Design & Technology

Eco Driving System June 16th, 2008

By Hyun Jin Cho
Sustainability Management Team
Kia Motors Corporation

As this piece is being written, oil prices are hovering around $130 per barrel.  In the face of today’s sky-high oil prices, there seem to be two main options available to drivers.  One is leaving their cars at home, which most of us don’t intend to do; and the other is ‘eco-driving.’

What is ‘eco-driving’ you ask?  In short, it is how efficiently you can drive your vehicle. The five simple golden rules of eco-driving are as follows:

1. Avoid speeding and maintain a constant speed.
2. Change gears as soon as possible.
3. Avoid sharp acceleration and sudden braking.
4. Check tire pressure frequently.
5. Move with the traffic flow.

Eco driving can reduce exhaust gas emissions, help prevent accidents, lengthen car life and save energy. Tests have shown that eco driving can enhance fuel efficiency by 10 to 30%. However, the practice of eco-driving is subjective amongst drivers. Other than the UK, where the driver’s license test incorporates the concept of eco-driving, changing bad driving habits and separate education on eco-driving is easier said than done.

Eco lamp

To help drivers master the five golden rules, Kia Motors included the Eco Driving System in the enhanced Lotze (known as Magentis or Optima in overseas markets), which was launched domestically on June 12th.  It will be the first car in Korea to feature such a device.

An eco lamp on the dashboard will guide the driver to drive in the most economical way.

A green lamp will come on to indicate high fuel efficiency driving (eg, traveling at a constant speed), while a red lamp will indicate low fuel efficiency (eg, sharp acceleration, sudden braking).  A white lamp will come on to show normal fuel efficiency or standby mode. The system is designed to encourage eco-driving by providing real-time feedback to the driver.

During a recent real-life test drive in Korea, Kia Motors submitted 10 units of the Lotze in an eco-driving event. Through the 7km route, 100 drivers were asked to drive the course using in their usual driving habits. After receiving special instruction from trainers, drivers were then asked to run the course again applying the Eco Driving System.

Based on the test drives that day, the highest fuel consumption rate was 13.8km/ℓ while the average was 12.5 km/ℓ. The figures were 10 to 20% better than the Lotze’s official fuel consumption rate.

The system is expected to be included in overseas models, as well.  Kia Motors will continue to hold campaigns to promote economical and eco-friendly driving habits to help drivers better cope with surging oil prices.

  • Boris

    This is a great system. I really like it when you all make something very Innovative. And Thanks so much for posting this on Kia BUZZ because I had been to the korean site and saw this ECO light and didnt understand what it was because I didnt understand Korean :D . Keep this up and bring more innovative items into Kia products.

  • That’s a nice feature. We have seen it at some Toyota models, but I’m glad Kia responded to this so quickly and is among the first automakers to use such an indicator.
    Will Soul and TD (new Spectra) have it to? And if not, can you plese explain why would the indicator be excluded from these new models.

    Do you plan to use it on other models too?

  • Pingback: Kia adds Eco Driving System to Optima sedan » Hybrid News()

  • lyle

    Eco-driving, that’s what we stress to our prospects and clients here in Bacolod City, Philippines. That you must change your driving habit in order to get maximum fuel efficiency. That’s a great feature, for the car i can’t wait to see it in the models that will be coming in, in the future.
    By the way, I would like to ask everyone to register at and vote for all the kia models available in the different categories. Last year four KIA models won Car of the Year Awards: Picanto, Rio, Carens & Carnival.
    So far this year, Carens is the only one on top in the mini van category and the overall choice for the Car of the Year. Please help in voting and make KIA win more awards again this year. Remember once your registered you can vote once daily until the deadline in November. Thanks to all. GO KIA GO!!!

  • My friend on Facebook shared this link and I’m not dissapointed that I came to your blog.

  • Pamela (Korea)

    Glad you’re enjoying the blog… check back and feel free to keep posting!

  • Boris

    It seems that the Optima is aimed at competing mostly with accord which in my opinion is too boring.

    The new optima is probably in development now and I suggest that its aimed more at knocking out the mazda 6. the mazda6 is really attractive from the performance standpoint alone and the sportback body version is a looker. It’s currently the best mid-sized sedan.

    I’m a fan of Kia and I would like to see the Optima come up to the level of the mazda 6 if not surpass it. The main improvements to aceive that would be thoroughly revised performance and styling. A sportback/fastback body style for the optima is welcome.


  • Boris

    In the UAE, the optima’s 4 cyl engine is a 2.0L while the US gets a 2.4L. I would like to know if this 2.0L is also a theta II with a timing chain instead of belt.

    and why cant we have an optima with a 2.4 here? If the cerato got the 2.4 like US, it cud do so much better here.

  • Cowher

    tayfun arioz was here..

  • Schnoor

    cool picsxx

  • Eichmann

    Thank you, very good sharing.
    worked this
    I love your site, especially the upper section.

  • Edward Pearce

    6 months ago I purchased a KIA Optima 2013 model. I have used theECO system and have been averaging 19.5 MPG. Without the ECO I get average 22.5 MPG ( city travelling) When I spoke to the dealers abpout this I was told it takes about 12 months for the ECO system to function at its maximum.Was I being brushed off by the dealership. I was not told this when I purchased the vehicle and I am inclined to believe that this would not be correct. What can be done….what avenue do I have to correct this?