The very first 2015 Kia Soul EV electric cars are now being sold in California, adding a 19th plug-in vehicle to that state's market.
And its final EPA range and efficiency ratings may drive buyers in other states to demand that they get the chance to buy it too.
Given the apparent desire for plug-in family vehicles, this tall wagon may come closer to accommodating more kids and gears than other electric competitors.
The 2015 Soul EV is rated at 93 miles of range--more than any electric car on sale without a Tesla powertrain--and 105 MPGe, or Miles Per Gallon Equivalent.
Among larger electric cars, its 93-mile range is exceeded only by the 103-mile, Tesla-powered Toyota RAV4 EV electric crossover compliance car (which will soon end its limited sales run) and the two Tesla Model S versions, at 208 and 265 miles.
2015 Kia Soul EVEnlarge Photo
(The EPA website also lists the Chinese BYD e6 electric crossover at 127 miles, but that car is not sold to the public.)
The Soul EV's added range is due to a slightly larger lithium-ion battery pack: 28 kilowatt-hours rather than the Nissan Leaf's 24 kWh and various other cars that range from 20 to 24 kWh.
Moreover, the electric Soul's efficiency exceeds the notable 100-MPGe mark, putting it ahead of the far sleeker Tesla Model S--which is, of course, both larger and much faster.
It's exceeded by the smaller BMW i3 (the most efficient, at 124 MPGe), the Chevrolet Spark EV minicar (at 119 MPGe), and a number of other electric cars, many of them smaller.
The world's best-selling electric car, the Nissan Leaf, also beats the Soul at 114 MPGe; the low-volume Ford Focus Electric is rated at the same 105 MPGe as the Soul EV.
2015 Kia Soul EV enters productionEnlarge Photo
The upcoming Volkswagen e-Golf does slightly better even than the Leaf, at 116 MPGe.
MPGe stands for Miles Per Gallon Equivalent, the distance a car can travel electrically on the same amount of energy that's contained in 1 gallon of gasoline.
The 2015 Kia Soul EV will start at $34,500 before the $7,500 Federal income-tax credit for electric cars, and any available state and local incentives.
The base model includes navigation, a rearview camera, and the UVO EV Services smartphone app. For an additional $2,000 , the Soul EV Plus adds leather seats with heating and ventilation for the driver and front passenger, power-folding exterior mirrors, projection-style fog lamps, among other features.
The 2015 Kia Soul EV will also be offered at a lease rate of $249 a month for 36 months, with $1,999 due at signing. Note that this rate includes the $7,500 Federal tax credit, thereby lowering the monthly cost.