SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) – South Korea’s two largest automakersshowcased their first ever dedicated green cars at the GenevaInternational Motor Show on Tuesday as they strive to make inroads into the European market.
Hyundai Motor Co. showed off all three powertrain versions of its IONIQ, while its corporate cousin Kia Motors Corp. drew attention with its Niro gasoline-electric crossover.
The conventional hybrid IONIQ that was first unveiled in Seoul has been claimed by Hyundai to have class-leading fuel economy with its 1.56 kilowatt lithium-ion polymer battery mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT). With this setup the car can achieve an impressive fuel economy of 22.4 kilometers on a liter of fuel.
The carmaker, the flagship of the Hyundai Motor Group, the world’s fifth largest automotive conglomerate, added that the pure electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid models of the IONIQ will add to its credentials as a company able to make globally competitive eco-friendly cars.
“Both the EV and plug-in cars are being shown for the first time ever,” the carmaker said. It said the EV version has a 120 horsepower motorunder the hood that can generate 30 kilogram-force meters of torque, propelling the car to speeds of up to 165 kilometers per hour.
It said the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) version of the car can be driven on battery power alone for 50 kilometers, as measured on the European test cycle.
Kia said the Niro, being shown for the first time in Europe, merges the practicality of a small sports utility vehicle with excellent fuel economy. It said the hybrid has a 1.6-liter petro engine connected to a DCT for a fun driving experience.
The car is expected to go on sale in Europe in the third quarter after reaching South Korean buyers within the month.
At the motor show the carmaker also revealed that its new K5 PHEV can travel 54 kilometers on a single charge before switching to its internal combustion engine for power.
Kia said the K5 plug-in, which is sold as the Optima in the United States, will reach Europe in the fourth quarter.
Besides the green car models on display, Hyundai Motor Group put its Genesis G90 full-size luxury sedan on display. The group said the Genesis-branded car that aims to compete with market heavy hitters like Germany’s Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi will reach the U.S. market later in the year.
“There are presently no plans to launch the G90 in Europe,” a company official said.