Kia’s current line-up of four green cars is planned to grow to eleven by 2020, the company has announced. The company has seven new low emissions cars to be rolled-out by 2020, with the first being the Kia Optima PHEV. The 2016 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid will feature a high-capacity lithium-polymer battery pack and electric motor. The plug-in hybrid powertrain will be mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The Kia Optima PHEV will be followed by the 2016 Kia Niro. It’s a conventional hybrid sub-compact crossover or a ‘Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV) in Kia’s terminology. Its hybrid system consists of a 1.6 GDi Kappa naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine that makes 105 PS (104 hp) and 15.0 kg.m (147 Nm) of torque, and a 35 kW electric motor which gets its power from a 1.56 kWh battery. Power is sent to the wheels via a 6-speed DCT dual-clutch transmission. This model will be launched in early 2016, with a CO2 emissions figure (in NEDC) target of 90 g/km.
Hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles and variants aside, the South Korean automaker’s most ambitious product will be its mass-market hydrogen fuel cell vehicle planned to be launched in 2020. The company is working alongside 300 partner companies for development of the next-generation hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle technology for global markets. It aims to produce around 1,000 units of the hydrogen fuel cell car annually and increase that number as the demand of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles increases.
The 2020 Kia FCV will feature a fuel stack similar in size to a 2.0L internal combustion engine. Engineers plan to keep it 5% more efficient and 10% better in terms of performance, despite keeping its weight around 15% lesser and volume 15% lower than the current generation fuel cell stacks. The targeted driving range and top speed is 800 km and 170 km/h respectively.
The ultimate goal is to increase the average fuel economy by 25% over 2014 levels by the end of the decade. The company will replace seven out of its ten current engines with next-gen petrol and diesel engines, and increase the number of turbocharged engines. Other plans include introduction of more efficient, multi-speed transmissions as well as a 5% reduction in the average weight of the body with more usage of ultra-high strength steel.