Design & Technology
Eco Tech Days for European Journalists held at European R&D Centre September 24th, 2008
By Ilona Tzudnowski
PR Manager, Kia Motors Europe
In Europe Kia has maintained a unique R&D Centre in Rüsselsheim, Germany, since 1995. The teams of engineers, scientists, and regulatory people working there have an ear to the ground on what consumers in this market need and want and they work on delivering it to them. This is also the place were research and innovation coming out of Kia´s research facilities in Mabuk, Namyang and Detroit is put on the streets from Finland to Italy and down to Israel. One key subject in development here are environmentally friendly vehicles. Thus far we never invited larger groups of guests to look behind the scenes at R&D – until now!
From September 16 to 18th 2008 we invited an exclusive, small group of only 50 journalists from 25 countries to find out more about what is going on in Rüsselsheim, from research into aerodynamic drag to juxtapositions of legislation across European countries – and more importantly: we gave them the chance to experience rides in different eco vehicles.
Over the course of 3 days journalists got a chance to drive the cee´d ISG, cee’d Hybrid and the Sportage FCEV. During the drives they were accompanied by engineers from Mabuk who were able to tell them more about their research but the engineers were also on hand during lunch and coffee breaks, generously and patiently answering any question at hand. Actually, one group from Northern Europe was on the brink of missing their flight home because they did not want to stop listening to the informative explanations of the engineer who was telling them all about how a hybrid engine works. He even had an animated film on his laptop illustrating the way the chemical processes look like during a hybrid drive. I must admit: I really wish my teachers in chemistry had been anywhere as patient, lively and down to earth as this engineer had been.
All of the journalists told us that the day had been most useful to them and they gained some unique and very useful insights. And in the few days since the “eco tech days” we have seen quite a bit of ink come out of the event that shows that the press was quite a bit impressed with our R&D team and efforts in the eco arena.
Oh, and also near and dear to my heart: all in line with keeping with the eco theme we also selected a caterer who is a member of Slowfood, a wonderful organization which among other things puts an emphasis on sustainable products. A perfect fit for an eco-focused event!