2011 SEMA Show: Kia Optima Hybrid Slam Dunk is a mobile basketball court

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 2, 2011

Kia will feature basketball superstar Blake Griffin in numerous TV spots to promote the Optima. This was bound to happen after Griffin won the All-Star Slam Dunk competition early in the year by leaping over this midsize sedan. Kia’s upcoming commercials will put the focus on the Optima’s modern features, its output that’s at the top of the class, as well as its advanced technologies.

Kia's first-ever hybrid in the U.S. will feature some hardwood courtesy of WCC. This model offers a top-of-the-class fuel economy rating of up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway.

It’s clear even from a distance what the inspiration is for the WCC Optima Hybrid. Its sunset and cinnamon pearl paint scheme fades to "ketchme" copper pearl, creating a realistic basketball-textured look with Blake Griffin's personal logo prominently showing on the hood. The Slam Dunk Optima Hybrid's athletic profile is emphasized by a custom-painted grille and outside mirrors and door handles that have matching colors.

It is equipped with a set of 20-inch Niche matte black powder coated wheels that are covered in Continental extreme contact tires. Its competitive look is brought out even more by its tinted tail and marker lights.

Fans will love the basketball court flooring in the front and rear wells as well as its custom Roadwire Kings Ranch leather seats with suede inserts, white contrast stitching and the embroidery in the front headrests of Blake Griffin's autograph. Even the door panel inserts, headliner and sun visors use an interesting mix of leather and suede.

Introducing the newest member of 2011 Kia Optima midsize sedan lineup: the new Kia Optima Hybrid. Unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Kia Optima Hybrid is Kia’s first hybrid in the United States, trumpeting its striking design, spacious cabin and class-leading fuel efficiency (40 mpg estimated) to appeal to customers seeking a stylish yet well-equipped sedan that does not take for granted performance, style, comfort and value for the sake of fuel economy. It is powered by a Kia-developed powertrain that employs an array of innovative technologies to deliver remarkable hybrid performance and efficiency.

Employing a full parallel hybrid system, the 2011 Optima Hybrid can be driven in either of the two available modes: full electric and gas-electric mode. When operated in full-electric drive mode, the Optima Hybrid emits zero carbon dioxide and could go as fast as 62 miles per hour. On the other hand, when in hybrid gas-electric mode, the Optima Hybrid could be driven at any speed.

Once the Optima Hybrid comes to a halt and the electrical load has been reduced to low, the engine shuts off to get rid of idle fuel consumption and emissions. The new 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid gets its electric power from a durable lithium polymer battery that Kia developed in South Korea alongside partner LG Chem. This lithium polymer battery boasts of power and energy density that allowed Kia engineers to develop a lighter and more compact battery pack, which helps increase the Hybrid’s fuel economy and optimize its cargo space.

In fact, the 30kW battery pack weighs just 95.9 pounds, or around 28 pounds lighter than the nickel metal hydride pack that powers the 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid. Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications at Kia Motors America, remarked that the carmaker is aggressively expanding its investments as well as research and development in green car in the same manner that the company is committed to the quality and design innovations of its products over the last decade.

He quipped that by offering its first-ever hybrid in the US, Kia is now offering three powerful and fuel-efficient powertrain choices, thereby continuing the brand’s philosophy of providing stylish, value-packed vehicles that boast of terrific fuel efficiency.

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