Design & Technology

The history of Kia’s green cars March 22nd, 2016


Did you know that Kia Motors has been making steady investments in the research and development of green vehicles and ecotechnology since the late 1980s? Today Kia BUZZ invites you to explore and learn about the forerunning models in Kia’s green car line-up!


Early EV models



Kia Besta EV


Kia’s first ever eco-friendly vehicle was the Kia Besta EV. While the model was not developed for commercial markets, the Besta was used for live broadcasting during the 1986 Asian Games and 1988 Seoul Olympics. The Kia Sportage EV succeeded the Besta in 1999. The knowledge behind the development of these two models came to serve as the basis for all other electric models to follow.


Early FCEV models



Kia Sportage FCEV


Kia Sportage FCEV, a product of intensive research by Kia Motors’ FCEV program, debuted in front of worldwide audiences at the 2004 Paris Motor Show. As Kia’s first endeavor into hydrogen fuel cell commercialization, the model’s high-quality performance marked a significant milestone in Kia’s history.

Following Kia’s earlier efforts at FCEV vehicle development, the Kia Mohave FCEV (known as Borrego in North America) was showcased at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show.



Kia Mohave (Borrego) FCEV


Featuring an upgraded 115-kW fuel cell stack and energy storage unit known as the supercapacitor, the concept promised to double the driving range of the Sportage FCEV. The 6-month Mohave FCEV pilot program, including a test drive rally that spanned from San Diego, California (USA) to Vancouver (Canada), demonstrated the impressive durability and technological finesse of this innovative model.


Early hybrid model



Kia Forte (Cerato) LPi Hybrid


The Kia Forte (Cerato) LPi Hybrid was released in conjunction with the 2009 launch of Kia’s EcoDynamics sub-brand. As the brand’s first production hybrid, the industry’s first use of lithium batteries in a hybrid and the first vehicle in the EcoDynamics collection, the Forte LPi Hybrid flaunted a distinctly unique style and featured groundbreaking technology of its time.


Current generation green cars



Kia Soul EV (Left) and Optima Hybrid (Right)



Kia Niro HUV (Left) and Optima Plug-in Hybrid (Right)



Kia K7 Hybrid (Left) and Ray EV (Right)


With the popular Kia Soul EV and Optima Hybrid models, the newly introduced Niro HUV and Optima PHEV, as well as the Korean-market specific Ray EV and K7 Hybrid, Kia currently boasts a strong and impressive range of eco-friendly vehicles. Much to the thrill of global fans, Kia plans to increase its number of eco-friendly vehicles to an impressive total of eleven by the year 2020. With ambitious plans brewing and new surprises in store, Kia fans and consumers have much to look forward to in the months and years ahead. So stay tuned!


▶ Learn about Kia’s eco-friendly production