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Kia commits to fuel cell EV by 2012

Fuel sell: Kia's fuel-cell Borrego prototype is part of Hyundai-Kia's development program for hydrogen FCVs to go into production in 2012.

Fuel cell and plug-in EVs to join petrol and diesel hybrids from Hyundai-Kia

10 Aug 2009

THE Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group has committed to producing its first fuel cell-powered electric vehicle (EV) for Korea by 2012, when it expects to be among the world’s top four manufacturers of low-emissions vehicles.

As part of an overall investment of $US8 billion ($A9.52b), Hyundai-Kia says it will spend more than $US3 billion ($A3.57b) to also develop petrol and diesel hybrids within two years.

Hyundai-Kia says it has some of the most advanced fuel-cell vehicles operating anywhere in the world, and that it is also working on plug-in EVs – all of which, it says, will be exported “within a few years” of their release in the Korean domestic market.

Kia, whose Korean-market Cerato LPG hybrid – known there as the Forte LPI – is under consideration for release in Australia, says it will be fully involved in the development of both petrol and diesel-electric powertrains, which will appear within two years of the introduction of the idle-stop-equipped Cee’d ISG in Europe.

“The Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group is determined to bring affordable and usable green technology to consumers around the world," said senior executive vice-president and COO of Kia Motors Corporation’s International Business Division, Hyoung-Keun Lee.

 center imageLeft: Kia Forte (Cerato) LPI Hybrid.

“Our introduction of cee'd ISG in Europe, Forte LPI in Korea and other environmentally friendly technologies clearly indicate our plans for a greener future.

“Kia is determined to meet with demands from our consumers around the world. We expect the demand for environmentally friendly and low-emission vehicles to pick up strongly as the global market emerges from the current recession,” said Mr Lee.

Kia says its green research and development facility at Mabuk in Korea, which it claims is the world’s only dedicated environmental R&D centre, will allow it to introduce new technologies that can be adapted to new and existing vehicles.

It says its latest-generation fuel-cell vehicle, which is already operating in various locations including California, is “capable of covering more than 560km on a single charge of hydrogen and starting at temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees centigrade, both essential for normal everyday use around the world”.

Both Kia and Hyundai say they are currently providing real-world test vehicles to various government bodies in Korea, and plan to develop mass-market FCVs that can be easily built on traditional production lines by 2015 - the same year that Toyota has now committed to launch its first fuel-cell vehicle.

The news follows a commitment by PSA Peugeot-Citroen to manufacture what is widely expected to be the first diesel-hybrid vehicle in the Citroen DS5 in 2011, while Volvo has also revealed its ambition to become a “market leader in plug-in hybrid technology” by producing a battery-powered plug-in model by 2012.

Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV is the first electric car to receive official Australian Design Rule approval locally and will be joined on sale here by Nissan’s newly-revealed Leaf EV in 2012 – the same year Holden has committed to releasing GM’s Volt plug-in hybrid.

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