Volume production of Kia’s new all-electric Soul EV is under way for export markets.

The model, the first electric vehicle the automaker will market outside South Korea, is being built at Kia's Gwangju facility in South Korea with production initially planned to reach 5,000 units annually.

The first export vehicles are destined for European countries and are scheduled to go on sale across the continent during the second half of the year.

“Although it is Kia's first globally sold all-electric vehicle, the Soul EV is our second-generation battery-electric vehicle and benefits significantly from our in-depth experience gained from development of the Ray EV and proven daily operations of the Ray EV fleet in Korea for the past three years,” Kia Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Thomas Oh says in a statement.

Featuring a high-capacity 192-cell. 27-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, the Soul EV is certified in Europe with a single-charge range of 132 miles (212 km).

Power comes from an 81-kW (109-hp) electric motor, producing 210 lb.-ft. (285 Nm) of torque, driving the front wheels via a single-speed, constant-ratio gear-reduction unit. Rapid acceleration to 62 mph (100 km/h) is projected to take 11.2 seconds, while top speed is about 90 mph (145 km/h).

The battery pack is mounted beneath the cabin, ensuring a low center of gravity and contributing to the car's ride and handling.

Recharging takes up to five hours for a fully depleted battery using a 6.6-kW AC slow charger. An 80% charge can be achieved in as little as 25 minutes with a 100-kW charger or 33 minutes using a 50-kW DC charger.