Pictures of Kia’s Electric All-Wheel-Drive Trail’ster concept

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Pictures have been released from the 2015 Chicago Auto Show of Kia’s Electric All-Wheel-Drive Trail’ster concept. Trail’ster was dreamt up at Kia’s California design studio, birthplace of the unforgettable Track’ster and GT4 Stinger.

Based on the Soul, the turbocharged Trail’ster captures the essence of an advanced and capable CUV (crossover utility vehicle) ready for anything. The pictures show the Trail’ster in Polar Pearl Snowdrift/Terra Bronze Metallic paint, the pictures also show off its roll-top canvas roof and armoured aluminium skid plates.

The Trail’ster is primarily powered by a robust 1.6-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine outputting 188 ps and 251 Nm of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission, matched to an electric all-wheel drive system on the rear axle intended for low-speed assist, enhanced launch acceleration and improved traction in inclement weather or off-road situations.

The Trail’ster’s electric propulsion system draws energy from a 1.2 kWh Lithium Ion Polymer battery powering a 27 kW, 270 volt AC synchronous permanent magnet electric motor outputting 36 ps and 100 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels and bringing total output to an impressive 220 horses and 136 Nm of torque. To further improve fuel efficiency, the system also utilises a Hybrid Starter Generator (HSG) to start/stop the engine as needed (and to feed energy to the high voltage battery), and an electrically driven A/C compressor, which can run when the engine is shut off. This technology is designed for easy, lightweight packaging, with the compact battery pack stored under the cargo floor.

Operationally, the rear electric drive system engages in one of three scenarios, depending on throttle position and road conditions: Under light throttle, the Trail’ster attains true clean mobility as the electric motor drives the car solely for a range of two to three miles; under normal driving, the rear electric motor assists the 1.6-litre turbo during acceleration events calling for greater power and torque; when treading off-road or on wet pavement, the electric drive system is introduced when front wheel slippage is detected. Finally, the Trail’ster’s electric motor acts as a generator to recover kinetic energy and recharge the battery when the vehicle is braking or coasting.

For traversing tough terrain, the Trail’ster has been raised more than two-and-a-half inches over the production Soul. In addition, this mountain rover wears Pirelli Winter Carving 245/45-19 snow tires for enhanced traction and utilises KSport coilover shocks to absorb the impact of rough, uneven ground and rocky surfaces.

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