2010 Chicago: Kia Shows Futuristic Prius Rival with Ray Plug-in Hybrid

With the new Ray plug-in Hybrid concept that made its world premiere today at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show, Kia wants to inform the world that being green doesn't necessarily translate to dull and that the company's future plans include a dedicated hybrid model.

The concept study was penned by Kia's American studio and the plan was to create a futuristic four-seat compact saloon based on the Kia Forte platform that combines design and engineering for maximum efficiency.

And while the Ray's aerodynamic shape with the high-rear deck mimics that of other hybrid models like the Prius and Honda Insight, it's more stylish and has its own unique character.

The futuristic theme is continued in the interior that is comprised of eco-friendly and lightweight recycled materials in cool white tones that are said to reflect the heat of the sun, thus keeping the temperature down and reducing the use of air conditioner energy

The Ray is designed to be powered by an all-aluminum 153-horsepower Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) 1.4-litre engine mated to a CVT and a 78kw electric motor powered by a lithium ion battery pack.

Depending on driving conditions, power is sent to the front wheels from the petrol engine, the electric motor, or both together.

Kia said that it can cover driving distances of more than 50 miles using just its electric motor on a single charge, and has a fuel economy rating of more than 202 miles per gallon for a total range of 746 miles.

Other notable features include the 20-inch alloys in custom-designed low-rolling resistance 195/50R20 tyres, drive-by-wire steering and the roof mounted solar panels that can power the climate control or the lighting system.