Kia's green future
If there was any doubt that car makers were confused about which green path to take, today's Kia visit confirmed it.
The Korean manufacturer is currently pushing green technology down four separate paths because it's simply unsure of which horse to back.
'We're not certain which one is right yet,' said Chi young Jeong, senior research engineer for Kia's eco tech.
'We do estimate though that hybrid will take up 20 per cent of the car market in the not too distant future.'
Currently Kia is developing hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric and hydrogen fuel cell propulsion systems - and all have working demos.
The electric car programme is based on an A Segment vehicle - Picanto size - can be recharged in five hours and will have a range of 100kms. Plans are to have it ready for market as soon as 2012.
More exciting though is the fuel cell technology - the Borrego FCEV, this completely clean technology uses the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity. That then powers the car for around 400kms on a single 'charge'.
Kia hopes to have this commercially available by 2015 and is already trialling models with the US Army among others. Of course, hydrogen filling stations will need to be far more prevalent for this to succeed.
It's the marque's hybrid technology that's really the closest though. We got the chance to drive a model combining an LPG-powered conventional engine with an electric unit to back it up and it was very good.
'We're pushing on with all technologies,' a Kia spokesman added. 'That way we're covered no matter which avenue the market takes.'