Kia unveils next generation fuel cell vehicle

Thursday, 23 September 2004

  • World Premiere for new Sportage FCEV at Paris Motor Show
  • New technologies boost performance of fuel cell electric vehicle

The Kia Motors Corporation's fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) programme made a major step forward today (Thursday) with the unveiling of the all-new Kia Sportage FCEV at the Mondial de L'Automobile in Paris. 

Intensive research has resulted in numerous technical innovations - including a higher output 80kW fuel cell and a new lithium ion polymer 152 volt battery - which give the Sportage FCEV higher performance, a greatly extended driving range and cold-weather starting capability to operate in sub-zero temperatures. 

The Sportage FCEV's power plant is located in the normal engine bay and boasts an additional 5kW of power (compared to earlier research vehicles) to produce a peak output of 80kW and propel the vehicle to a top speed of 150 km/h.  With a 152-litre hydrogen storage tank located low, ahead of the rear wheels, the latest Kia research vehicle has a range of 300 kilometres.

"Entering this new phase of our programme is really exciting," commented Kim Sang-Kwon, President of Research and Development for the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group.  "Now we will be able to build fuel cell electric vehicles in higher volumes for fleet testing and the latest Sportage FCEV drives us closer to the commercialisation of fuel cell vehicles. 

"Migrating our fell cell technologies into a smaller, more compact vehicle presented many design challenges and I am confident that our engineers have Kia unveils next generation fuel cell vehicle met them all.  With the new Sportage FCEV, Kia takes a big step towards our goal of developing a commercially viable zero-emissions vehicle based on fuel cell technology by 2010," concluded Mr Kim. 

Throughout the development of the conventionally-powered all-new Kia Sportage small SUV, which also makes its world debut in Paris today, the fuel cell model (code named FKM) has been created in a parallel engineering programme.  Demonstrating its ability to conduct simultaneous engineering of both gasoline/diesel production models and fuel cell research vehicles, shows that Kia will be able to significantly improve the efficiency and quality control of future fuel cell vehicle manufacturing processes. 

The Sportage FCEV is equipped with hydrogen-powered fuel cells from UTC Fuel Cells of Hartford, Connecticut and a next generation hybrid-electric drivetrain, motor and control unit from Enovas Systems of Torrance, California. 

Thanks to the use of lightweight aluminium bodyshell components, instead of the conventional Sportage's all-steel construction, the Sportage FCEV has a power-to-weight ratio that is similar to the production model SUV launched today.  The FCEV also retains the roomy cabin, low noise levels and overall driving refinement of its new gasoline/diesel-powered sibling.

Editor's Notes

Fuel Cell Vehicles

The Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group formed its first fuel cell task force team in 2000 and unveiled the Santa Fe FCEV, its first prototype fuel cell vehicle, in October of the same year.

Three World Premieres

Kia Motors is revealing three ‘World Premiere' models in Paris - the all-new Kia Sportage small SUV, the Kia Sport Concept Car and the Kia Sportage FCEV, fuel cell electric vehicle.

Kia Motors Europe

Kia Motors Europe is the European sales, marketing, and service arm of Kia Motors Corporation.  With its headquarters in Eschborn, Germany, it covers 20 markets in Europe.  The European sales target is 300,000 units per year by 2005, thanks to new European products and new diesel engines.

About Kia Motors Corporation

Kia Motors Corporation (, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2004, is among the world's fastest growing automobile companies.  As part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Kia aims to be a ‘Top 5' global automaker by 2010.  Kia's 15 manufacturing and assembly operations in 12 countries make more than one million vehicles each year.  These vehicles are sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering 190 countries. 

Founded in 1944, Kia Motors Corporation is Korea's oldest manufacturer of automobiles.  Kia today has 30,000 employees and annual revenues of US$ 12 billion.  It is the major sponsor of the Australian Tennis Open and the international sponsor of the Davis Cup. 

Press Contact:

Kia Motors Europe GmbH
Hauptstrasse 185, 65760 Eschborn, Germany.
Tel: +49 (6196) 509 2132 / Fax.: +49 (6196) 509 2100

Kia Motors UK

Stephen Kitson             01932 832 075
Paul Carter                    01932 832 071
Louisa Sharp                01932 832 072

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