Kia has announced that full-scale production of six new Kia cee'd ISG models (Idle Stop & Go) has begun at its Zilina plant in Slovakia. European customers will be the first to receive the ISG equipped cars which can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 15 percent during city driving.
Kia has been investing large sums into the development of eco-friendly technologies and vehicles. Hybrid, fuel-cell, and electric systems are all being explored; the ISG technology being one of the first fruits of Kia's labour.
Hyoung-Keun Lee, Senior Executive Vice President and COO of the International Business Division, outlined Kia's intent:
"The new Kia cee'd ISG models confirm Kia's commitment to creating more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient production models - without losing sight of customer expectations for Kia cars to feature a sporty design, fun-to-drive performance and a strong appeal to the young-at-heart."
The ISG system automatically switches the engine off when the car is stopped in traffic, restarting the engine instantly in response to driver input when the traffic moves. In typical city stop-start driving conditions, the ISG system can cut fuel consumption and emissions by up to 15 percent. That figure drops in the combined cycle to around six percent - a solid step in the right direction.
A new 'smart' starter motor is linked to an upgraded ECU as part of the ISG system. The starter and ECU combo monitor the car's status at all times. When the vehicle comes to a stop, such as at traffic lights, the ECU uses information from various other control systems to decide if switching the engine off is appropriate.
Continuing the new and smart theme, a high-efficiency alternator suppresses electric power demand during acceleration and recharges the car's battery during deceleration. As a 'fail-safe', if the car's battery power drops below 75 percent charge, or there is insufficient power available for the next start-up, the system will abort the ISG program.
From standstill, the driver simply depresses the clutch pedal to instantly restart the car (so there's no delay in getting going). The Kia cee'd will also receive a lighter manual transmission, which more than compensates for the extra kit needed for ISG
Mr Panu Vainamo, General Manager Marketing, Kia Motors Europe, where the cee'd ISG will be released, had this to say.
"In Europe, the Kia cee'd has rapidly established itself as a genuine rival to class-leading vehicles in the C-segment. Now, we are proud to transfer some of the 'green-performance' features shown on earlier Kia concept cars into our 2009 production models. The ISG innovation will maintain the cee'd as a highly competitive challenger in its class, with a CO2 rating from just 137 g/km."
Both 1.4 litre and 1.6 litre petrol engines will be available in European Kia cee'd ISG models with a five-door hatch, five-door sport wagon and three-door available. Pricing and availability will vary across Europe depending upon the particular market.
Later during 2009, similar ISG technology will also be made available for the 1.6 litre diesel Kia cee'd and will also appear on other Kia models, in 2010 and beyond. Numerous markets outside of Europe are also slated to receive the cee'd ISG. We'll keep you posted on local availability when more information comes to light.