Published January 18, 2012
The Kia Naimo Concept.
Last week, Kia Motors brought its 5-door, 4-seat Naimo electric sedan concept to the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The car is the Korean automaker's third electric vehicle to debut in roughly a year―the other two being the already-released Kia Ray EV and the Kia Pop concept, which was revealed at the Paris Motor Show in 2010. According to the Kia, the electric Naimo Concept "explores the possibility of introducing a zero-emissions, five-door, four-seater city car" in the near future.
Power for the Naimo comes from an electric motor with a maximum output of 107 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. The highway-capable Naimo has a listed top speed of 93 miles per hour and its 27-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack supposedly provides up to 124 miles of range. The Naimo is quick-charge capable―charging in 5.5 hours under normal conditions―and is described as a fully working prototype representing Kia’s vision for the future.
At the show, Michael Sprague, Kia's vice-president of marketing and communications, detailed that vision:
"Where the Naimo EV concept looks into the future of zero-emissions vehicles from Kia, the Ray EV is the first realization for the brand and represents exciting new possibilities for the future in the North American market."
Kia's parent company, Hyundai, was reported recently to be planning a $15.5 billion investment into both brands' research and development programs, with a large portion of that money headed to hybrid and electric vehicle development.
Introduced in December, 2011, the Kia Ray became Korea's first mass-produced electric vehicle. The car has an 86-mile range, is powered by a 67 horsepower, 50-kilowatt electric motor, and carries a top speed of 81 miles per hour. Kia spokesman James Hope told the NYTimes.com Wheels Blog that Kia has "no plans at the moment to import the Ray into North America," he added that "the industry is changing rapidly, so anything is possible."