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Paris show: Kia ‘pops’ out an all-electric city car

Pop goes Kia: Korean car-maker Kia has previewed this all-electric concept micro car from the studio of its design chief Peter Schreyer.

Kia takes the wraps off electric Pop micro-car concept ahead of Paris premiere

Kia logo19 Aug 2010

By TERRY MARTIN

KIA Motors has released the first images, but few details, of an electric city car concept ahead of its world premiere at the Paris motor show next month.

The so-called ‘Pop’ micro-car follows other recent concepts designed to showcase the South Korean manufacturer’s advanced work on all-electric and other eco powertrains as well as future compact models.

Kia has revealed that the three-seater Pop is three metres long – a tad longer than Toyota’s iQ but shorter than its smallest model, the Picanto, which is not sold here.

No other details, including its electric powertrain, have been released at this stage, with Kia only saying that the Pop “continues its tradition on unveiling convention-challenging and design-led concept vehicles” and that it boasts “zero emissions, whist in use, and ... brings innovative design chic and dramatic styling to the city car segment”.

Like the hybrid version of the Cerato and recent concepts including the all-electric Venga mini-MPV and the more radical Cerato-based Ray plug-in hybrid, the Pop is certain to sit under Kia’s EcoDynamics umbrella and again features a strong design from the studio of Peter Schreyer.

17 center imageClearly within the genre of other ultra-compact production cars and concepts, including the Smart ForTwo, Renault Twizy, Peugeot BB1 and, of course, the iQ – all of which are being developed, or were at least first shown, with all-electric drivetrains – the Pop has a smooth, rounded, molten metal look with two big doors dominating its profile, each with large diagonal windows and design cues that indicate an upwards opening mechanism.

Other points of interest include LED lights front and rear, a highly sculpted and colour-themed front end (complete with a fish-hook-type moulding around the headlights), a large panoramic roof, aerodynamic wheels and a power socket positioned below the back window.

Inside, there is a purple and chrome cabin with a bench in lieu of bucket seats, a head-up display for the driver and an extension of the fish-hook design that runs from the main dashboard to the steering wheel and instrument panel, serving to maximise legroom for the front passenger.

The third seat is positioned behind the front passenger, in the luggage compartment.

The likely powertrain for the Pop is the one Kia used in its production-oriented Venga EV, shown in Geneva earlier this year.

This featured an 80kW/280Nm electric motor and a twin-pack 24kWh lithium-ion polymer (LiPoly) battery, offering a 180km driving range, 0-100km/h acceleration in 11.8 seconds and a 140km/h top speed.

As GoAuto reported, the Venga EV was a considerable advancement on Hyundai-Kia’s first EV, the i10 Electric, which made its world motor show debut in Frankfurt last September and will soon to be produced and leased, in limited numbers, in South Korea.

The i10 Electric was shown with a 49kW electric motor and a 16kWh LiPoly battery, offering a 160km driving range, 0-100km/h acceleration in 15 seconds and a 130km/h top speed.

The Ray plug-hybrid concept shown in Chicago earlier this year was powered by an all-aluminium 114kW 1.4-litre direct-injection ‘Gamma’ GDI engine paired with a permanently engaged fixed-ratio CVT and used in combination with a 78kW electric motor and LiPoly battery pack.

The Ray was claimed to be able to travel up to 80km on a single charge without intervention from the internal combustion engine, while the total driving range was said to extend as far as 1200km.

As for the economy, Kia said the Ray offered fuel consumption as low as three litres per 100km in ‘pure HEV’ mode, while in ‘plug-in HEV’ mode it returned just 1.2L/100km.

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