Kia introduced its first mass production hybrid car by unveiling the new Forte LPI hybrid electric-vehicle (HEV) to the South Korean Market yesterday. The Forte LPI hybrid electric-vehicle is one of the first models to fall under Kia’s new eco-friendly badge known as Eco-Dynamics.
Power for the Forte LPI HEV comes from a mild-hybrid system and a 1.6L gasoline engine that makes 114-hp. An electric motor helps generate an additional 20-hp. Mated to a CVT (continuously variable transmission) the Kia Forte LPI HEV averages an estimated fuel-economy of 41 mpg (U.S.).
The Kia Forte LPI HEV will go on sale in Korea later this summer, making it the world’s first vehicle to use a lithium-ion battery pack which is supplied by LG Chem (they will also supply batteries for the Chevrolet Volt). There are no plans to export the Forte LPI HEV to global markets.
Parent company Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia spend nearly $6 billion on research and development this year with the majority of that money going into the development of hybrids and electric-cars. Kia said that it will bring its first full-hybrid car to the market in late 2010 (as the next-generation Optima sedan) and its first hydrogen fuel-cell powered car in 2012. A plug-in hybrid sedan for the global markets is expected during the same time.
Kia Forte LPI Hybrid Electric-Vehicle: