Kia Motors has unveiled its "Ray" plug-in Hybrid concept at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show, to highlight its innovative fuel-stretching and emissions-cutting technologies.
Following the Kia Borrego Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV), the Forte LPI Hybrid, the petrol cee'd Hybrid and the twin-turbo diesel Sorento Hybrid the "Ray" concept is a bold new collaboration between design and engineering and inventively showcases a futuristic four-seat compact saloon based on the Kia Forte platform.
Designed with lightweight and recycled materials, as well as hexagonal solar cells embedded in the glass roof panel to power extra lighting or climate control systems, the Kia "Ray" boasts a range of up to 746 miles.
"It is important to imagine early in the design process what people will want in the future from a green perspective. People want to reduce their carbon footprint without driving carbon copies," said Peter Schreyer, Chief Design Officer for the Kia Motors Corporation.
"Being green doesn't have to be an obvious statement anymore and the Kia "Ray" exemplifies a viable blend of modern, eco-minded features for today's environmentally conscious consumers," he added.
The stylish, aerodynamic "Ray" combines design and engineering for maximum efficiency, incorporating clean, flush surfaces minimising unnecessary edges giving a flowing profile and a pronounced rear shoulder ending in a slightly higher deck for reduced drag.
The "Ray" also features touch-screen controls, drive-by-wire steering, "cool-glazing" solar glass and a lithium-polymer battery - all possible indicators of future technology from Kia. As a plug-in hybrid, "Ray" is designed to cover driving distances of more than 50 miles using just its electric motor on a single charge, and has a fuel economy rating of more than 202 miles per gallon for a total range of 746 miles.
Striking Aircraft-Inspired Exterior Design
A lowered mono-volume shape and a strong, curvaceous silhouette give the Kia "Ray" concept better aerodynamic properties than taller profile hybrid vehicles.
Strong, lightweight materials are used to support the EcoDynamics philosophy. The LED Kia badge is covered with a single piece of glass that extends over the hood and another piece of glass extends from the cowl of the windshield to the rear header to offer occupants a spacious, airy feeling.
A tapering greenhouse cabin and a longer "tail" improve aerodynamics while reduction of drag is attained through a one-piece integrated underbody panel, narrow tyre width and flush wheel design.
The front headlamps slide back to create openings for better air intake when the petrol engine is being used and a sliding U-shaped deck-lid extends from the rear of the vehicle at higher speeds for improved coefficient of drag.
Instead of side-view mirrors and door handles, motion-detector cameras are mounted flush with the body for safe lane changing procedures and opening of doors. The result is an airframe on wheels. The front door opening features a forward cutout design for the feet allowing ease of entry. The purposeful rear-hinged coach doors add a stylish touch and their height and shape improves entry and exit.
The "Ray" employs new "cool car" technology, including nano-laminate films and cool-glazing materials to dramatically reduce solar heat and demonstrate how keeping the interior cool will reduce air conditioning loads and greenhouse emissions. When the vehicle is parked in the sun, the solar cells provide a trickle charge that helps operate a cooling fan to reduce interior temperatures.
Light and Airy Interior
The "Ray" interior is comprised of eco-friendly recycled materials in cool white tones to create a sense of purity while also reflecting the heat of the sun, keeping the temperature down and reducing the use of air conditioner energy. Front and rear seats made of lightweight composites, mounted on the side sills, create a floating effect in the cabin and utilise elastomeric materials to support body weight.
Fresh and sustainable trim materials combine with a lightweight touch screen instrument layout incorporating the push-button start and gear shift toggle. The centre console features the all-new Kia UVO powered by Microsoft® providing voice- and touch-activated controls for simple management of music files and hands-free mobile phone operation.
Adding to the list of green technology features "Ray" also employs the all-new GreenEdgeTM system by Infinity® Audio. The loudspeakers reduce power consumption and dissipation through lower self heating temperatures coupled with increased acoustic performance providing a better synergy between amplifier, speaker and vehicle. The amplifier used also reduces the idle power consumption by 50 percent of current Infinity speakers and employs a lower dissipation design for significant savings in overall weight.
To reduce overall weight through materials and design the hexagon/honeycomb shape can be found throughout the cabin, used as a repeated design element while tying the interior theme together. Used also in the door inserts and seats, this lightweight and breathable mesh serves to reduce overall kerb weight as well as being a unique design element.
Other materials found in the cabin are soft to the touch with a matt finish, including white leather, offering a more luxurious, but inviting and tranquil, atmosphere.
The "Ray" Concept is designed to be powered by an all-aluminum 153-horsepower Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) 1.4-litre engine mated to a permanently-engaged fixed ratio Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), used in combination with a 78kw electric motor.
Depending on driving conditions, power is sent to the front wheels from the petrol engine, the electric motor, or both together.
The "Ray" is equipped with an engine-power saving alternator management system and a toggle gear-shift indicator to encourage economical driving. Custom-designed low-rolling resistance tyres featuring a hexagon pattern in narrow 20-inch (195/50R20) construction also improve efficiency.
173.2 inches / 4,400 mm
72.8 inches / 1,850 mm
53.5 inches / 1,360 mm
106.3 inches / 2,700 mm
195/50 R20 low-rolling resistance
1.4-liter Gamma 153-hp GDI engine /
78kw electric motor
CVT/ fixed ratio
(Pure HEV Mode)
(Plug-in HEV Mode)