Big Guy Car Guy

A Sputtering Start To A Plugged-In Life

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The Kia Soul EV may be a car for the raddest of individuals, people who want to zig when others zag and plug-in while others fuel up, but it’s certainly not for the lazy.

If this story would’ve been set a month earlier, in summer’s bloated belly full of burgers & corn on the cob, the light of day wouldn’t have yet died and maybe I’d have ventured the 25 feet required to plug in the car. Instead, I rubbed the sleep that had already taken up residence in the corners of my seasonally bloodshot eyes, took my maintenance meds with a chug of cold water, and retired to the bedroom with a book and with ideas on waking up early to get in a run or a hike or something physical before Saturday had legs of its own.

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It’s because I didn’t plug in the Soul EV until 6:32am, before wobbling down the street for the start of a hybrid 40 minutes of run-jog-walk-aching, that we’d later leave for an 84-mile round trip drive to my parent’s house for their end of summer pool party with only 69 miles of range on the EV’s battery. D’oh.

My dad graciously moved their car out of the garage so I could charge up during the day but (and I was told about this ahead of time) the juice squeezed from a standard wall outlet trickles out like water from the faucet a toddler never turns off fully. After 7 hours poolside with family, we needed an extra boost (and quickly) to confidently make the moonlit reverse journey. And so my oldest daughter and I sat in a Walgreen’s parking lot for an hour, sucking up $2.30 worth of energy from a 240V Level 2 SemaConnect EV charging station while listening to 99% Invisible and Planet Money podcasts. A dorkier sentence I have never written.

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Once home, I plugged into the standard 120V outlet on the outside of our home, the one that powers tasteful, multi-colored small bulb Christmas lights for a single month each year and not much else for the other eleven, and our Soul EV got back up to 100% charged overnight (96 mile range). We then spent the rest of the long weekend making a pair of trips to a local farm to pick end of season bi-colored corn and munch on warm apple cider donuts, going grocery shopping, running errands for this or that, and heading out to dinner once without spending a single penny on gas, and without plugging in a single time. This is where the Soul EV earns its stripes and turns heads.

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Those run of the mill vehicular movements in and around our house, at $2.40 per gallon or so at the pump, would’ve added about $10 to our weekend tab but not with the Kia Soul EV. The car can make an 84-mile roundtrip to a pool party without issue with some forethought and smart driving (don’t floor it on green lights) but it excels as a local car, getting you all over your town in style, without worry or planning, for free*. Just charge her up Sunday night into Monday morn and the Soul EV will be ready for the workweek, which is what the Mrs is doing right now. She goes back and forth for entire M-F stretches without having to plug in once during the week (although her office does have 240V EV charging stations — but that’s a story for another day!), then charges it Friday into Saturday and has it ready for the weekend.

That’s serious peace of mind and is so freaking economical that the Kia Soul EV is giving my family-budget-spreadsheet-loving heart a full charge, full stop.

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*Yes, electricity comes at a cost it’s pennies on the dollar compared to repeated fueling ‘at the pump’.

*OWTK is a Kia Ambassador. We currently have this Kia Soul EV on loan so that we can tell the story of how Kia’s electric vehicle fits into the everyday life of a suburban family and how a sore-legged guy was too lazy to walk outside for 3 minutes to charge up the night before a long drive. The opinions expressed above are honest and unbiased, as always.

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