Kia readying electric minicar for late 2011 launch

Word from the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show was that dividing lines would form in the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, with Kia to focus solely on electric vehicles and Hyundai to develop plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles.

Under this strategy, Kia will soon kick off small-scale production of the group's first highway-capable electric vehicle under the codename "TAM." The vehicle – scheduled to launch in late 2011 – is reportedly based on the Hyundai i10 minicar. Specs? We'd expect the electrified Kia to sport a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery, a 49-kW (66 horsepower) electric motor and be a sub-100-mile electric mini.

The Kia-badged i10 electric will likely differ only slightly from the Hyundai i10 BlueOn prototype that took to the streets of South Korea in limited numbers back in September 2010. According to Kia, the electrified version of the i10 will be a low-volume production model, with output set at 2,000 units in 2012. There's no word on whether or not Kia's electric minicar will ever hit the U.S.

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