Kia Motors has unveiled the Kia 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 Kia cee'd Hybrid and the twin-turbo diesel Kia Sorento Hybrid the Kia 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 Kia 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 Kia 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, the Kia 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.
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 Kia 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.
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