Kia will launch an electric version of its Soul small minivan in Europe next year, the automaker's first battery-driven car to be sold outside Korea.
The Soul EV will use an electric motor powered by a lithium ion battery pack that sends 109hp to the front wheels. Kia says the Soul EV can be fully recharged in five hours using a domestic electricity outlet or to 80 percent of its capacity in 25 minutes using a fast-charging station.
Kia is targeting a 200km (120 mile) driving range on a single charge for the EV. By comparison, the Renault Zoe EV has driving range of about 150km (90 miles).
The automaker says it will maximize the potential range of the Soul EV using regenerative braking to capture and recycle energy into the battery generated while the car is coasting and braking.
The Soul EV can accelerate from 0 to 100km/h (62mph) in less than 12 seconds and has a top speed of around 150km/h (90mph), according to Kia. For pedestrian safety, the Soul EV will emit an artificial engine sound at speeds of less than 20km/h (12mph) and when the car is in reverse.
Other features distinguishing it from its gasoline-powered counterpart will be special 16-inch alloy wheels designed for aerodynamics, the company says, a unique instrument cluster and more eco-friendly interior materials.
Kia has not released pricing details for the Soul EV, but media reports suggest it will cost about 30,000 euros. By comparison, BMW's i3 EV, which goes on sale in Germany on November 16, will cost 34,950 euros.
A fleet of disguised prototypes of the Soul EV is currently being tested at Kia's Namyang r&d facility in Korea, as well as in Europe and North America, before series production begins in 2014.
Sales of the Soul EV will also begin in the United States next year.
Kia launched domestic sales of its first EV, the Ray small minivan, in Korea in late 2011.
While sibling brand Hyundai is focusing on hydrogen fuel cells as its zero-emission vehicle technology of choice, Kia is betting on battery EVs to help it comply with toughening global emissions standards.
Automotive News contributed to this report