Jet aircraft-inspired Chevrolet Mi-ray roadster concept
By Darren Quick
April 4, 2011
With General Motors last year announcing its intention to roll out Chevrolet across Korea, this year's Seoul Motor Show has seen the unveiling of a slick hybrid roadster concept developed by the GM Advanced Design Studio in Seoul to celebrate Chevrolet's 100-year heritage and showcase future design possibilities for the brand. The Mi-ray, which is apparently Korean for 'future', is a small open top vehicle that boasts an aerodynamic body that GM says is reminiscent of modern jet fighters.
The Mi-ray's body is made of carbon fiber and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), with scissor doors and a dual port grille flanked by LED headlights with daytime running lamps. The vehicle's front and rear fenders are designed to evoke the look of Chevrolet Corvettes of the past, while carbon-fiber spoilers at the rear corners are designed to help control downforce and airflow.
Additional airflow control is also provided by retractable flaps that also provide access to the vehicle's charge port on one side and the fuel filler on the other. In a nice touch, the charge port also features an external battery charge indicator. There's also cargo space for storing small items in the rear fenders, while the aluminum-carbon fiber composite 20-inch wheels in the front and 21-inch wheels in the rear are designed to evoke a sense of movement even when the car is stationary.
Inside the designers have also turned to jet fighters for inspiration with a combination of brushed aluminum, leather, white fabric and liquid metal surfaces. The interior compartment is surrounded by a carbon fiber twin cockpit shell that tightly wraps around the driver and passenger and connects to the seat cushions and headrests, which are mounted on a single aluminum rail.
The information panel uses back projection and prioritizes information for the driver into three zones. Front and center is vehicle performance, with navigation and mileage figures flanked on either side. The jet aircraft-inspired touches continue with a centrally located start button that triggers the column-mounted retractable meter cluster to rise "like a fighter jet canopy" when pressed.
Replacing the traditional rearview mirrors are retractable cameras that electrically extend from the side glass, while the forward-facing camera works with the GPS to overlay navigation information on real-time video.
Under the hood
Fittingly for a concept vehicle, the Mi-ray features a concept "mid-electric" propulsion system that is located primarily behind and beneath the driver. For city driving there are two front-mounted 15 kW electric motors powered by a 1.6 kWh lithium-ion battery, which can combine with the Mi-ray's 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine mounted behind the cockpit when a little extra grunt is required. With the electric motor driving the front wheels and the engine driving the rear wheels, the Mi-ray can switch between front- and rear-wheel drive, while when working together, torque control is provided to both left and right wheels as needed.
To achieve a reduction in the size of the vehicle's powertrain by eliminating the torque converter the Mi-ray sports a dual-clutch transmission (DCT) that has been tuned for improved top speed in performance mode and works in conjunction with a start-stop system. GM says the Mi-ray gets 60 mpg (unadjusted) for city driving and 63 mpg (unadjusted) on the highway.
GM unveiled Mi-ray last week at the 2011 Seoul Motor Show, which runs until April 10, at the Korea International Exhibition Center (KINTEX).
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