Kia Motors has premiered its first ethanol-gasoline powered model, the Soul Flex, at the 26th Salao Internacional do Automovel, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Designed for the Brazilian market, where flexible fuel models account for more than 85% of the new car sales, the vehicle can run on an ethanol-gasoline mixture, 100% ethanol or 100% gasoline.
The Soul Flex not only offers a 44% improvement in fuel efficiency compared to the petrol Soul, but improved power and torque as well, with 126 hp and 162 Nm being 3.2% and 3.7% better respectively than the petrol model.
Changes from the gasoline model include a newly adapted fuel injection and catalyst system as well as engine compression ratio. To accommodate the more abrasive nature of ethanol fuel, the fuel pump, pillar cap and fuel line have been reinforced, and a gasoline tank assistance system has been fitted to aid engine ignition at low temperatures.
Exports of the Soul Flex to Brazil begin this month, with the vehicle going on sale in the market early next year, and the company is planning to introduce the flex version of its Sportage SUV model at the end of 2011. Currently, Brazil is ranked second in the world in terms of ethanol production, and consequently its motorists enjoy the low cost of ethanol, which is 40% cheaper than gasoline.