Kia Ray EV

Kia has revealed its first electric car, the Ray EV, based closely on the petrol-powered Ray which went on sale in Korea last month. The zero-emissions city car can travel 86 miles on a single charge and takes six hours to top up the batteries from a standard socket.

Power from the 68bhp electric motor is sent to the front wheels through a single speed gearbox. Weighing 187kg more that the petrol model, but with 167Nm of torque from zero rpm, the Ray EV covers 0-62mph in 15.9 seconds and hits a top speed of 81mph.

Inside, it features a sat-nav system optimised for EVs. The seven-inch screen provides information on the location of charging stations and a circular outline on the map showing the maximum possible range. A unique instrument cluster shows remaining range and battery status.

To warn pedestrians when it’s approaching, the Ray EV is fitted with a Virtual Engine Sound System (VESS). At speeds below 12mph, and when in reverse, it emits a soundtrack recorded from a petrol-powered car.

During 2012 Kia will build 2,500 Ray EVs, which will be provided to Government departments and public offices as part of a long-term research project into electric cars. There are no current plans to bring the boxy EV to the UK, although the lessons learned here will influence all Kia’s future electric vehicles.