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The 2020 Kia Soul EV gets some shockingly big changes

Kia's electron-powered hamster-mobile gets a new battery pack that's twice as big as the old one.

Kia's brand-new, third-generation Soul debuted Wednesday at the LA Auto Show and with it comes a new battery-electric version, the Soul EV.

The new Soul EV gets a new lithium-ion polymer battery pack that's good for 64 kilowatt-hours of power. That more than doubles the capacity of the pack, and Kia isn't stopping there. The new Soul goes from CHAdeMO charging to a combined charging system (CCS) and is still DC fast charging compatible, which will help make the Soul a serious contender to something like the Nissan Leaf.

Kia is still doing testing to determine the actual range of its new battery, but we do know that the Soul EV makes as much horsepower as the turbocharged gasoline engine (201 hp) and significantly more torque than even the outgoing Soul EV (291 pound-feet versus 210). This should make for a pretty fun driving experience.

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The Soul EV has a few killer tricks up its sleeve to help make it an awesome everyday car. Among these is a new brake and hold feature that allows the steering wheel paddle to brake the vehicle to a stop without using the pedal. You can also select from four different driving modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport and Eco+.

The rest of the goodies that Kia lavished upon the internal combustion-powered Soul also make an appearance in the EV. That means Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth multiconnect and an available 10.25-inch touchscreen, as well as a ton of available safety features thanks to Kia Drive Wise.

The 2020 Kia Soul EV is set to go on sometime in 2019, with pricing details coming closer to the on-sale date.

Updated 11/29 8:14 A.M.: A previous version of this story mentioned DC fast charging compatibility but didn't mention a switch from CHAdeMO to CCS charging.