Design features and the plug-in hybrid powertrain from Kia’s Ray concept, on show at today's Geneva motor show, are set to be incorporated into the next-generation Cee’d, giving the firm a direct rival to the Toyota Prius.
Although the Kia Ray is officially billed as a design and R&D concept, Autocar understands that many of its core features will find their way into Kia’s production cars, starting with the new Cee’d, due in 2012.
Kia and Hyundai plan to have plug-in hybrids on sale in Korea by 2012, but it is not part of the company’s strategy to introduce a standalone eco model like the Prius.
Instead the firm wants to incorporate the technology into volume models in its existing range, including the next Cee’d, giving the firm a ready-made rival to established hybrid models.
The Ray’s plug-in hybrid powertrains consists of a 151bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine and a 78kW electric motor powered by a lithium ion battery pack. It can travel up to 50 miles on electric power alone and almost 750 miles using the engine to extend the range.
The Ray’s aerodynamic shape mimics that of established hybrid models such as the Prius and Honda Insight. It has a drag coefficient of 0.25 and Kia says its lower height further improves its aerodynamics and helps reduce drag over other hybrid models. Other aero features include a one-piece underbody panel and narrow 20-inch wheels, which are mated to low-resistance tyres.
Inside, Kia has aimed to keep the Ray’s weight to a minimum. The mesh seats are made from lightweight materials and are mounted to the side sills to boost interior space. Mesh is also found in the seats door inserts. Rear access is boosted by rear-hinged ‘suicide’ doors.