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 |  Mar 24 2009, 10:53 AM

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Ahead of it’s official unveiling at the Seoul Auto Show, Kia has dropped the curtain on its first ever hybrid, the Forte LPI hybrid.

Based on the upcoming Forte compact sedan, the hybrid model makes use of a 1.6-liter engine that runs on liquid petroleum (more commonly known as propane). The Liquefied Petroleum Injected (LPI) engine makes 114hp with an electric motor that adds an additional 20hp for a total of 134hp.

The battery pack in the Forte LPI is a new state-of-the-art product that Kia has developed with parent company Hyundai and LG Chem. This lithium polymer battery (as opposed to the lithium-ion batteries used in most other hybrids) is lighter and smaller and has a higher output than a nickel-metal hydride unit.

A new CVT transmission is also a part of the package.

Kia says the Forte LPI hybrid will achieve a combined fuel economy rating of 40.5 mpg – which is says is the equivalent to 50.6 with gasoline (presumably due to the lower cost of propane).

Unfortunately LPI or propane isn’t readily available in most markets and so this vehicle isn’t likely to make it to most of the world. The vehicle will, however go on sale in South Korea in August.

While unveiling the car Kia did, however, state that it will bring another full hybrid car to production in 2010, with a hydrogen fuel cell car and plug-in hybrid in 2012. Parent company Hyundai is also planning a hybrid version of the Sonata for 2010.

GALLERY: Kia Forte LPI Hybrid

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[Source: Kia-World.net]