First Look: Chevrolet Mi-Ray Concept

High-performance hybrid looks forward into the past.

by on Apr.01, 2011

The Chevrolet Mi-Ray concept will make its formal debut, this week, at the Seoul Motor Show.

The name is Korean for “future,” but if anything, the Chevrolet Mi-Ray Concept looks forward into the past, using advanced technology and a Jetsons-style design to harken back to the brand’s long sports car heritage.

The Chevy Mi-Ray Concept vehicle will make its debut at the Seoul Motor Show, this week, a standout at an event typically dominated by home-market offerings like the Hyundai Blue2 Concept.  (Click Here for a look at that Korean fuel cell prototype.)

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Like any number of General Motors concept vehicles – such as the striking Cadillac Cien, Chevy designers suggest they were influenced by “fighter jets.”  But they also drew upon the long list of Chevrolet concepts and production cars past, everything from the Corvette gallery to the 1962 Corvair Super Spyder and 1963 Monza SS.

Classic cues include the flying buttresses that flow out of the headrests and the minimalist, wraparound windshield.  But the Chevy Mi-Ray is anything but a retro-mobile.

Two electric motors drive Mi-Ray's front axle, with a small turbo I-4 mounted behind the cockpit.

The concept bound for Seoul features scissor-style doors and what GM describes as “signature daytime running lamps.”

Retractable flaps serve dual purposes: regulating air flow at speed – and providing access to both the gas cap and the hybrid’s charging port.

Carbon fiber spoilers are located at each corner to further regulate airflow and, in a creative solution to the eternal sports car question, “Where does my stuff go?” Chevy has hidden small storage cubbies in each of the rear fenders.

The through-the-road hybrid system allows the Mi-Ray to run in front, rear or all-wheel-drive mode.  The front axle is driven by a pair of 15-kilowatt electric motors generating a combined 40 horsepower.  There’s 1.6 kilowatt-hours of lithium-ion batteries on board – about 10% of what’s used by the Chevrolet Volt plug-in, so Mi-Ray should get a few miles of in-town cruising in battery-only mode.

For longer driving, or when the driver slams the throttle, a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four gas engine kicks in.  That powerplant is located behind the 2-seat cockpit, and is mated to a dual-clutch transmission.

The Mi-Ray features a dual-cockpit interior design.

Interestingly, Chevy allows the driver to switch between front or rear-drive mode.

Chevy has made extensive use of carbon fiber inside and out.  The twin-cockpit interior features a mix of liquid metal, brushed aluminum, leather and white fabric surfaces.

In keeping with current trends, there are rear-facing cameras, rather than side mirrors, though on Mi-Ray, those are also retractable.  And critical information for the driver is presented on a rear-projection screen.  There’s another front-facing camera, its image overlaid on the Mi-Ray’s navi screen.

The unveiling of the Mi-Ray is clearly aimed at giving the Chevrolet brand a presence inside Korea – and furthering the brand’s grand expansion plans worldwide.

The bowtie badge recently replaced the more familiar – to Korean’s Daewoo nameplate, that brand purchased by GM in 2002 after it went bankrupt.  The Korean operations are responsible for producing about a quarter of the Chevy products sold worldwide, including most of the Chevrolet vehicles sold in Europe, as well as the Sonic and Spark models coming to the U.S.

“As GM rolls out Chevrolet across Korea, the Mi-ray concept offers an exploration of future possibilities for the brand. It strengthens the bond between car and driver, creating a fresh look at what sports cars of the future might be,” said GM Korea President and CEO Mike Arcamone.

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