Like all carmakers, Kia is hard at work exploring the future of cleaner propulsion. Its latest green creation is the Ray plug-in concept that debuted at the Chicago auto show.
Developed under Kia's EcoDynamic subbrand, the Forte-based Ray features a slew of energy-saving equipment and is built from lightweight materials. At the heart of the four-seat compact sedan is a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a 78-kilowatt electric motor. Kia says a single charge of the lithium-polymer battery pack allows the Ray to achieve a driving distance of more than 50 miles on the electric motor alone. When taking into account the gasoline engine, the Ray has a range of 746 miles.
An engine-power-saving alternator-management system is also employed to improved drivetrain efficiency.
For the exterior, Kia designers gave the Ray a lower monovolume shape, a tapering greenhouse, a sliding U-shaped decklid that extends at high speeds, a flush wheel design and an integrated underbody panel to improve aerodynamics and reduce drag. Additional design elements include a hood-mounted battery-charge indicator, flush-mounted motion-detector cameras in place of traditional side mirrors and door handles and rear-hinged coach doors.
The interior is also filled with energy-efficient and environmentally friendly touches. Sustainable wool is used for the flooring, and even the entertainment system is energy conscious. The new GreenEdge audio system by Infinity features speakers with reduced power consumption and dissipation, and the amplifier reduces power consumption by 50 percent. When parked, the cabin is kept cool by fans drawing power from solar cells embedded in the glass roof. The white-toned interior also helps reflect heat from the sun.