When the idea of a hybrid car first hit the scene, most of the unveilings were for compact looking cars. The same thing happened with electric vehicles (EVs), but that’s starting to change. Moving in that direction is the newly announced Kia Naimo, an electric vehicle that happens to be a crossover utility vehicle.
I’m pretty sure it’s not the first EV to do the CUV thing, but it is notable to see that electrics are quickly expanding beyond econobox-sized proportions. Debuting at the Seoul Motor Show, the Kia Naimo is meant to combine “innovative technology” with a “Korean tradition.” Instead of wiper blades, it uses a “high-intensity air jet,” not unlike a Dyson hand dryer. That’s the “premium feel” part of the equation, I guess.
The car measures 3.9 meters long, seats four people, and offers an effective range of up to 200km (124 miles) on a single charge of its Lithium-Ion Polymer battery. A quick charge cycle reaches 80% capacity in 25 minutes, while a full charge takes five and a half hours. There’s a “Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor” in there for about 107hp and 280Nm of maximum torque.
For the longest time, driving a Korean car meant that you couldn’t afford a Japanese car. They were cheap and cheaply built (I need not remind you of the Hyundai Pony). That’s very much changing these days and the Naimo could help to further solidify Kia’s place as a serious contender in this space.
Striking all-electric concept car makes world debut at Seoul Motor Show
Naimo expresses sophistication through simplicity of design
B-segment electric utility vehicle combines Korean heritage with high-tech innovations
Making its world premiere at the Seoul Motor Show today (Thursday), the Kia Naimo electric concept car combines Korean heritage with innovative modern features.
Taking its name from the Korean word “Ne-mo”, (pronounced ‘Neh-mo’, meaning ‘square shape’), the Naimo electric crossover utility vehicle (CUV) was conceived by Kia’s international design team in Seoul, and is characterised principally by its simple lines and solid, muscular stance.
The simple overall design is accentuated by a number of striking key details, such as the wrap-around windscreen and asymmetric sunroof, and the front and rear dot-style LED head- and positioning-lamps. This mix of simple and complex is a common trait of many traditional Korean arts and crafts.
Kia’s design team also made use of innovative technology to give the car a premium feel and to ensure the car’s exterior remained uncluttered. For example, Naimo has no traditional wiper blade on the windscreen – instead it employs a high-intensity air jet at the base of the windscreen that performs an ‘air wiper’ function. Conventional door mirrors have also been replaced with miniature cameras installed in the A-pillars.
Naimo’s interior was designed to evoke a strong sense of tranquility and features hand-crafted materials throughout. Korean oak is used to trim the interior door panels and the entire interior floor, Korean “Han-ji” paper is used for the head lining. Alongside these traditional elements sit modern features such as a transparent organic light emitting diode display instrument panel and full connectivity.
“Naimo is a perfect balance of innovation, high-tech and Korean tradition. It was heavily inspired by the purity and grace of traditional Korean arts and crafts, but combines this with cutting edge technologies to deliver a truly premium experience,” commented Kia Motors’ Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer.
The third electric vehicle design to be unveiled by Kia Motors Corporation in a year, the 3.9-metre long Naimo concept explores the practicalities of introducing a zero-emissions, five-door, four-seater city car into a future niche market.
Measuring 3,890 mm in length, the Naimo’s generous wheelbase, width and height (2,647, 1,844 and 1,589 mm respectively) – plus the short overhangs which place a wheel at each corner – ensure that the cabin provides exceptional head, leg and shoulder room for the occupants.
The concept car has no B-pillars and features rear-hinged rear doors to maximise easy access to the cabin, and a three-way split opening boot-lid, allows versatile access to the load bay for varying luggage sizes.
Power comes from a Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor with a maximum output of 80 kW (109 ps) and maximum torque of 280 Nm, enabling Naimo to reach a top speed of 150 kph (93 mph).
A twin-pack 27 kWh battery is located under the boot floor and uses innovative Lithium Ion Polymer technology that offers numerous advantages over other battery types. Equipped with this battery, Naimo provides a driving range of 200 km (124 miles) on a single charge. To enhance range, the showcar is fitted with special low-drag 20-inch diameter alloy wheels.
Under the quick recharging cycle (50 kW) the Naimo’s battery can be recharged to 80 percent of its capacity within 25 minutes. Under the normal cycle (3.3 kW), 100 percent power is attained after five and a half hours.
Naimo will join Kia’s growing test fleet of hybrid, electric and fuel-cell vehicles being extensively driven in widely varying conditions to develop future production models with zero or significantly reduced emissions.