This month’s article of The Electric Age is all about the smaller electric cars coming onto the market. More and more car manufacturers are taking to EVs and we can’t forget the little guys, bigger doesn’t always mean better after all.
Kicking it Kia
The 2020 Kia Soul is set to bring form, function and fun to the world of EVs. The 2020 edition of the Soul has all the functionality you would expect from a hatchback, but brings an updated twist for improved drivability and comfort.
Set to launch as a high specification ‘first edition’ long range vehicle equipped with a 64 kWh battery. This version promises up to 280 miles* range and will feature a 201 brake horsepower (bph) electric motor, capable of 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds.
A 39.2kWh battery version is expected further down the line. Delivering 172 miles* of range via a 134bhp electric motor. The performance offered by these vehicles is quite impressive noting their smaller size.
The cells of the battery hold 25% more energy per unit of volume than other models. Meaning Kia has been able to deliver a big range boost, while keeping the battery as light and compact as possible.
To alter the strength of the electric cars regenerative braking Kia have installed paddles behind the steering wheel to adjust these levels. The Soul offers four drive modes: Normal, Eco, Eco+ and Sport. Each mode offers varying levels of acceleration, regenerative braking power and interior ventilation.
Kia claims that you can obtain a 20-80% charge in just 42 minutes from a 100kW charger. The Soul EV’s charging socket is conveniently located beneath a panel at the front of the car.
Fans of the original will recognise the familiar boxy style instantly. However, the front and rear is designed to be more aerodynamic with bumpers instead of a large grille opening. Other features of the exterior will include unique LED headlights, fog lights, and taillights. The Souls wheels will make the EV clearly identifiable on the road with five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels.
Whilst the exterior of the Soul EV is funky, the interior takes a more simplistic and classic approach with touches of modern elements. Mood lighting is one of the unique additional options available in the premium version of this new model. We know what your thinking, and yes of course the mood lighting in the 2020 Kia Soul works with music. The lights surrounding the front cabin speakers and cup holders will pulse and change color with the music. It will be like you’re at a rock concert.
A new 10.3-inch touchscreen displays the battery percentage, charging information, and infotainment features. Along with this an app will give you real-time data, and can tell you the current status of your car. The app will also allow you to set navigation directions or activate and set climate preconditioning.
The Soul EV makes driving a breeze with full-range adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot-monitoring system, pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking. As well as these driving features, Kia’s active lane control will keep you centered in your lane.
Making it Mini
Automotive manufacturer MINI has announced the new 2020 MINI Cooper SE. This will be an all-electric version of its iconic vehicle, keeping the same recognisable features that everyone knows and loves.
Designed for city driving, the electric car is set to feature a horsepower rating of 181, a 0-60mph rate of 6.9 seconds and a top speed of around 93 mph. The 32.6kWh battery of the MINI offers a mile range between 146 and 168 miles*. The battery in the MINI SE is the same as that of the BMW i3 94Ah. Although this EV may not offer the longest range compared to other electric cars on the market such as the Tesla Model 3 Long Range, Jaguar I-Pace or Audi e-tron. The MINI SE will be ideal for those who are looking for an electric vehicle to commute in, especially those travelling in and around London who are exempt from the ULEZ. The battery and mile range is maximised through a two-mode regenerative braking system that feeds power back into the battery.
The MINI SE comes with AC Charging of up to 7.4-kilowatts, which can charge the EV to 100% within four hours. The car can also charge up to 80% in 35 minutes when using a 50-kilowatt DC charger.
When charging the MINI there is an LED status indicator to tell you when the car is charging. As well as a programmable locking feature to prevent the charging cable from being unplugged when in use. This EV also automatically unlocks the charging cable when it’s fully charged.
Whilst the exterior design of the MINI isn’t revolutionary and is a mere mirror image to its Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) counterpart, it does have some upgraded features as well as being more eco friendly.
A common element to many electric cars now is keyless entry and the MINI is no exception. Gone are the days fumbling with your car keys. Another positive of electric cars is the quiet drive that it offers, without any engine rattling over there is practically no noise. Some disagree with this and say it is a negative. However, MINI have fitted this EV with acoustic pedestrian protection. This element warns pedestrians nearby through projecting an external driving noise via a speaker system when driving at low speeds.
You may be wondering is it really like for like to its ICE counterpart? Appearance wise this electric car is practically the same. However, the electric model is raised 0.7 inches. This is to accommodate the floor-mounted battery packs and the HVAC heat pump. Although this is a smaller EV, there is still plenty of room to offer with the ability to store upto 211 litres of luggage in the boot. The boot can be expanded to 731 litres, when the rear seats are collapsed.
This EV has subtle yellow accents across the vehicles design and the hexagonal contoured grille is closed. The grille displays a yellow decorative bar in the same yellow color, thereby rounding off the model-specific design features.
MINI’s classic style interior has been jazzed up for the new modern electric version. The dynamic instrument panel includes a digital speedometer and graphics that show the charge and power levels, the cluster also has scrollable data that displays the remaining range and charge levels.
The new MINI Cooper SE instrument cluster consists of a 5.5-inch color screen behind the steering wheel. During charging, the digital instrument panel also shows the driver important information such as the time at which the battery will be fully charged. Other special interior features of this EV include the gear stick and electric parking brake on the center console.
The new MINI Cooper SE includes a two zone automatic air conditioning system with separate ventilation and temperature control for the driver and front passenger sides. The driver can also use the MINI Connected App to set the intended time of departure/driving to pre-condition the interior in advance.
When driving the SE it can be controlled and driven with a single pedal. This is due to the EV being able to decelerate at low speeds without using the brakes. Whilst the active driver assistant provides the driver with a forward collision warning. The design of the car has a low center of gravity to accommodate the battery. This gives the MINI SE its agility and ease in maneuvering, making it the perfect EV for city driving and commuting.
Introducing the Honda e, the car manufacturers first all-electric vehicle. If you’re a fan of smaller boxy cars, then this is for you.
Similar to the other smaller electric cars, the Honda is best suited for city and urban driving. The Honda is powered by its rear wheels, which is connected to a high-torque electric motor.
With an estimated range of 136* miles, the Honda e will feature a 36kWh lithium-ion battery. This is positioned centrally in the skateboard of the car. Offering an even 50:50 weight distribution, aiding the handling of the EV. The 0-60mph rate of just under 8 seconds, isn’t the most impressive on the market. However, you need to remember this EV is not for racing around a track.
The battery is water-cooled, to maintain the optimum operating temperature. When charging the Honda e you can use both a Type 2 AC connection or a CCS2 DC rapid charger. The rapid charger will provide up to 80 percent charge in 30 minutes.
The Honda e’s charging point is easily accessible via the bonnet. An LED indicator displays the vehicle charging status.
The Honda e takes a more retro approach to looks and style. It somehow manages to merge consumers desire for advanced technology and yet it still looks vintage.
Some of the key features of the e include; side-mounted cameras that replace the conventional mirrors. Linked with two 6-inch screens mounted in the interior corners of the EV, that display the vehicle’s surroundings to the driver. The front cabin door handles sit flush to the body, springing out automatically when a hand approaches. This is similar to the design of the Jaguar and Tesla Model S, as it improves the vehicles aerodynamics. The rear doors have conventional handles. However, these are disguised next to the window glass, similar to the BMW i3.
The front headlights, radar and multi-view camera, are all assembled in a single panel, to streamline the exterior appearance.
Inside the Honda e it is spacious, calm and serene. A light and airy layout provides the driver and passengers room to move with ease. The rear seating area offers a substantial amount of legroom and is rumoured to be one of the most spacious cars you can own in the small-car category.
Spacious, light and comfortable. The interior is different from anything you’ve ever experienced.
A five-screen digital dashboard made up of two 12.3-inch infotainment touch screens in the center. While an 8.8-inch screen acts as the driver’s instrument cluster. There’s also a Honda Assistant in the electric car, along with a counterpart app. The My Honda+ app provides users with remote climate control, security and location monitoring. As well as digital key access to lock and unlock the car.
The Honda e has been designed to deliver ‘next-generation small car agility to make city driving enjoyable and tight maneuvers in urban environments effortless.’
With two drive modes; Normal, for a quiet refined drive around town and Sport, for increased responsiveness. Sport mode also adjusts the suspension for better handling when you’re zipping around corners.
As well as these two modes the Honda e comes equipped with other features to ease the driving experience. Lead car departure notification system, alerts the driver when the vehicle in front has moved ahead from standstill. Collision mitigation throttle control, prevents sudden acceleration when following cars in traffic. Last but not least, low speed brake function; If you’re close to an object that you may not have noticed, the Honda e will apply emergency braking while driving at low speeds.
What would you like to see here at EVision?
Whilst these exciting electric cars have not been released yet, we are certain that our wide range of EVs available for long-term and short-term hire will not disappoint.
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