Kia Motors has launched its first commercialised hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), the Forte Liquid Petroleum Injection (LPI) Hybrid, on its domestic market of South Korea.

The vehicle is part of the compact sedan Forte range and has the same system as the hybrid car from its sister carmaker Hyundai Motor Co.

KIA Motors said it had invested KRW240 billion (US$180m) over a period of 25 months to develop the eco-friendly Forte LPI Hybrid.

The car boasts a fuel efficiency rating of 17.8 km/l, and claims CO2 emissions of just 99 g/km.

The new car utilises a 1.6-liter Gamma LPI engine with an independently developed Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and hybrid system, comprising an electric motor, inverter, converter and 180V lithium ion polymer battery.

Although no plans to market this vehicle in overseas markets have been finalised, feasibility studies are being conducted to assess consumer interest and potential demand in markets that possess liquid petroleum refueling infrastructure.

Soon-Nam Lee, director of overseas marketing, Kia Motors Corporation, said: “This vehicle offers high-quality performance and leading fuel efficiency technology to ensure maximum operating cost savings to drivers. In an era where demand for environmentally-friendly vehicles is rapidly increasing, we are confident that the Forte LPI Hybrid will prove to be a valuable addition to the Kia lineup.”