• Aug 26, 2011
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.


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  • 9 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good luck, should be rather easy to up the rated mileage with extra defensive driving. Might get some (alot) people frustrated though where aggressive driving is more than the norm of lifestyle. To think of it, 8000 miles is rather long road trip. I remember a study made by the French (or Japanese?) that up to 600 to 1000 km (375 to 600 miles) a High-Speed Rail is the best choise of transit in terms of time, money and environment while beyond the 1000 km taking an airline aircraft is the fastest option. Buses and passenger cars on the other hand were the fastest for up to about 100 km or 60 miles.
      Bryan Lund
      • 3 Years Ago
      Best looking midsize, the Kia Optima, and Kia is rising faster than the hair on the back of Donald Trump's neck when he talks about the U.S. and politics and economics. They will break any existing world records with the Kia Optima Hybrid. Look for a story round about September 11th-12th.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      isn't he the guy that the automakers pay a lot of money to fool reporters into thinking their not green car is actually green anyway. it was an F150 last time and journalist rode along cross country and bought it hook line and sinker. how green a ford F150 is.. and so is this
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Nope, he's the guy who leaves his bedroom and goes and does 'stuff'. He then writes about his activities, and is read by people who find his adventures interesting! As opposed to a negative little troll, sitting in his bedroom, writing nonsense no one wants to read, or finds interesting, about things he's never done, knows nothing about, or will ever accomplish!
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          so Kia didn't pay him big bucks for this greenwash.. just like out of the goodness of his heart he picked a Ferd F-150 to show just how green it was. and pigs fly. I wish I could be a sell out like that too.. the oil companies go out and do stuff too. they destroy the world and lie to the sheep. and you apologize for them.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I too have kia Optima.. 2.0, 6 speed manual I take it to the extreme.. I live in a hilly area and for the record my one way trip is 18 miles.. but... by shutting OFF the car on the downhill run.. I have gotten it down to 6 MILES.. coasting the other 12 with no gas I fill my tank once a month...I used to drive a Denali and the money I save is almost 50% more than my Kia payment.....woo hoo
      • 3 Years Ago
      I too have kia Optima.. 2.0, 6 speed manual I take it to the extreme.. I live in a hilly area and for the record my one way trip is 18 miles.. but... by shutting OFF the car on the downhill run.. I have gotten it down to 6 MILES.. coasting the other 12 with no gas I fill my tank once a month...I used to drive a Denali and the money I save is almost 50% more than my Kia payment.....woo hoo
      Chris M
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, they may set a record, but the Optima isn't the most fuel efficient hybrid, so it isn't the best choice for setting that type of record. I wouldn't be surprised if they lost that record within a few years.
        HVH20
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Chris M
        Exactly what I was thinking. A stock Gen 1 Honda Insight with the manual transmission and a good hypermiler would beat them.