Kia goes green
The car will use a similar system to BMW's acclaimed Stop/Start technology, which kills the engine when you pull to a halt and select neutral, then restart as you dip the clutch and engage first gear.
First to get Stop/Start will be a 1.6-litre Cee’d, with cars arriving in the UK early 2009. However, it could be worth waiting until later in the year when Michelin’s Energy low rolling resistance tyres are added to the package.
Kia insiders say the combination makes a big enough difference to get CO2 down to around 113g/km from the standard 1.6's 152g/km. At that sort of level, you can expect average fuel economy to rocket from 44.1 to more than 60mpg.
There’s no word on prices yet, but with Kia’s emphasis on value, we wouldn’t expect prices to be much higher than that of a mid-range Cee’d hatchback at around £13,000.
Kia could also use the arrival of the Stop/Start system to launch its own green brand, similar to Ford’s Econetic or VW’s Bluemotion.
We also expect to see a mild hybrid from Kia within the next three years.
It will use technology similar to Honda’s Civic IMA, which uses battery power to support rather than replace petrol power, and, again, will probably surface in a Cee’d first. A plug-in hybrid is also expected in the longer-term.
Meanwhile, Kia’s first hybrid, combining battery power with propane, rather than petrol power, will go on sale in the company’s home market in South Korea by 2010, to be followed soon after by a US launch.