Kia launches flexible fuel vehicle

Kia has carried on its policy of innovation.

KIA Motors has launched Soul Flex, Korea’s first Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV), at the Brazilian Motor Show in São Paulo.  Scheduled to go on sale in Brazil early next year, Soul Flex is the latest in a long line of alternative-fuel production and concept vehicles from Kia.
Able to run on 100 percent ethanol, 100 percent gasoline or an ethanol-petrol mixture, it has been especially designed for the Brazilian market, where ‘flex’ models account for more than 85 percent of the new car sales.
Brazil is currently ranked second in the world, in terms of ethanol production, and consequently its motorists enjoy the low cost of ethanol, which is priced at 40 percent less than petrol.  As well as lower fuel costs, the industrial product tax (purchase tax) on new flex vehicles is only 11 percent – 2 percent lower than petrol models.
Soul Flex comes with unique exterior design features and boasts a 44 percent improvement in fuel efficiency compared with the existing petrol model.  Power and torque outputs are also improved at 128 ps (up 3.2 percent) and 16.5 kg/m (up 3.7 percent) respectively.
Differences from the petrol model include the newly adapted fuel injection & catalyst system as well as engine compression ratio – changes which combine to achieve enhanced fuel economy. 
Changes made to accommodate the more abrasive nature of ethanol fuel include reinforcing the fuel pump, pillar cap and fuel line, and fitting a petrol tank assistance system in order to aid engine ignition at low temperatures.
Kia aims to further strengthen its presence in the Brazilian market by introducing new flex models into each market segment – starting with an all-new Sportage FFV towards the end of 2011.
Brazil has been one of Kia’s best performing markets so far in 2010, with sales increasing by 151 percent year-on-year, reaching 40,865 units up to the end of September.

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