The replacement for the Kia Soul EV may not come to the United States after all. Despite the company’s plans to introduce it here last year, presumably as a 2020 model, a Kia source has reportedly told Roadshow that plans to bring the next-generation compact electric hatchback to the U.S. have effectively been canceled.
While Kia has not officially commented on the current status of the Soul EV, its delayed introduction is a troublesome signal to those who hoped to see the second-generation electric hatchback on U.S. dealer lots. While a delay of just a year is fairly minor compared to what we’ve seen from some promised introductions in the past decade (looking at you, Mazda), this rumor — combined with the lack of official updates from Kia — is nonetheless concerning to those who were excited by the prospect of Kia’s small EV returning.
The Soul EV has been on sale in Europe since late last year. It can drive for up to 243 miles on a single charge, which is about double that of the last-generation model. Kia originally blamed the delay on supply issues related to its battery pack, which it shares with the Hyundai Kona Electric, and Kia Niro EV. Roadshow speculates that priority is being given to the Niro here in the United States, as it is already on sale and its crossover format gives it an advantage with American buyers.
When reached for comment, a Kia spokesperson confirmed that the company is focused on Niro EV deliveries and that the Soul EV is not expected to arrive any sooner than 2021, but stopped short of confirming that it is currently on track for release next year.
If this rumor turns out to be accurate, it will be a blow to the compact electric car segment, as the Soul EV looked to be a highly competitive entry, with more polish and refinement than the Chevrolet Bolt and a healthy range advantage over the Nissan Leaf.