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Kia unveils Forte LPI hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) in South Korea

Kia has introduced Forte LPI hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), it’s first mass production hybrid car, to the South Korean consumers yesterday.

In addition to that, Kia also unveiled its new eco-friendly sub-brand, Eco-Dynamics, an initiative which will bring a host of new eco-friendly technologies and models to the international markets.

The Forte LPI hybrid electric vehicle is powered by an economical mild-hybrid drive system consisting of 1.6L gasoline engine and electric motor. The Liquefied Petroleum Injected (LPI) engine generates 114 horsepower, while electric motor brings additional 20 hp.

Equipped with this kind of hybrid system and continuously variable transmission, the Forte achieves a very competitive fuel economy rating of 17.2 kilometers per liter of LPG fuel (41 MPG US), which is equivalent to 21.5 kilometers per liter fuel economy in terms of gasoline, the company said.

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To differentiate the Forte hybrid from it’s non-hybrid variants and improve the vehicle’s aerodynamics, some changes have been implemented to the existing exterior design. In front,  you will notice a slightly different corporate Kia grille and a restyled front bumper with larger air intake and attractive fog lights design, while at rear, Forte now features a radically redesigned rear bumper and LED equipped taillights. On the inside, Forte LPI hybrid features a Super Vision instrument cluster for hybrid system data and a navigation display.

Kia Forte hybrid will also be the world’s first hybrid vehicle to utilize the highly advanced lithium polymer (Li–poly) battery, which is lighter and smaller but has higher output than nickel-metal hydride batteries. Those will be supplied by Korean battery supplier LG Chem, the world’s fourth largest rechargeable battery producer. The LG Chem will also supply similar battery pack to GM’s Chevy Volt.

Following it’s recent announcement that the company will focus on developing of eco-friendly vehicles, Kia also revealed it plans to bring the first full-hybrid car – probably based on the next generation Optima sedan- to the market in late 2010 and it’s first hydrogen fuel cell powered car in 2012. Expected to hit the global markets in the same year is the plug-in hybrid sedan.

Together with it’s parent company Hyundai Motor Co, Kia plans to spend nearly $6 billion on research and development this year, with majority of money pumped into development of new hybrid and fuel cell electric cars such as Kia Forte LPI hybrid and Borrego FCEV.

kia-forte-hybrid.jpg     kia-hybrid-car.jpg     kia-forte-lpi.jpg

The all-new Forte LPI hybrid will go on sale in Korean market in August this year. Initial plans do not include sales expanding to global markets, however, next year Kia could start exporting it’s LPi hybrid sedan to those foregin markets that provide an excellent LPG distribution infrastructure (China market). While China has slight chances to actually get this vehicle, we have been told it’s highly unlikely we will ever see the Forte LPi hybrid hitting the US shores!

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Korean blog readers will have an opportunity to see the Forte LPI hybrid in-person at the 2009 Seoul Auto Show, which starts on April 2, while the rest of you will be able to find additional information and images here at our Kia World Blog. Stay tuned!

20 thoughts on “Kia unveils Forte LPI hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) in South Korea

  1. This is so exciting. Isn’t this the kee’s green? the car look spectacular!

  2. The Accent and Rio Blue drive Hybrid systems will be on sale in September in America guys. They have been testing them in China and South Korea since 2006, and have finally worked the kinks out of them to where they are acceptable enough for sale in America. One of the biggest kinks was battery size, however they used Nickel Hydride batteries in the past. The Lithium Polymer Batteries will be used in the cars instead.

  3. Nope Smoke, those will not be the hybrids, but rather enhanced cars featuring improved aerodynamics, low rolling resistance tires and improved gear ratios. No hybrid system will be aplied to (US market) Accent and Rio until next generation cars come out in 2010+.

    But you’re right, Hyundai and Kia have been testing their Rio and Accent in Korea for the past three years. They have both been available in a very limited numbers, with most of the cars sold to the Korean goverment.

  4. I can’t wait for the Forte to become available in North America. As for the hybrid version, they have riced up the styling a bit. For my taste the non-hybrid Forte’s grille and foglights are simpler and cleaner.

  5. I thought this post wii generate tons of comments, since it provides some great info on something new, not seen in the Kia range by now. But I guess I was wrong, probably because of the fact that the vehicle will be limited to Korean market only.

    Anyway, I think this is a great offering, not only it’s a first hybrid from Kia, but it’s a real piece of jewlery. It has great fuel consumption numbers and owners will drive this car for pennies. The LPG is about 50 percent cheaper than regular gasoline, so you can imagine low costs per mile this car achieves.

  6. himi i heard that from a corporate source. I was pissed wanting to know where the Accent Hyrbid was at, and they assured me they will be ready to buy in September in the US.

  7. Nice design…and surely the U.S. will get at least the new Rio hybrid, right? We should get the Forte sedan hybrid, too. But it looks like we won’t be getting it. I would believe we’ll get the small Rio hybrid, though.

  8. Looks like Kia is getting serious about being a real player. I bought a Spectra to get me though the next five years (four now) because fuel will be more expensive and cars will all be hybrid.

    This is what Kia needs to gain a good reputation. Kia is still suffering from a stigma of low quality cars. But so far mine hasn’t had any problems. I’m very pleased with it and love the good gas mileage.. 30 mpg. So, 40 or 50 mpg will be even better for my next car.

  9. Haha, yeah, but try reading the article once you put the following in your address bar.
    kia-world.net/forum//showthread.php?tid=747

  10. Australia already has the infrastructure in place for LPG refueling, please release it Australia ASAP, we need such vehicles years ago!

    Get an edge over the Prius and CiViC hybrids, have the Forte/Cerato LPi available with a tow bar and full size spare wheel.

  11. Heh Kia. looks great. Shows that caring about the environment is not ugly. Nature is beautiful and sexy. I would want a take a Kia Forte hatchback with this setup.

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