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Kia launches Forte LPi hybrid sedan
Kia Forte LPi hybrid sedan – Kias first-ever mass produced hybrid car – launched in South Korean market today.
Four months after its official inaugural public debut, which happened during the Aprils Seoul auto show, and a deluge of amateur spy shots, Kia has finally launched its long anticipated Forte LPi hybrid sedan.
The 2010 Kia Forte LPi hybrid is the groundbreaking eco-friendly Kia vehicle and the very first mass produced hybrid car from the second largest Korean car maker. It belongs to a highly acclaimed Forte family, consisting of gasoline and diesel powered Forte compact sedan and a sporty two-door Forte Koup (scheduled to go on sale in the US market in late summer) and shares its liquefied petroleum injection hybrid powertrain technology with Hyundais Elantra LPi hybrid, which went on sale in Korea a few days ago.
Developed over a period of 25 months, the Forte LPi hybrid comes at just about right time as fuel-efficient models gain popularity amid a global economic slowdown. Unfortunately though, the Forte LPi hybrid, which cost Kia approximately $180 million to develop, will be produced exclusively for Korean market. In the first year, Kia aims to sell around 2,000 units of its compact hybrid sedan, while sales may rise to 5,000 units in 2010.
The heart of the Forte LPi hybrid is a 1.6L Gamma LPi (Liquid Petroleum Injected) engine (LPi) mated to the Continuously Variable Transmission -CVT and a hybrid system comprising an electric motor, converter and lithium ion polymer battery. A combination of 1.6L Gamma engine and continuously variable transmission delivers powerful performance and fuel savings.
The Forte LPi hybrid is also equipped with Kias Idle Stop & Go system (ISG) that automatically switches the engine off when the car is stopped in traffic and restarts the engine instantly when the driver wishes to move again. The ISG system is currently available only in Kia cee’d, but Kia plans to incorporate this fuel-saving system to other new vehicles including 2010 YN and 2010 Sorento.
Another interesting technology applied to the Forte hybrid is a regenerative braking and a special E-gear called Eco-Drive that makes automatic adjustments to ensure the highest possible fuel efficiency. Thanks to all the afore-mentioned advanced hybrid technology, the Forte hybrid LPi emits only 99 grams of CO2 per kilometer, enough to qualify for a Super Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV).
As you can see, the Forte LPi hybrid looks a bit different to the gasoline-powered sibling model. There were several adjustments made to the exterior sheet-metal to improve Fortes drag coefficient from 0,29 to 0,26. Restyled exterior body parts include front and rear bumper, aluminum wheels and garnish-type rear spoiler.
Inside, the Forte LPi hybrid hosts a full-digital SuperVision gauge cluster, which provides critical information to the driver and includes an “Eco Guide” function that encourages the driver with an “Eco Driving Point” icon to adjust fuel consumption and drive more sustainably.
Director of Overseas Marketing at Kia Motors, Soon-Nam Lee, said: “This vehicle offers high-quality performance and leading fuel efficiency technology to ensure maximum operating cost savings to drivers. In an era where demand for environmentally-friendly vehicles is rapidly increasing, we are confident that the Forte LPI hybrid will prove to be a valuable addition to the Kia lineup.”
Kia Forte LPi hybrid is only the first in a series of Kia hybrids that we expect to see in the coming years. Recent reports from sources close to Kia revealed the company is also working on a next generation Optima sedan, that will be available with gas-electric hybrid powertrain as well as on Kias first plug-in model.