixth place after selling 70 units and 16 units, respectively, according to the data.

The South Korean electric car market has been rapidly expanding over the past few years, as last year’s sales figure marked a 65.5 percent increase from the 715 units sold in 2013.