2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

Hypermiling extraordinaire Wayne Gerdes, along with colleague Chris Bernius (both friends of the site), are heading out on a big journey today. The two will leave from Kia Motors' manufacturing facility in West Point, GA on a trip through 48 states in a clockwise direction, finishing in South Carolina 16 days from now.

Gerdes and Bernius will jump behind the wheel of a bone-stock 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid, with the aim of setting a record for lowest fuel consumption in a hybrid vehicle while driving an 8,000-mile route through all 48 contiguous states. (To see how the 2012 Chevy Cruze Eco fared on this type of journey, click here).

The 2.4-liter Optima Hybrid returns an EPA estimated 35 miles per gallon in the city and 40 mpg highway. However, given these hypermilers' previous results, it's safe to assume that they will beat those numbers by a truly significant margin. If you'd like to track the drivers' progress, you can receive live updates via Kia's Twitter feed and though a specially-developed Facebook app on Kia's Worldwide page. Good luck, guys!
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Kia gears up for fuel economy record attempt

August 26th, 2011

Two motorists are preparing to drive a 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid into the pages of the Guinness Book of World Records this week as they aim to set a new record for lowest fuel consumption (in a gasoline hybrid car) while driving through all 48 adjoining states of America.

Taking on the epic 8,000 mile fuel economy driving challenge will be experienced fuel economy driver Wayne Gerdes and his colleague and friend Chris Bernius, who will be completing the journey in a factory-standard Kia Optima Hybrid.

The record attempt will see the drivers depart from Kia Motors' manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia, on August 26, travelling through the 48 adjoining states in a clockwise direction, before finishing in South Carolina just 16 days later, on September 10.

Kia fans wishing to track the drivers' progress will be able to receive live updates via Kia's Twitter feed (@Kia_Motors) and a specially-developed Facebook app on Kia's Worldwide page: http://www.facebook.com/Kiamotorsworldwide. Photos, video footage and a written blog will be uploaded to the page on a daily basis from August 26. The Facebook app will also enable visitors to explore the drivers' route in detail, find out further information on the Kia Optima Hybrid and will also offer some best practice tips for motorists to achieve better fuel economy in their own vehicles.

Senior Executive Vice President & COO of Kia Motors Corporation, Thomas Oh, said, "Fuel economy is becoming increasingly important to car buyers all around the world and the Kia Optima Hybrid is one of our latest models to address this consumer requirement.

"Driving through all 48 adjoining US states is the ultimate 'real-world' challenge, but the Kia Optima Hybrid gives the drivers the very best chance of setting a new Guinness World Record, as it has been specifically designed to achieve maximum fuel economy in all driving conditions, not just in the city," Oh continued.

The Optima Hybrid is Kia's first hybrid vehicle in the U.S. market and went on sale in East- and West-coast regions in June 2011, priced from US$26,500, with national availability by the end of 2011. A European version – which mates the electric motor to a smaller, 2.0-liter gasoline engine – is expected to go on sale in some markets in 2012.

The 2.4-litre Optima Hybrid employs a unique and innovative parallel gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain developed by Kia that delivers a unique blend of performance – acceleration to 100 kph (62 mph) in 9.2 seconds, a top speed of 195 kph (121 mph), plus highly-competitive fuel economy equivalent to a 40.7 per cent fuel consumption improvement over the standard Optima EX model in the USA.