Kia Ray PHEV Concept Car Debuts In Chicago

Kia Ray concept car

Kia unveils new stunning PHEV concept vehicle in Chicago.

Kia unveiled Ray plug-in hybrid concept car at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show.

Kia Motors has unveiled its “Ray” plug-in Hybrid concept at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show, to highlight its innovative fuel-stretching and emissions-cutting technologies.

Following the Kia Borrego Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV), the Forte LPI Hybrid, the petrol cee’d Hybrid and the twin-turbo diesel Sorento Hybrid the “Ray” concept is a bold new collaboration between design and engineering and inventively showcases a futuristic four-seat compact saloon based on the Kia Forte platform.

Designed with lightweight and recycled materials, as well as hexagonal solar cells embedded in the glass roof panel to power extra lighting or climate control systems, the Kia “Ray” boasts a range of up to 746 miles.

“It is important to imagine early in the design process what people will want in the future from a green perspective. People want to reduce their carbon footprint without driving carbon copies,” said Peter Schreyer, Chief Design Officer for the Kia Motors Corporation.

The stylish and very aerodynamic Kia Ray combines design and engineering for maximum efficiency, incorporating clean, flush surfaces minimising unnecessary edges giving a flowing profile and a pronounced rear shoulder ending in a slightly higher deck for reduced drag.

The “Ray” also features touch-screen controls, drive-by-wire steering, “cool-glazing” solar glass and a lithium-polymer battery – all possible indicators of future technology from Kia.

As a plug-in hybrid, the Ray is designed to cover driving distances of more than 50 miles using just its electric motor on a single charge, and has a fuel economy rating of more than 202 miles per gallon for a total range of 746 miles.

Kia Ray concept car gallery


Kia’s hybrid technology

The Ray PHEV Concept is designed to be powered by an all-aluminum 153-horsepower Gasoline Direct Injected (GDI) 1.4-liter engine mated to a permanently-engaged fixed ratio Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), used in combination with a 78kw electric motor.

Depending on driving conditions, power is sent to the wheels from the gasoline engine, the electric motor, or both together. The Ray concept is front-wheel drive with a four-wheel independent suspension.

Furthering EcoDynamics innovation, the Ray concept’s advanced system is equipped with an engine-power saving alternator management system and a toggle gear-shift up/down indicator to encourage economical driving. Custom-designed, 20-inch low-rolling resistance tires with a hexagon pattern also improve Ray’s efficiency.

Aircraft-inspired exterior design lay-out

A lowered mono-volume shape and a strong, curvaceous silhouette give the Kia “Ray” concept better aerodynamic properties than taller profile hybrid vehicles.

Strong, lightweight materials are used to support the EcoDynamics philosophy. The LED Kia badge is covered with a single piece of glass that extends over the hood and another piece of glass extends from the cowl of the windshield to the rear header to offer occupants a spacious, airy feeling.

A tapering greenhouse cabin and a longer “tail” improve aerodynamics while reduction of drag is attained through a one-piece integrated underbody panel, narrow tyre width and flush wheel design.

The front headlamps slide back to create openings for better air intake when the petrol engine is being used and a sliding U-shaped deck-lid extends from the rear of the vehicle at higher speeds for improved coefficient of drag.

Instead of side-view mirrors and door handles, motion-detector cameras are mounted flush with the body for safe lane changing procedures and opening of doors. The result is an airframe on wheels. The front door opening features a forward cutout design for the feet allowing ease of entry. The purposeful rear-hinged coach doors add a stylish touch and their height and shape improves entry and exit.

The “Ray” employs new “cool car” technology, including nano-laminate films and cool-glazing materials to dramatically reduce solar heat and demonstrate how keeping the interior cool will reduce air conditioning loads and greenhouse emissions. When the vehicle is parked in the sun, the solar cells provide a trickle charge that helps operate a cooling fan to reduce interior temperatures.

Light and airy interior of the Kia Ray PHEV concept

The “Ray” interior is comprised of eco-friendly recycled materials in cool white tones to create a sense of purity while also reflecting the heat of the sun, keeping the temperature down and reducing the use of air conditioner energy. Front and rear seats made of lightweight composites, mounted on the side sills, create a floating effect in the cabin and utilise elastomeric materials to support body weight.

Fresh and sustainable trim materials combine with a lightweight touch screen instrument layout incorporating the push-button start and gear shift toggle. The centre console features the all-new Kia UVO powered by Microsoft advanced infotainment system providing voice- and touch-activated controls for simple management of music files and hands-free mobile phone operation.

Adding to the list of green technology features “Ray” also employs the all-new GreenEdgeTM system by Infinity Audio. The loudspeakers reduce power consumption and dissipation through lower self heating temperatures coupled with increased acoustic performance providing a better synergy between amplifier, speaker and vehicle.

The amplifier used also reduces the idle power consumption by 50 percent of current Infinity speakers and employs a lower dissipation design for significant savings in overall weight.

To reduce overall weight through materials and design the hexagon/honeycomb shape can be found throughout the cabin, used as a repeated design element while tying the interior theme together. Used also in the door inserts and seats, this lightweight and breathable mesh serves to reduce overall kerb weight as well as being a unique design element.

Other materials found in the cabin of Kia Ray PHEV concept are soft to the touch with a matt finish, including white leather, offering a more luxurious, but inviting and tranquil, atmosphere.


  1. HyundaiSmoke says:

    I like it. Its Futristic and retrospective at the same time. The rear reminds me of a 1998-2003 Spectra GSX.

  2. Sorento Owner says:

    I dislike rear design.
    and it is too concept car looking.
    people know production version will not like this.

    Nice try. but not homerun.

  3. HyundaiSmoke says:

    Id say production ill look 70% like this. It will have the same body shape, but the lines will be cleaned up and the lights front and rear will be smaller. It will be mostly one color, some chrome trimming wheels here and there, and I can see a black panoramic sunroof.

    Do it like that price it at $$19-20K to start and i will outsell Prius easy.

  4. Patrick says:

    DEFINITELY NOT my favourite work from Schreyer. Saying that though, everything apart from the front looks pretty decent!

  5. Greg. says:

    Can’t stand the front. Like the back though. Going to go see it today. I’m in Chicago afterall, might as well!

  6. BJD says:

    I don’t think Schreyer works at the american design studio. ANyway, i like the hexagon theme used for the interior. The rear looks different in a cool way. The face of a Boeing 787 jet doesn’t work on car faces but they probably wanted minimum air-flow drag and had to use this design (hell! it doesn’t even have wing mirrors or any kind protrusion that could disrupt air flow).

  7. Bryan says:

    Using cameras inside the cabin to show side and rear views instead of mirrors outside is an interesting idea, indeed. It’s a typical concept-lots of fluff and limited reality-but, it conveys a design message, so good job, guys.

  8. Andrew says:

    I think it looks great, deff way better that a Prius, but I honestly don’t beleive there will ever be a production version. Rather this is simply a showcase for Kia to demonstrate future ideas and tech that will feature on the normal models.

  9. kopee says:

    i cant believe someone actually doesnt like dis cars design.Infact dis shud be the hottest concept on the chicago auto show floor.We shud’nt 4get dis is a design 4rm massimo frascella(Kia’s italian designer) d guy dat was behind the award winning kia kue concept.In this generation nd frm wat kia has been producing lately we shudn’t doubt the fact dat they can produce sumthin abt 70-80 percent like dis concept.I AM SERIOUSLY LOVIN DIS CONCEPT.Hey guyz try visiting dis web site and read about dis cars article

  10. BJD says:

    I think that was originally Nissan’s idea [to use cameras for rear view mirrors].

  11. Manuel says:

    Where do I put my order?????? I want one…like NOW!!!!!

  12. BJD says:

    I have also seen an image with the ‘grille light’. It was actually a sketch of the car on Kia Buzz. And if you look closely at the fourth image thumbnail in the above article, you may notice a faint yellow light under the Kia logo on the hood. That’s part of the grille light. I’m sure the front would look better if they made that visible.

  13. bornloser says:

    Very nice, but probably to late… In less than two years time several manufacterers will be selling all electrical vehicules (PSA-Mitsu before 2011!) with a range far over 100 miles (recharge in 30 minutes) and top speed high enough to have your licence revoked for a very long time, and hybrids with a fuell efficiency of approximately 2l/100 Kms (VAG)… I kinda sense an identy crisis with Kia… do they want to emphasise on looks? Quality? Performance? Fuell efficiency? Ecology? Since they don’t seem to know they try a bit of everything: as a result they do not excel in any of those factors anymore…

  14. Sorento Owner says:

    No. electronic and plugin hybrid is still niche market. (less than 5%)
    It is not late. On the contrary, it is too early.
    The only early adopters buy them.
    Kia better ready for next generation PHEV.

  15. Sorento Owner says:

    Hybrid car was not invented by Toyota.
    But, Toyota is well known as Hybrid car brand.
    You know what i mean?

  16. HyundaiSmoke says:

    Guys I know some of you may not like the look,but guess what? The reception for this car is Phenomenal. They are pretty much by popular demand forced to build it, and built it by 2013. This car is getting rave reviews from yahoo,,edmunds, Winding road, Auospies, everywhere!!!


  17. Greg. says:

    I saw it in person yesterday. What a difference! It looks straight from outer space. I still don’t like it in the pictures. All I can say is WOW!

  18. WOW! I was not expecting it to look so slick and LONG! It’s stunning…oh and so is the K5 rendering, when do we get to comment on that?

  19. bornloser says:

    @ Sorento Owner: electronic and plug-in hybrid is not a niche market, it actually is no market at all… yet… What I meant is that by the time this (awesome) car will hit the market it will allreday be outdated… What emissions and fuell efficiency is concerned: up till now Kia has allways run behind.

  20. bornloser says:

    What do you mean exactely by “full hybrid”? Full electrical?

  21. The Ray’s fuel consumption figures are pretty extraordinary…202mpg? LOL. If Kia can get that now then they better hurry up and get something out there as that’s easily double the Prius’ figures…

  22. Bryan says:

    I saw me a picture of the Hyundai i-flow concept that will replace the Azera, and that thing looks gorgeous. Now I’m gonna have ta watch it’s development like an Atlanta Hawk. I didn’t notice anything in the article that said that the car is a proposed hybrid, though. It’s designed at Hyundai’s Germany Design HG’s, hence the European flair. That didn’t look European to me, though. It looked too hot to be a European design. And the entry of the i-flow will mean that Hyundai can now price the Equus and the Genesis sedan more luxuriously “upscale”, to be both competitive and still turn them a profit. I haven’t been so impressed with any new Hyundai design since I flipped out over their new Tiburon design in the spring of 2002, that being the design for the 2003 Hyundai Tiburon. Usually Hyundai’s look either awkward or plain to me. The Veloster shows some design promise as well. It’s a great time to be looking at new cars on a worldwide basis, car nuts.

  23. bornloser says:

    202mpg, that is what… 40 CO2 or less? Everybody in europe would be happy with figures that are double of that, unfortunately Kia still isn’t top of the class concerning mpg and co2 emissions (I know Americans do not really care ’bout the environment, but to us it is important!)

  24. HyundaiSmoke says:

    Yeah Born youre right, us Americans dont care. KIA is 4th place here in Fuel Economy behind: 1. Hyundai, 2 Honda 3. Toyota.

  25. Greg. says:

    Funny, I could have swore that Kia had a press release stating that they were number two in fuel efficiency.

  26. bornloser says:

    H Smoke… my point exactly! I don’t think Kia doesn’t even make the top 10 in Europe.
    @ greg: I’m sure that Kia ever produced such a press-release, but as always (for EVERY brand) these are based on statistics. And we all know statistics are like bikini’s: they give you an idea but they hide the facts! 😉

  27. HyundaiSmoke says:

    My stats are coming from the EPA. Which in the report they noted that even though H/K are the same company they have to be treated differently, and that KIA being 4th place is becuase they have more higher displacement engines than Hyundai.

  28. HyundaiSmoke says:

    I think that’s fair as KIA should be the brand with more powerful engines. Its weird that every other site on the planet has H/K spyshots and renderings except this one and Hyundai-bllog now. If it wasnt for sites like Edmunds I wouldnt know that that Veloster has been cold weather testing etc….

    If you guys are having that much trouble with these articles then make me an admin please?

  29. Bryan says:

    HyundaiSmoke-do you work for Hyundai or are you a Hyundai salesman?

  30. HyundaiSmoke says:

    No, but I want to sell for them one day though.

  31. Bryan says:

    OK. I was just curious. You would make a good salesman for them, I’m fairly sure of that!

  32. HyundaiSmoke says:

    I hear Accent will be a 2011 model for the Sedan, and Rio will be a 2012 Model. If Accent Sedan looks like a Baby Sonata, Then I think Rio Sedan will look like a bbyoptima. The hatch I have no clue, but I wish they just took a KIA Venga and highly modify it witha totally new body kit, etc… and made that Rio 5.

  33. Greg. says:

    There will be no four door A-Segment in Europe. Venga is Europe’s only B-Segment Kia. Hopefully the next Rio has 5 lugnuts per wheel. I can’t stand cars with only four lugnuts. It is one of my pet peeves.

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