2010 Chicago Auto Show: Kia Ray Concept


While opinions on the design of Kia’s Ray concept will no doubt be mixed, you have got to give Kia points. Who else brings Muno from Yo Gabba Gabba and a guy dressed to a giant sock monkey to an auto show? ;)

Video and photo gallery after the jump.

This was Kia’s Super Bowl 2010 advert, which they had playing on a loop on the display screens behind all their vehicles. (The world needs more water-skiing sock monkeys, I say.)

Kia’s Ray concept marks the debut of its Eco-Dynamics line, which is intended to showcase its greenest technologies. The Ray is a plug-in electric hybrid sedan with features that include a 78-Kw electric motor, CVT, and a 153hp  1.4L direct-injected engine. As for where the Ray draws its power, Kia states that it can come from either the electric motor or the gasoline engine, depending on what’s needed—which makes sense, as it is meant to be a hybrid. Kia further states that the Ray’s range is 50 miles on a single charge, leading it to a staggering 746 miles (by the company’s estimates) before it requires refuelling. Also, Kia states that it is capable of reaching a top speed of 109mph, which is more than enough oomph to join Doc Brown in the Wild West.

Featuring sweeping aerodynamic curves and solar panels along its upper surfaces that are intended to pull just enough extra energy to help cool the cabin as you’re driving, it’s certainly something to behold. Look closely at the front, through the smoky panel, and you’ll see the familiar grille of the Kia Soul staring back at you. Although it’s built on the same wheelbase as its older sibling, Hyundai’s Blue Will, there’s really not a lot that’s familiar about this car—which is why I like it. As a proper alien concept car and harbinger of things to come from the Kia line, it’s a definite success.

[Photos: Joe Lucente]