Browse over 9,000 car reviews

2024 Kia Ray electric car launches! Is this a look at the future of the Kia Picanto and would this price be right for a city-sized EV in Australia?

Kia Kia News Kia Picanto Kia Picanto News Kia Picanto 2023 Commercial Best Commercial Cars Kia Commercial Range Electric Best Electric Cars Hatchback Best Hatchback Cars Kia Hatchback Range Industry news Showroom News EV News EV EVs Electric Cars Green Cars Urban Urban News Car News
The Ray won't come to Australia, but this could offer our first look at the future of the Picanto light hatch.
The Ray won't come to Australia, but this could offer our first look at the future of the Picanto light hatch.

Kia Australia has hinted in the past that the future of its Picanto small car could be electric. So the Kia Ray mini MPV - which just launched in electric form in its home market of Korea - could be our best look at the future of Australia’s most affordable hatchback.

The Ray - a city-sized MPV which shares its platform, technology and traditionally its drivetrains with the Picanto - has been re-launched as an EV in Korea, with a 35.2kWh battery good for a 205km driving range in combined conditions, or 233km when driven exclusively at city speeds. It has a single front-mounted electric motor producing 64kW/147Nm

The Ray EV can be chosen in either the base Air configuration as a four-seater, or as a single-seat delivery van. Its footprint is identical to the Picanto at 3595mm long and 1595mm wide, but it is significantly taller at 1710mm versus the Picanto’s 1485mm height. 

Standard features include 14-inch wheels, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster (a first for a car on this platform), an 8.0-inch multimedia touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, artificial leather seats for the Air or a cloth seat for the van, heated front seats for the Air, LED headlights, and single-zone climate.

Charging, via a front-mounted port, is 40 minutes on DC (suggesting at most a 50kW charging capability, although the spec sheet states 150kW). The Ray also has the single i-PEDAL driving mode that is also found on other Hyundai and Kia electric cars.

The Ray has only ever been made in left-hand drive and would be considered too niche a product for Australia, but Kia Australia has suggested frequently in the past that the future of the Picanto could be electric.

Regardless, the Picanto will continue on in Australia with a facelift next year. The 2024 version drops the turbocharged three-cylinder GT engine option, persisting with only a non-turbo 1.0-litre three-cylinder and 1.2-litre four-cylinder (62kW/122Nm).

The update will also bring with it more advanced safety equipment, like forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, driver attention alert and rear-cross traffic alert. It even scores seven airbags.

The current car is Australia’s most affordable brand-new vehicle, with the base S manual starting from $16,290 before on-roads, however the Ray EV starts from the equivalent of $31,866 for the Van version or $34,425 for the Air passenger version when converted straight from Korean Won.

The Kia Ray can be charged via a front-mounted port.
The Kia Ray can be charged via a front-mounted port.

Such a price would make it the most affordable electric car in Australia, but whether Kia could get the price this low in our market remains to be seen.

If it were to go fully electric in the same manner as the Ray, it looks as though the Picanto may face competition from the Mitsubishi eK X electric city car, which is currently undergoing testing and evaluation in Australia with a view to a local launch.

The eK X is a move to diversify Mitsubishi’s local line-up and uses the same 20kWh battery as the Outlander PHEV. Mitsubishi has stated the eK X would need to be in the high $20,000 or low $30,000 for it to make sense in our market as a city-sized electric option and has conceded that it is likely it will receive no more than three ANCAP stars should it be tested to the local standards.

The Ray EV can be chosen as a four-seater, or as a single-seat delivery van.
The Ray EV can be chosen as a four-seater, or as a single-seat delivery van.

More about Kia’s global and local electric car roll-out strategy will be revealed in October, with a Kia EV day being held in Seoul. Stay tuned for updates.

Tom White
Senior Journalist
Despite studying ancient history and law at university, it makes sense Tom ended up writing about cars, as he spent the majority of his waking hours finding ways to drive as many as possible. His fascination with automobiles was also accompanied by an affinity for technology growing up, and he is just as comfortable tinkering with gadgets as he is behind the wheel. His time at CarsGuide has given him a nose for industry news and developments at the forefront of car technology.
About Author
Trending News