Kia Motors’ first-ever production vehicle has debuted at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Kia Motors took the wraps off its Ray production electric vehicle and Naimo EV concept car. The two vehicles are powered by advanced lithium polymer battery packs, while the Naimo features a groundbreaking User Centred Driving (UCD) telematics system, which demonstrates future technology around safety, media and in-car entertainment technologies.

“With the Kia Ray, which is Korea’s first production electric vehicle, and the Naimo concept’s forward-thinking UCD telematics, Kia is demonstrating leadership in the area of advanced technology development as our global R&D team pursues the goal of taking the vehicle-driver relationship to new levels with facial recognition technology and a number of interactive features,” said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing and communications, KMA. “Where the Naimo EV concept looks into the future of zero-emissions vehicles from Kia, the Ray EV is the first realisation for the brand and represents exciting new possibilities for the future in the North American Market.”

The UCD system on board the Naimo concept car is a fully working prototype that features a ‘glass cockpit’ style interface, with a digital ‘heads up’ display, which replaces the traditional cluster display for battery life, speed and distance. Also featured, are navigation directions and innovative downloadable apps for easy parking manoeuvres.

The main screen grows from 4.3 inches found on Kia’s UVO system, to a massive 12.3 inches, while increasing resolution to 1280x480 for ultra-clear images. The new screen also allows ‘swipe’ and ‘flick’ multi-touch interactions, simplifying inputs.

The advanced safety technology boarders on futuristic, with a driver status monitor and Colour Night Vision. Using an infra-red LED and camera, the system is able to detect changes in the driver’s eye movements and recognise inattention and if the driver is about to fall asleep.

The CNV system is the next generation of Kia’s ‘Smart Night View’ system, which combines two infra-red lamps and a colour infra-red camera and is able to detect pedestrians that appear in the camera’s field of view. Once detected, those objects are highlighted on the 12.3-inch screen, which triggers an audible warning for the driver.

Pronounced “Neh-mo” meaning “square shape” in the Korean language, the Naimo EV is the third electric vehicle design by Kia in the last twelve months, which is said to explore the possibilities of introducing a zero-emissions, five-door city car into specific markets.

The high-tech features continue on board the Naimo with a revolutionary style ‘air wiper’ (much like the Dyson air dryer) that replaces the traditional wiper blades. You’ll also notice the wrap-around windscreen, front and rear LED dot headlamps and the complete absence of door mirrors. The small cameras mounted in the A-pillars have replaced them.

Powering the Naimo is a PMSM (Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor) electric motor producing 80kW and 280 Nm, which provides a top speed of 150km/h.

Equipped with a twin 27 kWh battery pack, the Naimo has a range of 200 km riding on 20-inch low-rolling resistance tyres.

Full charge recharging for the Naimo will require five hours on the normal 3.3 kW cycle, but fast charging via a 50 kW cycle will mean a 25 minute charge to 80 per cent in 25 minutes.

The Kia Ray EV is actually built on the same production lines as its petrol-powered sibling, and at this time, is produced exclusively for the local Korean market.

Although slightly heavier than the combustion-engine Ray, the EV version produces 167 Nm of torque and is said to provide sufficient response and performance, with a top speed of 130km/h.

The Ray EV utilises an automatic transmission with two modes; ‘E’ (eco) which maximises torque delivery with minimum battery consumption, and ‘B’ (brake) for downhill or highways to maximise braking power.

Powered by a 50kW eclectic motor, working in concert with a high capacity 16.4 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack (10-year lifespan), a full charge on a regular 220V outlet takes just six hours. Using a ‘fast charge’ facility, that period is reduced to 25 minutes.

Almost identical to its petrol sibling, the Ray EV can be identified by a flap in the grille for the 220V power supply for the slow charge. The fast charge outlet is where you would normally find the petrol cap. The car also features “Zero Emissions EV” decals and clean design 14-inch alloy wheels that reduce drag.

Inside the Ray EV the instrument cluster features graphics displaying the electric motor status, battery charge, along with distance remaining until next charge.

There is also a 7-inch ‘EV-specific’ navigation system that shows the driver where the nearest charging station is, and where the car can travel on its current charge.