Kia unveiled a slew of customized vehicles today at the SEMA show in Las Vegas and one of them was a unique Forte Hybrid Concept. The hybrid powertrain includes a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that operates on propane and is coupled to an electric hybrid system, which uses lithium-polymer batteries.
Liquid propane can be used to power internal combustion engines just like gasoline, but LPG spews fewer toxins and smog-forming pollutants into the air, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. It’s also less expensive than gasoline.
The Kia Forte Hybrid Concept also features lightweight alloy wheels and low-rolling-resistance tires. Exterior and interior updates include body panel enhancements and a lowered stance; interior updates include a 1,200-watt stereo.
The likelihood of a propane-powered hybrid coming to the market seems slim. There are currently no bifuel propane vehicles on sale and little infrastructure to support it. However, Hyundai did unveil a similar LPG hybrid system for the Elantra that featured lithium-polymer batteries two years ago in Korea, so it’s possible that the company is preparing the system for limited commercial or retail use here.
The lithium-polymer battery packs implemented on this concept are already used on the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and likely the upcoming Kia Optima Hybrid.