The opening of the Seoul Auto Show in South Korea is just days away now and several unveilings will take place.  Notably, the unveiling of the Kia Forte LPI hybrid has garnered a lot of interest.  Kia, owned by Hyundai, will introduce the Forte LPI Hybrid to the public at the Seoul Auto Show, but also will announce plans to produce its first full hybrid car and many other eco-friendly vehicles over the next few years through a sub brand called Eco-Dynamics.

The Forte LPI Hybrid will feature a 1.6 liter liquified petroleum engine that outputs 114 horsepower.  The LP motor is paired with an electric motor that generates an additional 20 hp and a continuosly variable transmission.  Power for the electric motor is supplied by an advance lithium polymer battery supplied by LG Chem.  The Forte LPI Hybrid  is expected to achieve 41 mpg on liquified petroleum.

The Forte LPI  hybrid has several changes that differentiate it from the non-hybrid models.  Changes include aerodynamic tweaks, a different grille, a different front bumper, and a rear bumper that incorporates LED lights.  Inside, the Forte receives a new instrument cluster with a Super Vision panel for displaying hybrid data.

The Kia Forte LPI will be the first hybrid car to be powered by a lithium polymer battery system.  The lithium polymer system offers weight savings over other battery types and the ability to output additional power in a smaller package.  The batteries will be similar to those that will later power the Chevy Volt.

Kia and parent company Hyundai plan to invest in the future of hybrids.  They plan to spend $6 billion in research and development in the upcoming year and have stated that the bulk of the spending will go towards develop of hybrid and fuel cell electric cars.

The Seoul Auto Show opens to the public on April 3rd.  Look for additional information as the show gets underway.