Kia launched its new entry-level urban EV on Thursday. As its cheapest electric model, the Kia Ray EV racked up 6,000 pre-orders in Korea with a starting price of around $20,400 (27.35 million won).
As demand for affordable all-electric options continues climbing, Kia is bringing back the Ray EV.
The Ray EV was Kia’s (and Korea’s) first 100% electric production car, introduced in 2011. As a close relative to the gas-powered Ray CUV, the model “marked a new era in Korean motoring.”
However, the mini electric car was discontinued in 2018 amid the nation’s lack of charging infrastructure and the vehicle’s limited range (86 mi / 139 km).
Electrek first heard Kia was planning to revive the Ray EV after an official told the Korean Economic Daily the new model “is the best choice for customers waiting for an entry electric minicar.”
Kia Ray EV pre-orders exceed 2023 target
Pre-orders for the new Ray EV began on August 24, and today, Kia revealed it has gathered over 6,000 interested customers.
Kia says the number already exceeds its target of 4,000 for the entire year by 50%. Powered by a 35.2 kWh LFP battery and improved aerodynamics, the new Ray EV achieves up to 127 miles (205 km) of range. When traveling in the city, the figure bumps up to 144 miles (233 km).
Although it may not seem like a lot compared to new EVs in the US, the Ray EV is designed for city travel. It takes around 40 minutes to charge from 10% to 80% with a 150 kW fast charger.
The Ray EV’s electric motor has a maximum output of 64.3 kW (86 hp) and 147 N m of maximum torque. Again, it may seem tiny in the US, but those numbers are 15% and 55% higher than the ICE version, respectively.
Inside, all seats can be folded flat, creating a spacious open-air environment. A dedicated “utility mode” enables electric devices, like air conditioning and audio, to be used while not driving for extended periods. The feature can be used for work, camping, resting, and more.
The new Kia Ray EV starts at 27.35 million won ($20,400) for the 1-seater variant. Other options include:
|Kia Ray EV trim||Cost||USD|
|4-seater||Light: 27.75 million won
Air: 29.55 million won
|2-seater||Light: 27.45 million won
Air: 27.95 million won
|1-seater||Light: 27.35 million won
Air: 27.80 million won
The launch comes as automakers and startups are releasing cheaper electric models to grab market share.
With around 80% of the auto market in Korea, the Hyundai Motor Group, including Kia and Genesis, looks to protect its share from incoming competitors like cheaper EVs from China.
Nissan’s Sakura electric mini car looks like a “game changer” for the Japanese market, starting at 2,333,100 yen ($16,000). Nissan announced at the end of July that Sakura gathered over 50,000 pre-orders.
Industry sources predict the new Ray EV will help boost South Korea’s minicar segment, forecasting it will be a top-ten best-selling car.
Kia is expanding its lineup with plans to offer an EV in every segment, including the Niro EV, EV6, EV9, EV5, and expected EV4.