Kia revealed its concept Kia Ray plug in hybrid at the 2010 Chicago auto show. Powered by a 1.4-liter direct-injection four-cylinder gasoline engine that puts out 153 horsepower. Coupled to that, is a 78kW electric motor that is capable of propelling the Ray over 80 km by itself on a full charge of its lithium-polymer batteries. A CVT transmission sends power to the Ray’s front wheels and completes the package.
To make the most of that hybrid powertrain, a number of tricks are employed to give the Ray a claimed 1.16 L/100km fuel economy rating and a massive 1,200km range when both electric and gasoline propulsion is employed. Aerodynamically, the Ray’s underbody is slippery-smooth and all of one piece. Driving lights slide away to reveal air intakes only when needed by the gasoline motor. Flush-mounted tall and narrow wheels smooth out side airflow while flush-mounted cameras are used to replace the conventional and bulky side mirrors. Solar cells are embedded in the glass roof to send power to the climate control system as well as giving extra lighting. The roof itself is specially treated to deflect heat from the interior.
The body is made from lightweight recycled materials and all seams and edges are kept to a minimum so as not to disrupt the Ray’s slippery aero profile. At the rear of the vehicle, a U-shaped decklid extends at speed to smooth out airflow even more, then retracts when it is no longer needed. Rear-hinged rear doors aid ingress and egress from the low-slung Ray, and the overall profile is sporty and coupe-like in nature.
Inside the Ray, leather combines with a hexagonal mesh material that is both lightweight and resistant to heat absorption, keeping the interior both lightweight and comfortable.