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Kia boosting hybrid; electric rides by 2020

Kia is increasing its plans to get into the market and it is continuing its plans to significantly increase the number of green cars in its future lineup. The company is the child company of Hyundai and they hope to become the second biggest seller of green cars worldwide after Toyota.  This is going to involve more hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery-electric cars and some hydrogen fuel-sell cars.

Michael Cole, in a tellurian lineup’s European trainer pronounced, “the sum will embody new variants of existent models, such as a hybrid chronicle of a Kia Optima hire automobile sole in Europe, and a plug-in hybrid chronicle of a Niro hybrid application vehicle”.

The total of this is going to include a new variant of existing models, such as a hybrid version of the Kia Optima station wagon sold in Europe, and a plug-in hybrid version of the Niro Hybrid utility vehicle. Its hybrid and plug-in hybrid power trains are lifted from the Hyundai Sonata, which shares a platform with the Optima.

In 2016 Chicago Auto Show, the Niro is Kia’s first dedicated hybrid model and Kia calls it a crossover, but the Niro’s styling is somewhere between wagon and SUV, and it will launch with only front-wheel drive available. The Soul EV will most likely be the only battery-electric model for now. The electric version of the funky compact Soul is only sold at certain dealers in the U.S states deemed by Kia to be sufficiently electric-car-friendly. European boss Cole also said Kia will launch its first production hydrogen fuel-cell car “around 2020.”

The proposal suggests that the new model would likely use the second-generation fuel-cell power train being developed for parent Hyundai’s next hydrogen model. The next fuel cell Hyundai is expected to roll out in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics, which are to be held in South Korea. A Kia variant would likely follow, though little else is known about it at this point. Hyundai has hinted that its next fuel-cell vehicle will be another crossover, replacing the current Tucson Fuel Cell.

Kia may follow Hyundai’s lead and offer a fuel-cell crossover as well, but no details about the model have been confirmed.

Meanwhile, the launch of the Hyundai Ioniq hatchback with hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric power trains will likely go a long way toward meeting Hyundai/Kia’s ambitious green-car goal.

Here’s and example as to how Kia is setting up measures of creating hybrids, the 2017 Kia Niro cuts a fine example on how the strategy is working slowly but on the right track.

 The 2017 Kia Niro:

The 2017 Kia Niro is a dedicated subcompact hybrid crossover; the only one on the market, and it offers a good way to combine high fuel efficiency with ever-more-popular crossover styling.

The 2017 Kia Niro breaks new ground as the first dedicated hybrid crossover SUV–which is to say, there’s no gasoline-only Niro. It joins the world’s limited roster of dedicated hybrids, which is headed by the Toyota Prius, now in its fourth generation. The latest entry besides the Niro is the Hyundai Ioniq hatchback, which shares underpinnings with the new Niro.

Given the surging popularity of car-based crossover utility vehicles, the subcompact Niro may find an audience among buyers of small SUVs who want high fuel efficiency–Kia is targeting an EPA rating of 50 mpg combined–but avoid conventional hatchbacks. While the newest Kia has a crossover shape, however, Kia has not yet mentioned offering all-wheel drive–but we suspect it’s on the way. And for the smallest SUVs, often used mostly in cities, that may not be as much of a drawback as for larger family haulers.

The lines of the Kia Niro neatly split the difference between what could be considered a conventional wagon and a genuine utility vehicle. It’s just thick enough through the cowl and front end to qualify as a sleek crossover, led off by the characteristic Kia grille and etched in smoothly rounded lines. Think of it as a sleeker, butcher version of the similarly sized Kia Soul tall wagon, if you like.


Power train:

That power train uses a 103-horsepower direct-injected 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, running on the ultra-efficient Atkinson Cycle, combined with the company’s own six-speed dual-clutch transmission. In between those two components, a 32-kilowatt (43-hp) electric motor contributes its own torque and can propel the car on its own under some driving conditions. Kia quotes combined power output at 146 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. The company said its “strong and confident” look is atypical of dedicated hybrids, and indeed there’s almost nothing in its lines to indicate the advanced powertrain underneath. Despite the crossover shape, though, Kia says careful aerodynamic work has reduced the drag coefficient to 0.29, low for any kind of utility vehicle.

Bottom Line:

Kia seems like a pretty confident brand guided by its parent company, Hyundai. The company seems to have plenty of promise and potential that should give a boost of hybrid cars by the year 2020.

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