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Kia Launches Korea's First Production Electric Vehicle

The Ray EV is manufactured alongside the conventional Ray, and the carmaker said it plans to build 2,500 units in 2012 for use by government agencies as part of a long-term real-world research programme. Results from the trial will be used to inform the development of Kia's future electric vehicles.

It features the manufacturer’s latest electric vehicle technology. The electric motor is 93% efficient, which is claimed to be best in class, while the lithium ion battery pack under the rear seats has had a 13% weight reduction and 15% improvement in energy density compared to competitors.  It also introduces a new regenerative braking system designed to offer a more consistent pedal feel.

As a result, the Ray EV out-accelerates its petrol-powered sibling despite being 187kg heavier, and offers an 86-mile electric range from a 25 minute fast charge, supplied through a port located where the fuel flap would normally be. On the grille, Kia has fitted a secondary slow charging port.

To avoid endangering pedestrians, Kia is also using the car to test a low-speed noise system. This plays engine sounds when the Ray EV is travelling at less than 12mph or in reverse.

Inside, the instruments have been replaced with new versions showing information about state of charge and energy usage, while a bespoke satellite navigation system overlays range and public charging points on the map.

Korea has, so far, installed 500 charging points in public locations. Another 2,600 are planned by the end of 2012.

Alex Grant

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