Just one month after introducing the Kia Ray to the Korean market last month, the automaker is already launching an electric version. The Kia Ray EV is the country’s first production electric vehicle, and will be offered exclusively in the company's domestic market.
The little EV has a range of up to 86 miles on a single charge, and is powered by a 50-kW electric motor that puts out 129 lb-ft. or torque. That motor allows the Ray to sprint from 0-62 mph in 15.9 seconds, and hit a top speed of 81 mph. A 16.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack is tucked underneath the rear seat and cabin floor; charging can be accomplished in as little as 25 minutes or as long as six hours. Kia says the battery has a 10-year life span.
The EV Ray shares the same dimensions as its gasoline-powered counterpart that we showed you last month, with the same 99-inch wheelbase, and the different doors on each side: two traditional-opening doors are on the driver’s side, and a traditional front-passenger door with a sliding rear passenger door are on the opposite side. The electric variant weighs 412 pounds more, and wears a flap in the front grille that covers the 220-volt charging inlet. It’s also slapped with “Zero Emissions EV” decals on the front doors, while unique 14-inch alloy wheels help minimize drag.
Inside, the EV’s instrument cluster displays electric motor operation, battery status, and distance to recharge. A seven-inch EV-specific navigation system is also a first, and aids drivers by notifying them of nearby EV charging stations. Also new for the Ray is a braking system that uses an active hydraulic booster that has the ability to store excess energy and use it to recharge the battery. While on the road, drivers have the choice of putting the Ray in “E” (eco) mode, which distributes the delivery of the motor’s torque, or “B” (brake) mode, which is designed primarily for traveling down steep grades. The Ray EV comes standard with six airbags, stability control, and hill start assist. Being that the Ray EV is quiet, A Virtual Engine Sound System alerts pedestrians with recorded engine noises.
Kia plans to produce 2500 units in 2012, but initially only for government agency use. The automaker is also celebrating the fact that the Ray shares the same production line as conventional gasoline-powered cars.