Kia Motors unveiled its first commercialized hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), the Forte Liquid Petroleum Injection (LPI) Hybrid in Seoul recently.

The Forte LPI Hybrid is the newest addition to Kia's widely acclaimed Forte family (known as 'All-new Cerato' in some markets), which includes both gasoline-powered 4-door sedan and sporty KOUP versions. Kia Motors invested KRW 240 billion (approximately USD 180 million) over a period of 25 months to develop the eco-friendly Forte LPI Hybrid.

Boasting powerful driving performance and a superior fuel efficiency rating of 17.8 km/ℓ, the Forte LPI Hybrid answers consumer demand for environmentally friendly vehicles that are exciting and fun to drive. Additionally, with CO2 emissions of just 99 g/km, the Forte LPI Hybrid qualifies for billing as a Super Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV).

The new car utilizes a 1.6-liter Gamma LPI engine with an independently developed Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and hybrid system, comprising an electric motor, inverter, converter and 180V lithium ion polymer battery.

Although no plans to market this vehicle in overseas markets have been finalized, feasibility studies are being conducted to assess consumer interest and potential demand in markets that possess liquid petroleum refueling infrastructure.

Forte Hybrid LPI System

Both the engine and electric motor are activated when the ignition is turned on but only the engine will run when cruising. When decelerating, the car utilizes a special regenerative braking function to convert energy that is normally lost into electricity that can be stored in the battery.

The hybrid system is also equipped with Kia's Idle Stop and Go (ISG) function, which automatically switches off the engine when the vehicle is idle to reduce unnecessary fuel consumption and emissions. ISG functions when the driver applies the brakes after running the car for more than two seconds at speeds of 9km/h or higher.

Another key feature found in the Forte LPI Hybrid is a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) for hybrid cars which, together with the 1.6 Gamma LPI engine, delivers powerful performance and fuel savings. The hybrid-unique CVT is also equipped with a special E-gear (Eco Drive) that makes automatic adjustments to ensure maximum fuel efficiency.

Additional Eco-Friendly Features

The Forte LPI Hybrid retains the sporty and dynamic styling of the existing Forte gasoline sedan, a representative work of Kia's emerging dynamic design language, while adding aerodynamic elements to minimize drag and improve fuel economy.

The application of a front/rear bumper skirt, aluminum wheels and garnish-type rear spoiler, in addition to the use of an exclusive cover for the lower part of the engine room and center floor, result in lowered air resistance of 0.26 Cd, compared to 0.29 Cd for the gasoline-powered Forte.

The vehicle's full-digital SuperVision gauge cluster relays critical information to the driver and includes an "Eco Guide" function which encourages the driver with an "Eco Driving Point" icon to adjust fuel consumption and drive more sustainably.

Soon-Nam Lee, Director of Overseas Marketing, Kia Motors Corporation, 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."