IRVINE, Calif., April 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Recognized as one of the "50 Best Global Green Brands" by Interbrand, Kia Motors is celebrating Earth Week by highlighting its commitment to environmental sustainability in the United States, including important local partnerships with The Ecology Center and Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC), as well as marking the arrival of the refreshed 2014 Optima Hybrid in showrooms. The Optima Hybrid will be joined later this year by Kia's first all-electric, zero-emission vehicle in the U.S. – the Soul EV – and both vehicles illustrate the brand's vision for a greener future. As such, Kia Motors America (KMA) will place two electric car charging units at The Ecology Center, a San Juan Capistrano, Calif.-based non-profit eco-education center dedicated to creating a healthy and abundant future for all of Southern California. Community members will benefit from Kia-subsidized vehicle charging.
"Making an impact in the communities we call home is an important component of Kia's overall sustainability efforts as consumers' interest in living a 'green' lifestyle goes well beyond owning reduced-and zero-emission vehicles to embracing eco-consciousness in all aspects of daily life," said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of sales and marketing, KMA. "The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano and the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach support food, water supply and marine life conservation, among other environmental issues, and Kia is proud to support the education and preservation missions of both organizations."
The 2014 Optima Hybrid builds upon the advancements of its award-winning gas-powered sibling, which went on sale in late-fall of last year. Outfitted with its own exclusive enhancements, including front and rear fascia updates designed to increase aerodynamic efficiency, the 2014 Optima Hybrid improves upon its predecessor, which was named one of the "Top 11 Most Fuel-Efficient Sedans for 2013" by Edmunds.com and set a world record for lowest fuel consumption by a gasoline hybrid car traveling through all 48 contiguous U.S. states, getting nearly 65 mpg over 8,000 miles.
"As an environmentally minded company, The Ecology Center is extremely pleased to work with Kia to bring subsidized electric vehicle chargers to the local community," said Evan Marks, executive director, The Ecology Center. "We are a regional education hub that empowers individuals and families, and our partnership with Kia means we can apply that same thinking on an even broader scope at our facility and better spread the message of sustainability to even more members of the community in southern California and beyond."
Earlier this year, KMA pledged to support the PMMC's efforts in a multitude of ways, including the donation of a Soul community outreach vehicle, participating in staff beach clean-ups, sponsoring recovering sea lion patients at the hospital, and more. The Kia Soul will be used to support the organization's mission of marine mammal rehabilitation and education.
"Community philanthropy and funds to support education is what keeps non-profit organizations like the PMMC successful in being a widely recognized leader in marine mammal rehabilitation science," said Keith Matassa, executive director, PMMC. "As the Center continues to expand its reach, it is the perfect partner with which Kia can work together to bring awareness to the public about environmental conservation and consideration to benefit our planet."
2014 Optima Hybrid
The refreshed 2014 Optima Hybrid is available in two trim levels – Base and EX. It features new front and rear fascias for enhanced aerodynamic efficiency and improved styling; new head and tail lamps, LED fog lights, a unique mesh patterned grille and new alloy wheels and fender garnishes. A lithium-polymer battery that offers 20-30 percent more power density while occupying 40 percent less volume than competitors propels the Optima Hybrid, which boasts 199 horsepower (combined) and 235 lb-ft of torque (combined) – seven less horsepower but 40 more lb-ft of torque over the previous model year. The base model achieves 36 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and 38 mpg combined1; EX achieves 35 mpg city, 39 mpg highway and 37 mpg combined1. The EX trim features a panoramic sunroof, Infinity® audio2, HID headlights, and heated and cooled front seats and heated rear seats. In addition, a white interior package with black piping is now optional on the EX model.
About The Ecology Center
The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano, is an exciting educational center that engages individuals, families, and students in fun, hands-on activities that teach practical, environmental solutions at the household and community level. The Ecology Center seeks to bring all members of the community together in a solutions-based educational setting to inspire and create a healthy and abundant future for all of Southern California. The Center highlights empowering and cutting-edge environmental perspectives that can be applied to the way we live our lives, making it possible for us to coexist with a thriving environment.
About Pacific Marine Mammal Center
Established in 1971, Pacific Marine Mammal Center is among the forerunners in marine mammal rehabilitation science. The only organization of its kind in Orange County, PMMC responds to approximately 300 marine mammal rescue calls each year. Pacific Marine Mammal Center is a non-profit organization with a mission to rescue, medically treat, and rehabilitate pinnipeds and cetaceans that strand along the Orange County coastline due to injury or illness; to release healthy marine mammals back to their natural habitat while preserving species diversity; and to increase public awareness of the marine environment through education and research.
About Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America (KMA) is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA proudly serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA and surpassed the 500,000 annual sales mark for the second consecutive year in 2013 following the launch of seven all-new or significantly redesigned vehicles. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles, including the rear-drive K900 flagship sedan3, Cadenza premium sedan, Sorento CUV, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Sportage compact CUV, Optima midsize sedan, Optima Hybrid, the Forte compact sedan, Forte5 and Forte Koup, Rio and Rio 5-door sub-compacts and the Sedona midsize multi-purpose vehicle, through a network of more than 765 dealers across the United States. Kia's U.S. manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia, builds the Optima* and Sorento* and is responsible for the creation of more than 14,000 plant and supplier jobs.
Information about KMA and its full vehicle line-up is available at www.kia.com. For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com. To receive custom email notifications for press releases the moment they are published, subscribe at www.kiamedia.com/us/en/newsalert.
*The Sorento and Optima GDI (EX, SX & Limited and certain LX Trims only) are assembled in the United States from U.S. and globally-sourced parts.
 Subsidized funding expected to last six months.
1 Based on EPA estimates. Actual mileage will vary with options, driving conditions, driving habits and your vehicle's condition.
2 Infinity is a registered trademark of Harman International Industries, Incorporated.
3 2015 K900 V8 available in select trims and in select markets with limited availability.
SOURCE Kia Motors America