Kia Launches Electric Ray, Korea’s First EV

That was quick! Just one month after releasing the 1.0 liter gas-powered Kia Ray to Korean drivers last month, Kia is set to introduce an electric version of the boxy micro car.

Kia is marketing the Ray EV as a crossover utility vehicle made especially for urban driving, and with a zero to 62 mph time of 15.2 seconds, it’s safe to say it wasn’t made for the race track. The Ray EV, which is powered by a 50 kilowatt electric motor and a 16.4 kilowatt-hour lithium ion polymer battery pack has a top speed of 81 mph and range of about 86 miles. A full charge of the Ray will take up to six hours using a household 220 volt pipe and about 25 minutes if you use a fast charger.

Ray EV

image via Kia

The new Kia sports an automatic transmission with the choice of two modes: E (eco) mode optimizes the delivery of the motor’s torque to achieve minimum battery life and driving range; B (brake) mode can be selected when driving downhill and on mountain roads to maximize braking power. Ray EV is also equipped with a new type of regenerative braking system featuring an “Active Hydraulic Booster” that utilizes the electric motor, instead of the gasoline engine in the regular model, to create hydraulic pressure for the brake system. The result is consistent brake pedal force throughout a wide variety of driving conditions and the ability to harvest excess energy and use it to recharge the car’s battery, Kia says.

Inside, the Ray EV’s instrument panel displays electric motor operation, battery status and distance to recharge. It is also equipped with a navigation system that features a seven-inch screen showing the nearest locations of the slow/fast recharging stations and a circular shaped area in which the Ray can travel with its current level of battery power, so that drivers can see which destinations are reachable without a recharge.

Kia says it will make 2,500 of the Ray EVs in 2012, most of which will go to government agencies. The company will ramp up production in the following years, but if you want one, you’ll have to go to Korea. So far Kia only has plans to market the Ray EV in their domestic market.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.

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