Kia says its upcoming Korea-market electric vehicle, the Ray, will use a new type of regenerative braking system.
An active hydraulic booster is employed in concert with the car’s 50-kW electric motor and “the result is consistent brake-pedal force throughout a wide variety of driving conditions,” Kia says in a statement.
As with regenerative brakes common in gas-electric hybrids, the Ray EV’s system gathers energy that otherwise would be wasted and feeds it to the car’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
The Ray EV, based on a boxy Korea-market 1.0L gas-engine model and not the sporty concept car of the same name from the 2010 Chicago auto show, uses a polymer-type Li-ion battery, as do Kia’s Optima hybrid sedan and sister-brand’s Sonata Hybrid sedan.
The Ray’s Li-ion battery, placed under the cabin floor and rear seats, is a 330V unit with a 16.4-kWh-capacity, compared with theLeaf EV’s larger, 24 kWh Li-ion. Kia says the Ray’s Li-ion is 13% lighter and 15% more energy-dense than competitors’ systems.
The Ray’s range is less than the Leaf’s, 86 miles (139 km) vs. 100 miles (161 km).
Kia says it will take six hours to recharge the Ray using a 220V “slow” outlet, while fast-charging will take 25 minutes. Kia does not define fast charging but in the U.S., 480V outlets are considered the fastest means of recharging electric vehicles.
Kia says 500 slow/fast recharging stations are in Korea and the government wants to increase that number to 3,100 by the end of next year.
Other innovations in the Ray EV include achieving 93% efficiency with the electric motor, which makes 67 hp and 123 lb.-ft. (167 Nm) of torque.
The latter figure is 77% higher than the gasoline Ray’s torque rating and Kia says acceleration is better as well, with the Ray doing 0-60 mph (0-100 km/h) in 15.9 seconds. The Ray EV’s top speed is 81 mph (130 km/h).
The Ray weighs 2,612 lbs. (1,185 kg), about 100 lbs. (45 kg) heavier than Kia’s U.S.-market ’12 Rio subcompact hatchback, and is 141 ins. (359 cm) long, roughly 18 ins. (46 cm) shorter than the Rio, and with a 99-in. (252-cm) wheelbase.
Kia plans to build 2,500 units of the Ray EV in 2012 and lease them to “government departments and public offices” in Korea.