2009 Kia Soul
Kia Borrego FCEV
2009 Kia Soul (top); Kia Borrego FCEV. Click image to enlarge

Los Angeles, California – Kia has celebrated the global unveiling of the all-new Kia Borrego Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) and the production version of the new Soul at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The Borrego FCEV, a new version in Kia’s fuel cell electric vehicle program, includes a higher-output, 154-horsepower fuel cell and new 450-volt supercapacitor, for higher performance, a greatly extended driving range, and cold-weather starting capability for sub-zero temperatures. This marks an additional 47 horsepower over the company’s previous FCEV, and gives it a top speed of 161 km/h with a best-in-class system efficiency of 62 per cent.

“Entering this new phase of our program is really exciting,” said Dr. Hyun Soon Lee, president of research and development for the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group. “Now we will be able to build fuel cell electric vehicles in higher volumes and lower cost for fleet testing, and the latest Borrego FCEV drives us closer to making fuel cell vehicles available for consumers.”

The company also unveiled the production version of the Soul, which will go on sale in the U.S. in March 2009. The concept was originally designed in California and comes full circle with the production model’s Los Angeles Auto Show debut.

The U.S.-specification Soul will be available in four trim levels of Soul, Soul+, Soul!, and Soul Sport. The range includes such features as body-coloured bumpers, privacy glass, sport-tuned suspension, a rear spoiler and 18-inch alloy wheels, along with available Bluetooth, MP3 capability, Sirius satellite radio, USB and iPod connectivity, and a 315-watt sound system with external amplifier, trunk-mounted subwoofer, and dash-mounted centre speaker.

In the U.S., Soul will come with a 1.6-four cylinder engine producing 120 horsepower and mated to a five-speed manual transmission, or with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder producing 140 horsepower, and with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. Safety features will include a tire pressure monitoring system and side and curtain airbags, and available antilock brakes, electronic stability control, and rear disc brakes.

Connect with Autos.ca