This is the new Kia Aero-Soul concept car, which promises to improve fuel consumption and exhaust emissions as part of its Eco Dynamics promises. The Aero-Soul concept car showcases a new innovative yet simple and cost effective features called the Air Propulsion and Retardation Installation Line (APRIL).
The system uses small sensors built into the front and rear bumpers to monitor external wind speed and deploy panels when the wind is sufficient enough to help push the car forward. This is a concept taken from airplanes which already benefit from this “tailwind”. Of course, when there is “headwind”, the APRIL panels are retracted to prevent drag that slows the car down, except of course during hard braking, where APRIL panels will also deploy to use the headwind to help slow the car down.
“The big problem with most emission reduction systems is that they are expensive. We wanted to come up with an answer that didn’t cost the earth and could be retrospectively applied to cars already on the road,” said Kia systems manager Avril Babo.
Miss Babo added that tests of this system at Kia’s Nong Dam facility have shown that during windy weather fuel consumption can be reduced by up to 25% and emissions by anything up 40%. She says that in calm weather, using the system simply under braking can result in reductions of 10% and 15% respectively.
Kia says that in perfect conditions – downhill with a following wind fuel use and exhaust gasses can be reduced to almost zero. APRIL also improves brakepad life, which can be extended by anything up to 50% depending on driver behaviour.
APRIL will also be available as a bolt-on aftermarket accessory officially available from Kia to retrofit to existing Kias. I will suggest to the Naza Group which distributes Kia cars in Malaysia to order these to reduce fuel consumption and emissions of its Zalnas premium taxi fleet. It will surely change people’s perception of public taxis in Malaysia.