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Ray day dawns for Kia

Boxy: The quirky Kia Ray - which possibly features an EV drivetrain - has a distinctive sliding rear passenger door alongside a more conventional driver's side rear door.

Kia reveals all-new Ray city runabout for Korea, possibly with electric powertrain

11 Nov 2011

KIA has revealed images of an all-new production city runabout called the Ray and, while the Korean brand has not confirmed as much, it is almost certainly Kia’s mysterious zero emissions concept that until now has worn the codename TAM.

The Ray is a tiny five-door passenger vehicle/van featuring an unorthodox sliding passenger side rear door alongside a more conventional driver’s side rear door.

It will be sold exclusively in the brand’s Korean home market.

Its distinctive boxy styling mirrors that of the Nissan Cube – as well as Kia’s own Soul hatch – and is said to provide the Ray with a highly spacious and versatile interior.

Up front the car gets Kia’s signature pinched front grille design as well as large headlamps with LED daytime-running lights.

The Korean car-maker said it will not reveal any technical information – including powertrains – until closer to launch.

GoAuto reported last month that Kia was set to debut its first production EV by year’s end, and that it would be a small, box-shaped vehicle partially based on the new Picanto city car.

17 center imageFrom top: 2010 Kia Ray concept, Kia Naimo, production Kia Soul.

We also said that the TAM would feature a distinctive sliding rear passenger-side door layout and that its production run of 2000 vehicles would be limited to the Korean market.

Leaked spy pictures of the TAM development vehicle from earlier this year revealed the boxy design that – despite wearing body cladding as a disguise – reflects the final production Ray released this week.

Kia may have chosen to withhold technical information while it seeks government support before confirming pricing and making any further announcements.

Parent company Hyundai revealed a Korean market-only EV a little over a year ago based on its i10 city car. Called BlueOn, it used a 61kW motor powered by a 16.4kWh LiPoly battery and this powertrain could be the basis of the Ray. Interestingly, Kia previously used the Ray nameplate on a sleek and sporting four-door hybrid concept based on the Cerato small car, which appeared at the 2010 Chicago motor show.

The Ray revealed this week borrows styling cues from the Kia Naimo EV concept SUV shown at the Seoul show in March this year that could reveal the next-generation Soul.

Kia announced at the Frankfurt show in September that it would introduce its first global full-electric production vehicle – in the form of an all-new small crossover SUV – globally by 2014.

With other right-hand drive markets such as the UK having also expressed interest in the vehicle, it could make it to Australia around the middle of the decade.

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