Kia's cleanest engine will emit just 75g/km of CO2 by 2020, according to the manufacturer.
The company has targeted fleet average emissions of 95g/km by 2020, down from its 2011 target of 130g/km.
Much of that gain will come from the development of electric and hybrid vehicles, but Dr Joachin Hahn, Kia manager of the company's powertrain engineering, says improvements to standard combustion engines will play a role, too.
'There are significant gains to come,' said Hahn, who was outlining plans for Kia to launch a new 1.4 petrol engine and a 1.0 turbocharged petrol in 2012, plus a 1.2 litre turbodiesel in 2013.
'We are comfortable we will hit the emissions targets set by the EU. I would say CO2 emissions of 75g/km are possible from a conventional engine in nine years.'
Later this year, the new Kia Rio will be launched with the option of a three-cylinder diesel engine. It will emit 85g/km of CO2 – not only the lowest rating in the Kia range, but for any standard combustion engined car on sale in the UK.
Low-CO2 vs electric power
Intriguingly, the emissions produced by generating power for electric cars is estimated to be the equivalent of 70-80g/km of CO2 – suggesting Kia can get close to matching these figures with conventional engine technology in the future.
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