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Korea’s first electric car is coming to the U.S. next year

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We saw the Kia Soul EV spy shots almost three months ago, and now Kia has officially announced that its first battery-electric car will go on sale in the U.S. next year.

It’s an electric conversion of the new-for-2014 second generation of its “funky and iconic” Soul tall wagon, which Kia calls an “urban passenger vehicle.”

MORE: 2014 Kia Soul review

Kia hasn’t released any images of the Soul EV yet — those will come “closer to launch in 2014,” it says — but it’ll likely look pretty much like a 2014 Soul with some trim updates.

The 2015 Soul EV will be the first electric car from Korea to be sold in the U.S., though the carmaker has shown several concepts, among them the Kia Pop Concept three years ago.

Prototype 2015 Kia Soul EV electric cars, July 2013 [photo: Lee Colleton, used under CC-BY-SA]

The electric Soul will probably be sold as a 2015 model; Kia announced the upcoming model on Tuesday at a media launch event for the new 2014 Soul gasoline version.

The Soul EV battery-electric vehicle will be Kia’s second electrified car, following the Kia Optima Hybrid that was launched in 2011.

After criticism of its drivetrain smoothness, the Optima Hybrid was significantly updated for 2013, as was its Hyundai Sonata Hybrid sibling.

“More details about the Soul EV’s powertrain, range [and] MPGe, packaging and go-to-market strategy will be announced at an upcoming major U.S. auto show,” said Kia reps.

That is most likely the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, where media days start November 20.

The first-generation Soul was so successful that it outsold the Nissan Cube, Scion xB, and Mini Countryman, among other entries in the small wagon segment.

The upcoming Soul EV electric car will show off “Kia’s engineering capabilities as well as our commitment to producing vehicles with reduced environmental footprints,” according to Orth Hedrick, who’s the Kia Motors America executive director of product planning.

Stay tuned for news on the Kia Soul EV from Los Angeles in about six weeks.

This story originally appeared on Green Car Reports.

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