Kia Motors America has unveiled the Ray Plug-in Hybrid concept at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show. The Ray features a roof top "cool-glazing" solar glass, drive-by-wire steering, touch screen controls, and a lithium-polymer battery.
Kia claims the concept can travel over 50 miles using its electric motor alone, has a 109 mph top speed, and has an effective fuel economy of over 202 miles per gallon. Total range is 746 miles. Kia said the Ray is the first of what will be many cars in the company's new sub-brand, EcoDynamics.
I do not want DBW steering. Even with an old fashioned steering shaft, Toyota's electric power steering assist is picking up cell phone interference (luckily my VW's electric power steering does not do that). Imagine if you couldn't even fight it?
I can't even imagine what purpose DBW steering could serve.
Right now it's just a gimmick for concept cars. Maybe even allowing some extreme designs.
In the future, it could mean lower production costs on models made for RH and LH markets. Possibly free up space for batteries or other components.
Just to let you in on a little project. I got in touch with an old college buddy last year when I joined Facebook and we are starting on a 4 wheel electric drive hybrid car design. We should be doing some brain storming on it later this week or next week when I go up to Vermont to visit him as he recoops from surgery. There is a prototype car builder out towards the Cape that will be building it for us and it should be interesting. I haven't even mentioned to my friend about the X-Prize competition. Design goals are a low cost very light aero design but he wants it to be capable of 150mph top speed.