(SOUTH AFRICA), 31 January 2013. During 2012, the Kia dealer network has expanded by 10% and now consists of 68 Kia dealers nationally. As part of a plan to become an environmentally conscious brand, KMSA will be opening its first eco-friendly solar powered dealership in Weltevreden Park on 19 February 2013, which is also a first in the local automotive industry. Official construction for this new dealership started in January 2012, and will be completed at the end of January 2013.  This will be KMSA’s flagship dealership, and is a massive 3620m2 in size.

KIA South Africa

The two major areas that contribute to this dealership’s eco-friendly philosophy include power saving in the form of renewable energy and water recycling.

The dealership will be powered by 288 roof-mounted solar panels, creating a daily maximum of 69kW of power, which is enough to power an average of 22 households per day. The energy generated by these panels is split between three converters, providing three-phase electricity at a capacity of 50 Hertz and 240 Volts. This electricity then goes directly into the load as required. If the supply of electricity exceeds the demand, the remaining electricity is stored in three state-of-the-art battery banks.

The main function of these battery banks is to serve as a back-up system should the load be affected by a power outage or bad weather conditions. Should this happen, the energy from the battery banks then moves through the three inverters, creating enough electricity to power the entire dealership for 12 hours.

In line with the dealership’s environmental policy, low wattage luminaires  (fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps) are used in the major areas of the dealership. Standard high base 400-Watt lamps are replaced with 4 x 54-Watt lamps, providing the same light, but using less energy. Occupancy sensors have been installed in most areas of the building which will switch off automatically after a few minutes if no movement is detected, further contributing to the dealerships overall energy saving.

The second main contributor to the eco-friendliness of Kia Weltevreden is its ability to recycle water through its state-of-the-art filtration system. Rainwater is collected from the facility’s roof and is then distributed into six containers, each with a holding capacity of 10000 litres. This water is then pumped into the car wash where it is used, whereafter it gets pumped back into the water filtration system which purifies the water from oil, soap or any other dirt. This water is then filtered and pumped back into the containers, to be re-used in the car wash bay.

“The Kia brand has shifted to the next level. Not only do we offer consumers a competitive value proposition with our re-designed and re-engineered products, but ventures like our brand new solar powered dealership have given us the platform to become leaders in the industry, comments David Sieff, National Marketing Manager of Kia Motors South Africa.

On a global level, the move to eco-friendly products is well underway, with Kia product offerrings covering electric, hybrid electric and fuel cell derivatives of certain models. As the demand for eco dynamic vehicles increases, these will be made available to markets outside of North America and Europe.

“Although these vehicles are not currently available to the South African market, we have decided to focus our efforts on making the operational side of Kia Motors South Africa as eco-friendly as possible, with Kia Weltevreden being the blueprint for future eco-friendly dealerships.  We are very excited about the opening of this new solar-powered dealership, and look forward to Kia consumers experiencing the brand’s true power to surprise”, he concludes.