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Kia Soul EV delayed until 2020 in the U.S.

by Ronan Glon

Early on, Kia will send most electric Souls to Europe.

While the third-generation Kia Soul is around the corner, buyers who want to put the electric model in their garage will need to wait a little bit longer. The automaker confirmed the American launch of its electric Soul has been delayed until 2020.

Michael Cole, the chief operating officer of Kia's American division, confirmed the delay in an interview with WardsAuto. He pinned the blame on a global supply issue. Kia's European division needs as many electric cars as possible to avoid paying sizable fines, and demand for the electric Soul is higher in Europe than in the United States, so a majority of the available Soul EVs will be allocated to markets like Norway and Germany during the first few months of the car's production run.

"The global demand for electrification, particularly in Europe with their [carbon-dioxide] taxation, [is high]. Everyone in Europe has to by 2020 get to this 95 grams [of CO2 per 100 km target]. The demand in other regions of the world for Niro product is extremely high," Cole explained.

Kia's prediction sounds accurate. The last-generation Soul EV is a shockingly common sight on Norwegian roads, and the automaker previously announced the third-generation Soul will only be sold as an electric vehicle in most European countries. Buyers who want a gasoline-powered model are out of luck. That's a bold move, and Kia needs to make sure it has the volume to see its plan through.

The story is considerably different in the United States. Cole confirmed that, when it goes on sale here, the electric Soul will only be available in the 14 states that follow California's zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) rules. In the meantime, the gasoline-powered model will arrive in showrooms by the early summer at the latest.

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