The Kia Soul EV has been spied testing in Kansas City, Missouri ahead of its launch in North America next year.

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The full-electric Kia Soul will see the South Korean brand’s entry into the EV market and push the case to meet California’s ever-stringent zero-emission mandates.

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The electric Soul gains about 200kg in battery weight for a total weight of 1429kg. For that extra weight, it gets an 81.4-kilowatt electric motor that pumps out a reasonable 109 horsepower and 285Nm of torque. The battery pack itself is a 27-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion system that is derived from the Kia Optima hybrid.

Kia claims the Soul EV will run on electric charge for around 199km and that its battery pack has 46 percent better density than its main rival, the Nissan LEAF.

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Despite the extra torque (over the petrol variant), the Soul EV goes from 0-100km/h in around 12 seconds with a top speed of around 145km/h.

The Soul EV has been undergoing testing in South Korea and as these photos suggest, is gearing up for a media promotion ahead of its launch at the Chicago motor show later this month.

The Soul EV is distinguished from its regular model with light blue bodywork accents, a blue roof, unique wheels and an updated rear fascia. It also displays a closed off grille that houses a charging point.

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Kia Australia’s general manager of public relations, Kevin Hepworth, told CarAdvice the Kia Soul EV is not on the cards for our market, at least for the short term.