Kia uncertain on green future

Time 3:03 am, May 25, 2010

kia-borrego-fcev-1IF there was any doubt that car makers were confused about which green path to take, today confirmed it.

Car Dealer is currently in Korea with Kia and today the firm explained it is pushing green technology down four separate paths because it’s simply unsure of which horse to back.

‘We’re not certain which one is right yet,’ said Chi young Jeong, senior research engineer for Kia’s eco tech.

‘We do estimate though that hybrid will take up 20 per cent of the car market in the not too distant future.’

Currently Kia is developing hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric and hydrogen fuel cell propulsion systems – and all have working demos.

The electric car programme is based on an A Segment vehicle – Picanto size – can be recharged in five hours and will have a range of 100kms. Plans are to have it ready for market as soon as 2012.

More exciting though is the fuel cell technology. The Borrego FCEV, pictured above, uses completely clean power, harnessed from the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, to create electricity. That then powers the car for around 400kms on a single ‘charge’.

Kia hopes to have this commercially available by 2015 and is already trialling models with the US Army among others. Of course, hydrogen filling stations will need to be far more prevelant for this to succeed.

It’s the marque’s hybrid technology that’s really the closest though. We got the chance to drive a model combining an LPG-powered conventional engine with an electric unit to back it up and it was really rather good.

‘We’re pushing on with all technologies,’ a Kia spokesman added. ‘That way we’re covered no matter which avenue the market takes.’


James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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