Although there are exceptions to the rule, notably vehicles like the Tesla Model S, there is something about an electric vehicle (EV) that likes a box.
Tesla Model S: Not a Box
From a packaging point of view, the rectangular shape is comparatively efficient. If you think about the architecture of an EV, there is in addition to a large motor (let’s assume that we’re not talking about wheel motors) and an assortment of vehicle electronics that have to be housed somewhere, such as under the hood where the internal combustion engine is ordinarily located.
Then there is the issue of the batteries. These tend to take up a considerable amount of space, and while they can be located in various orientations (horizontally, vertically, diagonally), and while they may be individual cells like cylindrical flashlight batteries grouped and wired together, for the sake of organization and installation, they tend to be put in a box.
So putting a box in a box tends to be more efficient from a space point of view than putting some non-regular shape into a non-regular shape or even a regular shape into a non.
Korean Market Kia Ray EV: Boxy
In December 2011, Kia Motors introduced the Ray EV, a city car that is decidedly boxy.
According to Kia, the Ray EV was Korea’s first production EV. Its package is that of the non-electric Ray, which is powered by a 1-liter gasoline engine.
The Ray EV features a 50-kW electric motor and a 16.4-kWh lithium ion battery pack. The maximum range is 86 miles. It can be recharged in 25 minutes with a fast charge station; in six hours on a 220-V supply.
On Tuesday of this week, Kia Motors America (KMA) announced that it will be offering a Kia Soul EV in select U.S. markets in 2014.
2014 Kia Soul: EV version coming next year
Orth Hedrick, executive director of product planning for KMA said, “Eco-consciousness already comes standard on the all-new Soul with 85% of its materials able to be recycled at the end of its lifespan, and the Soul EV will further demonstrate Kia’s engineering capabilities as well as our commitment to producing vehicles with reduced environmental footprints. The Soul has always been a terrific choice for drivers in urban environments, and the all-new version’s blend of technology, refinement, style, improved dynamics and value has allowed us to create a car that is as efficient as it is fun to drive.”
In addition to which, the Kia Soul is. . .boxy.