Auto Tech

Kia Ray EV rolls into Seoul

Kia Motors introduced Korea's first production EV, with the launch of the new Kia Ray EV, a zero-emissions city car with lively performance and a range of up to 86 miles on a single charge.

Kia brings Korea's first production electric vehicle to market.

The front-wheel-drive Kia Ray EV is powered by a 50-kW electric motor and a high-capacity 16.4kWh lithium ion polymer battery pack, and has range of up to 86 miles on a single charge. The Ray EV is also loaded with some innovative new technology.

The Ray EV weighs 412 pounds more than the gasoline model, but is still closely related to the 1-liter gasoline powered Kia Ray CUV. The Ray EV can share a production line with the conventional combustion-engine cars, Kia said in a press release.

The Ray EV is designed to get around town with a torque of 123 foot-pounds, an acceleration of 0-to-62 mph in 15.9 seconds, and a top speed of 81 mph.

The automatic transmission of the Ray EV has two modes: "D" (drive) or "E" (eco), which optimizes the delivery of the motor's torque to achieve minimum battery consumption and maximum driving range. The Ray EV's brake mode can be used when driving downhill to maximize braking power.

The Ray EV comes with two recharging modes: 6 hours using a 220-volt household supply of 25 minutes at fast-charging stations. Drivers can recharge at any one of the 500 slow/fast recharge stations in Korea. According to Kia, the government plans to increase that figure to 3,100 stations by the end of 2012.

Technological advances on the Ray EV include an onboard charger, current inverter, high-low voltage converter, and an EV-specific VCU (vehicle control unit).

The Ray EV's electric motor is 93 percent more efficient than competing vehicles in the segment. The battery pack weighs 13 percent less and has energy density that is 15 percent more than competitors' systems, Kia said in the press release.

Even when stopping, the Ray EV is assisted by new technology. A regenerative braking system features an active hydraulic booster that uses the electric motor, instead of the gasoline engine, to create hydraulic pressure for the brake system. "The result is consistent brake pedal force throughout a wide variety of driving conditions and the ability to harvest excess energy and use it to recharge the car's battery," Kia said.