Although Kia’s tinkered with hybrids in the past, the new Forte LPI Hybrid, debuting at the 2009 Seoul motor show, will be its first production model.
Built upon Kia’s latest midsize sedan, the Forte LPI Hybrid incorporates two green technologies into one car. Apart from the parallel hybrid system (which uses the electric motor only to aid the combustion engine), the Forte’s 1.6-liter I-4 has been modified to run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Kia claims the engine is good for 114 hp and 109 lb-ft of torque. Also innovative is the Forte’s use of lithium-polymer batteries. Sourced from Korean battery manufacturer LG Chem, these cells offer energy reserves similar to lithium-ion batteries, but in a smaller, lighter package. While the Forte LPI Hybrid goes on sale in Korea this August, Kia hasn’t committed to exporting the car to other markets. If we do receive any form of a Kia hybrid, expect it to ditch the LPG fuel in favor of regular gasoline.