Driving an all-electric car is a life-changing experience. It’s not simply the powertrain and not having to refuel or worrying about driving range or the amount of technology integrated into electric cars including advanced telematics, it is the entire culture and the communities who foster and advance electric propulsion. I had a chance to spend extended time with the Kia Soul EV and beyond being impressed, I experienced life changes that not only made me live healthier but also had a positive impact on the planet. The Kia Soul EV is capable of 3 levels of charging which makes it unique in its segment. You can use the Level 3 CHAdeMO 480V, the Level 2 240V or the standard Level 1 wall charger with 120V. During my 2 weeks I used a combination of all 3. I was able to use a Level 3 at MOM’s Organic Market in Frederick, MD which gave me an 84-mile driving range in less than an hour. This allowed flexibility to travel to Northern VA, Western MD or the nation’s capital, DC. I signed up for a ChargePoint account and was able to use my mobile phone to pay for using their Level 2 chargers. Not with MOM’s, however, their Level 3 access were free 24 hours a day and I used the time to shop. With the ChargePoint chargers it took about 4 hours to get a full charge. However, I rarely got below 30% and I planned my trips around production of our publication, building a gaming computer we were reviewing, visiting family or even going to the library. Each charge was a few dollars as in less than $4 to fill up, which was less than a latte or a meal. At home, I was able to plug it outside into a regular wall outlet which took almost a day or about 21 hours to fully reach the 90-mile range with the Soul EV. I walked more, got a chance to notice so many things locally, and visit landmarks often taken for granted. I even charged up at FedEx Field for free. There were no shortages of places to charge locally, though gaps exist in some counties who haven’t gone full bore in their support. Tax credits of up to $30,000 exist for businesses to build charging infrastructure and some like MOM’s Organic use alternative power entirely. The Soul EV is stylish, handles great, has tons of cargo and great telematics especially a Navigation system that lets you know where the nearest charging stations are. The base price on the Soul EV is $33,700. For more info, visit www.kia.com.
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