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Geneva Motor Show: Kia to show Soul EV

Set to start production in the second half of 2014, the model is the brand's first globally sold electric vehicle and features a 107bhp, 210lb.ft electric motor powered by a lithium-ion polymer battery under the rear seats to maximise luggage space.

According to the brand, range is around 124 miles (200km) on a single charge, aided by new advanced heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technologies, including a world-first “driver-only” individual ventilation system, four-mode regenerative braking and a battery heating system.

Geneva will also see Kia display a standalone exhibit of a new hybrid technology, developed by the brand's European R&D centre for use in future Kia models.

The hybrid system consists of a 48V lead carbon battery connected to a small electric motor, increasing the engine's power output. The battery also supplies energy to an electric super-charger, which increases torque and power at low engine speeds. Under the right conditions, the hybrid powertrain can drive a car in electric-only mode at low speeds and while cruising, while the battery is recharged under deceleration. And when the car is stationary, the technology also acts as a zero-emissions stop-start system.

Joining the stand will be the 2014 Kia Sportage – which features design changes as well as the addition of a new premium sound system, LED rear lamps, Kia's FlexSteer system, heated steering wheel and a new 4.2-inch TFT LCD supervision cluster.

Also making its European debut, the upgraded Kia Optima Hybrid receives a number of changes, including new front and rear bumpers, LED fog lamps and a revised design for Kia's trademark “tiger nose” grille.

The latest Optima Hybrid will also be fitted with a range of new features, including Kia's third-generation regenerative braking system with greater braking feel and response, a new touchscreen interface specific to the Hybrid system and a new (optional) High Tech Pack (incorporating Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Detection and Smart Parking Assist systems).

The upgraded Optima Hybrid is scheduled to start production in Korea during April 2014 and will go on sale later in the year in left-hand drive only.

The brand’s show line-up is completed by the GT4 Stinger concept car, which made its global debut at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this year and is not currently planned to go into production.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.