Even though South Korea is home to one of the most important carmaker group in the world, the Hyundai-Kia group, the two Asian carmakers haven’t released any electric vehicles so far. That’s a little surprising, since electric vehicles are extremely appreciated today and the two carmakers have a lot of ambition to grow.
But that was until now, because Kia Motors has recently unveiled the Kia Ray EV, an electric version of the Kia Ray CUV which was launched in South Korea last month. The electric Ray is almost similar to the regular model powered by the internal combustion engine, being produced at the same facility. That’s actually one of the aspects Kia is very proud of, because building an electric and a traditional model at the same plant is a major step forward towards cost effectiveness.
The electric Kia Ray EV is powered by an electric motor that produces 50 kW and 167 Nm of torque (almost twice as much as the 1.0-liter gasoline engine on the regular model) and whose power comes from a 16.4 kWh lithium-ion battery. According to the press release, the battery is placed under the cabin floor and its life cycle is estimated at around 10 years. The battery’s charging time is 6 hours from a regular power outlet (or 25 minutes if a fast-charging station is used) and the car can drive up to 86 miles (139 km) on a single charge.
Since it’s a small car we’re talking about, adding the hybrid system and the battery pack increased the car’s weight by 187 kg, but the electric motor’s better torque compensates for that. The Kia Ray EV sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 15.9 seconds and reaches a top speed of 81 mph (130 km/h).
The car is offered with an automatic transmission that has two modes, “D” for regular driving and an “E” economical mode that increases battery life as much as possible. There’s also a third mode, “B” (brake) that can be used when driving downhill.
Now, the bad news is that Kia announced that the Ray EV will only be available for the South Korean market, where it will be used as part of the governmental fleet. But the good news is that the press release features some interesting mentions (the fact that the car can be built alongside traditional models or that the car is fitted with a virtual engine sound system that is likely to be introduced as a legal requirement in countries like Japan and the United States soon) showing us that the carmaker is probably already considering launching other electric models for the global market in the future.