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First look: Kia's proddie Soul

Six months away: Production Soul should hit Oz in March next year.

Kia to show production Soul SUV in Paris, plus Sportage fuel cell vehicle

29 Sep 2008

KIA will show its commitment to alternative-fuel powertrains in Paris this week by unveiling hybrid versions of its forthcoming Soul small car and the European Cee’d, stop-start technology and the latest incarnation of its Sportage SUV-based fuel cell vehicle.

While the SUV-styled Soul is also being shown in final production trim for the first time, ahead of its Australian release in March next year, the hybrid powertrain fitted to both it and the Cee’d has attracted the headlines this week.

The powertrain consists of Kia’s 1.6-litre ‘Gamma’ four-cylinder petrol engine linked to a 15 kW/105Nm AC synchronised electric motor and a continuously variable transmission. The system also incorporates an idle stop-and-go (ISG) feature, and regenerative braking to recharge its power pack.

17 center imageKia claims the Soul Hybrid can achieve fuel consumption of 4.9L/100km and a CO2 figure of 117g/km, reducing CO2 emissions by 26.4 per cent.

The Soul Hybrid concept on display at Paris will have a “panoramic powered folding fabric roof” and a transparent bonnet and floor that show the hybrid drivetrain and battery pack.

The performance targets for the Cee’d Hybrid are slightly lower than the figures for the Soul Hybrid, at 4.8L/100 km and a CO2 figure of 114 g/km.

Kia plans to test the Cee’d Hybrid in what it describes as ‘real-world’ testing in Europe. Few other details of the have been announced ahead of the two hybrids’ unveiling on Thursday, but Kia Motors Australia has told GoAuto that the cost of a production Cee’d Hybrid would make it an unlikely starter for Australia.

Meanwhile, the Sportage fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) to be shown at Paris will feature a 100kW fuel cell stack and a new lithium-ion polymer 152-volt battery pack. Kia claims this allows this evolution of the Sportage FCEV better performance, a 300km range and start-up capability in sub-zero temperatures.

The closest technology to production is Kia’s standalone ISG system, which will be seen on various petrol-engine models from early 2009.

ISG automatically switches the engine off when the car is stopped in traffic and starts the engine again when the vehicle moves, cutting fuel consumption and emissions by up to 15 per cent in typical city cycle driving.

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