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Kia Ray plug-in Hybrid revealed

Sun, 14 Feb 2010

Kia has revealed their plug-in hybrid concept - the Kia Ray - at the Chicago Motor Show

A few weeks ago we reported on a tease from Kia of the Kia Ray Concept they were taking along to Detroit’s lower key motor show sibling – the Chicago Motor Show. And true to their word they revealed the Kia Ray at Chicago – and a convincing Prius rival it looks.

Instead of the stodgy mainstream hybrids churned out to date by (mainly) the Japanese, the Kia looks like a breath of fresh air. It seems Kia has decided a hybrid doesn’t need to look lumpy and boring but can look fresh and interesting.

Although only a concept, we believe that the technology in the Ray Concept will first of all find a home in the new Kia Cee’d due in a couple of years. It seems as if Kia has no intention of having a seperate ‘Eco’ range, but wants to offer plug-in hybrid options across its range.

The Ray Concept gets a 1.4 litre, 150bhp  petrol engine and a 78kW electric motor, which can work as a combined unit or together. Which means the Kia Ray has the ability to run in electric-only mode for 50 miles but has a full range of up to 750 miles.

Despite using similar drag reducing elements as other hybrids, the Kia Ray still conspires to look like a modern mainstream car, rather than having ‘Look at me – I’m Green’ looks. It has a very low drag coefficient (0.25), skinny 20″ wheels with low rolling resistance tyres and a smooth one-piece underbody. It also has roof-mounted solar cells which generate power to help run the ancillaries. The only downside – for us – is the use of a CVT ‘box, which takes away the pleasure of the ‘Drive’.

If we have to go the hybrid route, at least Kia are making their hybrid look appealing. Which helps.

By Cars UK