Kia Ray EcoDynamics Plug-In Hybrid Based on Forte Platform
To say that Kia has come along as a brand would be an understatement. This marque, known for its inexpensive entry point in the market, offers a corporate tagline that reads ‘The Power to Surprise.’ Well, no kidding. Its mainstream offerings like the Sorrento and Sportage crossovers, Borrego SUV, and Optima sedan – not to mention the stylishly fluid Forte Koup and trendy Soul – show there’s a play here to capture a larger part of the market. Should we be surprised, then, that there’s also a serious effort to play in the big leagues of advanced technology vehicles?
The Kia Ray concept is but one bit of insight into the automaker’s future plans. The fifth vehicle in the past year to emerge from the California-based Kia Design Center America (KDCA), the Ray is part of Kia’s ‘EcoDynamics’ sub-brand that aims to embrace more fuel efficient and low emission technologies in future vehicles. Other EcoDynamics examples include the Kia Borrego FCEV (fuel cell electric vehicle), Forte LPI Hybrid, cee’d Hybrid, and twin-turbo diesel Kia Sorento Hybrid.
Based on the Kia Forte platform, the Ray plug-in hybrid is a futuristically-styled, four-door compact sedan featuring flush surfaces, an integrated underbody pan, and an array of automated design elements that react to real-time conditions to decrease wind resistance. Among these are a sliding deck-lid that extends from the rear at higher speeds and front driving lamps that slide back to create openings for air intake. Various eco features are integrated including lightweight and materials and a glass roof panel with hexagonal solar cells.
This front-drive PHEV is designed to be powered by a 1.4-liter, 153 hp gasoline direct injected engine and a 78 kW electric motor energized by lithium-ion batteries. Power is directed through a continuously variable transmission, with the vehicle driven exclusively by the electric motor for up to 50 miles, by the gas engine, or by both powerplants for an overall driving range of over 740 miles.