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Kia Motors, SK Innovation tie up on electric car development

Kia Motors and SK Innovation will join hands to carry out research and promotional activities together on all-electric vehicle in a bid to advance the nation’s adoption of the eco-friendly cars, company officials said Wednesday.

The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding for a business partnership at a Seoul hotel on Wednesday, with Kia Motors CEO Lee Sam-woong and SK Innovation CEO Koo Ja-young in attendance.

SK Innovation, a flagship unit of SK Group, has provided car batteries to local and overseas companies, including the all-electric version of Kia’s Ray, which was launched in December.

Under the new agreement, SK Innovation will start using the Ray models at its major workplaces, becoming Korea’s first conglomerate to adopt electric cars as company vehicles.

Kia, in the meantime, will provide the compact box cars to SK Networks, a trading subsidiary of SK Innovation, which is operating a car rental business in Jeju, the nation’s southernmost island.

As part of the MOU, the two companies also will work together on the development of electric cars and related batteries, with an aim to introduce a new medium-sized full electric model by 2014, officials said. 
Kia Motors CEO Lee Sam-woong (right) and SK Innovation CEO Koo Ja-young pose after signing a memorandum of understanding at a Seoul hotel on Wednesday. (Kia Motors)
Kia Motors CEO Lee Sam-woong (right) and SK Innovation CEO Koo Ja-young pose after signing a memorandum of understanding at a Seoul hotel on Wednesday. (Kia Motors)

“Under the strategic partnership, we will strengthen technical innovation and marketing activities in the field of eco-friendly new growth engine business,” said the Kia CEO.

The Ray EV is powered by a 50 kilowatt electric motor and a high-capacity 15 kilowatt per hour lithium ion battery pack, which is developed by SK Innovation. It could travel up to 139 kilometers on a single charge and can pull up to 130 kilometers per hour at its maximum speed.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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