Normally, we expect car companies to do what’s right there in the name: build and sell cars. They aren’t Homer Simpson’s version of the garbage man, and we don’t expect them to clean up the whole world. So, when we see them making an effort to do more, it makes sense to highlight the effort to go above and beyond.
Two recent press releases from Kia tell two stories of the company doing just that. Kia has been supporting efforts to remove plastics and other garbage from the ocean, and has an upcoming event it’s attending to help educate the public about EVs.
Let’s take a look at each one!
De-Trashing The Oceans
Kia will incorporate recycled plastic from a 55-ton haul of plastic trash retrieved from the Pacific Ocean, and use the material in their new EV models. This significant amount of plastic, reclaimed by Kia’s global partner, The Ocean Cleanup, represents the next stage of a 7-year global partnership established in April 2022, supporting Kia’s transition into a prominent provider of sustainable mobility solutions.
The Ocean Cleanup, an international non-profit project dedicated to removing plastic from the oceans, successfully retrieved a significant amount of plastic waste at Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada. This remarkable achievement was made possible by The Ocean Cleanup’s System 002 extraction technology, which was utilized after a lengthy journey through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP).
The GPGP is the largest accumulation of floating waste in the world, with an estimated surface area of 1.6 million square kilometers, equivalent to three times the size of France.
Recycling of the captured plastic will start soon, with Kia utilizing a portion of the material in upcoming models. This policy aligns with Kia’s dedication to offering sustainable mobility solutions that make a measurable impact in achieving sustainability on a larger scale.
“The record catch of plastics brought to shore by The Ocean Cleanup for recycling is tangible proof of how technology can deliver sustainable solutions at scale,” said Charles Ryu, Senior Vice President and Head of the Global Brand & CX Division at Kia Corp. “Kia’s partnership with The Ocean Cleanup demonstrates the brand’s commitment to having a positive impact. Initiatives such as this one perfectly align with Kia’s transition to a sustainable mobility solutions provider and our Plan S strategy, through which we embrace the needs of our customers and the protection of our environment by acting as a responsible corporate citizen.”
Kia has already implemented over 30 sustainable solutions in various product areas, such as utilizing recycled PET for fabrics and carpets, using bio-based alternative leather, and employing BTX-free paint. In the case of the EV9, Kia’s flagship 7-seat all-electric SUV, upcycled waste, including fishing nets from the ocean, is used to create the floor carpets. The EV9 incorporates approximately 34kg of recycled plastic and bio-based, eco-friendly materials in its construction.
After successfully bringing the record haul to shore, The Ocean Cleanup unveiled its new System 03 technology. With a size almost triple that of System 002, System 03 can capture larger quantities of plastic at a reduced cost per kilogram, operating year-round. It also incorporates advanced environmental monitoring and safety features, including the Marine Animal Safety Hatch designed to protect marine life. This scale-up represents the next step towards The Ocean Cleanup’s goal of removing 90% of floating ocean plastic by 2040.
“This record delivery marks the end of the System 002 era for The Ocean Cleanup, and the perfect platform as we launch System 03,” said Nisha Bakker, Director Partnerships of The Ocean Cleanup. “We are moving forward step-by-step, and we believe that System 03 represents the size of system required to scale up and expand our cleanup in the most economical way. Beyond System 03, we plan to deploy a fleet of systems that together will be capable of removing 50 per cent of the GPGP every five years. However, we cannot do this alone. Committed and valued partners, and particularly our global partner Kia, remain essential for The Ocean Cleanup to bring our shared ambitions of plastic-free oceans to reality.”
Education at Electrify Expo
Kia will showcase its award-winning EV lineup at Electrify Expo. Attendees can gain insights into EV ownership, experience electric vehicles firsthand, and test drive the Kia EV6, winner of the 2023 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year™ award. Also available for test drives are the EV6 GT, winner of the 2023 World Performance Car title, and the acclaimed 2023 Niro EV model.
“Electrify Expo is the best place to learn about electric vehicles, experience Kia’s commitment to sustainable mobility and learn more about what’s in store for the future of automotive electrification,” said Steven Center, COO & EVP, Kia America. “With our world-class lineup of award-winning electrified models continually gaining in popularity, we look at the Electrify Expo events as a way reach even more consumers and learn about not only their attitudes toward electrification, but also dispel some of the pervasive myths regarding the impact transitioning to EVs will have on their day-to-day lives.”
Kia, along with six other leading automakers, including BMW Group, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz Group, and Stellantis NV, is forming a joint venture to develop a nationwide network of charging stations. This initiative aims to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles and make zero-emission driving more accessible.
Kia has also produced an educational video series called “Kia EV Education 101 – An Introduction to Hybrids and EVs.” These videos provide clarity and understanding about owning an electric vehicle. They are available for free on the Kia America YouTube Channel and cover topics such as commonly used terms, differences between hybrid and all-electric vehicles, at home vs. public charging, EV cost savings, maximizing battery life, and planning for road trips.
Attendees and industry leaders will engage in discussions regarding legislation impacting the EV industry, range anxiety, battery materials and sustainability, charging infrastructure, the future of autonomous driving applications, and supply chain barriers.
Featured image provided by Kia.
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