Kia is unveiling a new wind-assist system, set to debut on a new concept called the Kia Aero-Soul. We have pics and details inside.

How cool is this? Photos and details of the long-rumored Kia Aero-Soul concept have finally been revealed. The Korean automaker unveiled the wind-assisted version of the Soul, with sales to begin next month.

The vehicle uses a low-cost system that can mount to any products in Kia's line-up. Available with new cars and retroactively, the Air Propulsion and Retardation Installation Line uses sensors to detect wind speed as the Soul is driving down the highway. Once wind speed is at a strong enough rate, panels built into the bumpers are deployed to harness the wind power to assist in speeding up the car.

This system does not just work when the car is running at speed. When braking or decelerating the panels also pop out like drag chutes to help slow the car down. Also part of the system is a reverse thruster that drops down from behind the exhaust pipe to reduce the strain on the brakes.

From her Mabuk, Korea, office, Kia green-technology engineer Avril Babo said, "The big problem with most emission reduction systems is that they are expensive. We wanted to come up with an answer that didn't cost the earth and could be retrospectively applied to cars already on the road."

Testing in Nong Dam shows that fuel efficiency can be increased by 25%, with emissions reduced by as much as 40%. When using the system while on a severe downhill slope, fuel use and CO2 emissions drops to almost nothing. The system is even beneficial if you live in a calmer environment. Just using the system to help braking can reduce fuel use by 10%, decrease emissions by 15%, and extend brake-pad life by nearly 50%.

The Kia Aero-Soul concept, with the Air Propulsion and Retardation Installation Line, or A.P.R.I.L., will be available shortly. Pricing will be revealed closer to the release date.


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