Unique rims, recharging points in the grille and decals set the EV apart from the existing Ray

Unique rims, recharging points in the grille and decals set the EV apart from the existing Ray

Kia Motors has launched its first plug-in car, the Ray EV. The new model is an electric version of the Ray, a city car that is sold only in the South Korean market.

The Ray EV is powered by a 50kW electric motor and a high-capacity 16.4 kWh lithium ion polymer battery pack. Kia claims that each has been engineered for a 10-year life cycle. They are installed under the rear seat and cabin floor. The car weighs 187kg more than the Ray, which is powered by a 1.0-litre petrol engine.

One novelty of the new model is the recorded sound of a small petrol engine, which is automatically broadcast when the Ray EV is moving forwards or backwards below speeds of 20km/h (12mph).

The little car is said to have a top speed of 130km/h (81mph), while recharging can be as rapid as 25 minutes via a fast-charger or as slow as six hours via a 220V household socket.

Kia has also made an attempt to prevent range anxiety via the instrumentation. This not only shows electric motor operation, battery status and distance remaining but also features an EV-specific navigation system. The nearest locations of slow/fast recharging stations can be displayed on the seven inch screen. There is also a circular shaped area in which the car can travel, allowing the driver to see which destinations are reachable without a recharge.

There are at present 500 slow/fast recharge stations in South Korea, and the government plans to increase that figure to 3,100 stations by the end of 2012.

As stated previously, Kia intends to build and deliver 2,500 units of the Ray EV during 2012. Each will be supplied to government departments and public offices. Both the Ray and the Ray EV come down the same production line at the Sohari plant.