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Kia deals an ACE in Las Vegas

Kia deals an ACE in Las Vegas

Chris Russon, 2018-01-10

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IMAGINE a car that drives itself, produces no emissions and can stream information faster than any smartphone.

Technology is about to transform our cars in a way that would be unimaginable only a few years ago.

And the change will be rapid - very rapid if what's just been revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas goes according to plan.

Pacesetters include Kia, Hyundai, Nissan and Toyota as well as big hitters such as Ford and Volkswagen.

Kia set the ball rolling with an aggressive strategy announcing 16 new electrified vehicles including a hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicle and an advanced battery powered car capable of almost 250 miles on a single charge.

It's what the Korean car maker calls its ACE plan - Autonomous, Connected, Eco/Electric - and the transformation begins later this year with the launch of an electric version of the Niro compact SUV.

With a battery pack 50 per cent more powerful than the latest Nissan Leaf - the car which has spearheaded electric driving in the UK - Kia is out to set a new standard using a 64KWh power pack that gives the new EV plenty of performance and more importantly a range of 238 miles.

The car will also have a fast charging facility of adding some 115 miles to the range in 30 minutes.

Kia will also be updating its first pure electric model - the Soul EV which was launched three years ago - and has three other EVs in the pipeline along with 10 other hybrid or plug-in hybrids.

The newcomers will include electric and hybrid version of the next generation cee'd which Kia builds in Europe and is due for release later this year.

Kia will also be branching out into fuel cell technology, following sister brand Hyundai which already has a hydrogen FCEV version of the ix35 SUV on sale in Britain and another on the way in the shape of the NEXO crossover-style SUV it revealed at the CES.

Both brands will be pushing ahead with self-driving technology with Kia starting autonomous vehicle trials in certain ‘smart' cities in Europe, Asia and North America by 2021.

Critical to the development is the arrival of super-fast 5G connectivity which Kia showed off in Las Vegas on a concept version of the Niro EV and in a demonstration streaming video and data from Korea to Nevada in milliseconds.

The high-speed data transfer will not only allow greater in-car entertainment opportunities - start watching a movie at home and then carry on viewing as a passenger in the car - but will also integrate your vehicle into your home technology.

That's the vision - how quickly that side of things emerges is still a movable feast - but even with current connectivity speeds, Kia will soon be using advanced telemetry to govern a car's maintenance schedules or spot any problems with the car automatically transmitting up to date information to service centres across the globe.

Kia calls its technology mission ‘Boundless for All' and the big picture sees us all cloaked in a connected world linking everyday activities with our homes and travel.

A glimpse of such advances was part of the Niro concept car which also included advanced styling such as LED light decoration in the door trim and a moving light strip across the nose of the car.

Dr Woong-chul Yang, Kia's vice chairman and head of its research and development centre, said: "Boundless for All is Kia's future vision - where everyone has the opportunity to enjoy infinite value that future mobility will bring."

He added: "Consumers are bound today by the idea that a car is 'just a vehicle' but Kia is committed to providing broader solutions to mobility."

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