The coming of eco-friendly energy age
Eco-friendly vehicles (or green cars) will play a pivotal role in future mobility, and the shift from petroleum to electricity powered vehicles has already become the norm. In fact, the green car market is doubling in size each year, while the overall automobile market is only growing at a mere two percent annually. At the same time, environmental stewardship is taking center stage across the board, and Kia Motors already has achieved its goal of ranking in second place (based on combined market share with Hyundai Motor Company) in the global green car market in 2017 three years ahead the scheduled goal of 2020.
Kia’s environment-friendly brand
Coupled with "Dynamics" (Kia’s brand equity), "Eco", signifying "Ecology" & "Economy", makes up the term "ECO dynamics" ("Automobile of Sustainable Mobility"), which symbolizes the Company’s commitment to making sizeable contribution to the mankind and global environment.
In 2018, the company’s goal is to remain steady in second place, while it has set a new target of expanding its green car line up to a total of 16 models five HEVs, five PHEVs, five EVs and one FCEV by 2025. To start, the company is preparing an EV version of the Niro, for which HEV and PHEV variants were introduced in 2016 and 2017, respectively. As you can see, the auto industry is moving forward at full speed and green cars represent the future of mobility.
Having first introduced HEV variants of its larger-sized products like the Optima (K5) in 2011 and Cadenza (K7) in 2013, Kia Mo-tors added the Niro HEV in 2016 and plans to introduce HEVs to all product segments in the future. he Niro HEV, which received acclaim for integrating a hybrid power train with an SUV body, has established itself in the global market with its fuel efficiency of 19.5 km/ℓ and carbon emissions of 79 g/km. In particular, the Niro HEV’s battery not only is smartly located under the rear seat without compromising passenger or boot space but also has earned market credibility thanks to its lifetime warranty.
In 2017, the Niro was the top selling hybrid vehicle in Korea market and second bestselling HEV in the U.S. green car market. It was also the first Korean vehicle to top the residual value list in the alternative fuel segment by Automotive Lease Guide of the U.S
Designed exclusively from the beginning to house only eco-friendly powertrains, the Niro is phasing in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric versions. After the launch of the hybrid variant in 2016, the Niro plug-in hybrid model was introduced to the market in 2017. The Niro PHEV marks the company’s second plug-in hybrid offering following the Optima (K5) PHEV. Its all-electric range in EV mode is 40 km with carbon emissions as low as 26 g/km. Niro PHEV’s engine efficiency stands at 18.6 km/ℓ, while in EV mode efficiency is improves to 5.1 km/kWh, enabling the vehicle to travel as far as 840 km on a full tank of fuel and fully charged battery
Kia Motors launched its first electric vehicle, the Ray EV, in 2011 and added the Soul EV in 2014. Since then, each model has under gone upgrades each year. In 2018, next-generation models will be launched with significantly improved range thanks to segmentation of the in house developed battery system module that will bring capacity down to below the 5 kWh level in order to maximize space utility while providing even weight distribution and increasing the versatility of battery load capacity.
In addition, the Niro EV will be marketed by the end of 2018 with an extended range of 380 km more than double the Soul EV’s range of 180 km. Kia Motors will also increase consumer options by categorizing driving ranges into short-range driving and long range driving, while enhancing marketability thanks to faster full charge durations. Currently, a high voltage system is under development while the company is also participating in the development of inter-national standards for high-voltage fast chargers to help boost the proliferation of electric vehicles.
A fuel cell electric vehicle is a type of electric vehicle that relies on a fuel cell to generate electricity by combining oxygen from the air and compressed hydrogen that powers its on-board electric motor. As a result, it is truly eco-friendly as water is the only emissions. Despite their fast charging times, the lack of adequate hydrogen charging infrastructure has hindered FCEVs from succeeding in the market. While the market is growing steadily, FCEVs are still classified as a future type of eco-friendly vehicle. Kia Motors has been developing fuel cell technology since 1998. Following development of the first-generation Mohave FCEV in 2003, the second-generation model has been in pilot operation since 2008. It can travel up to 690 km on a single charge with a maximum speed of 160 km/h.