The sixth super hero from the Justice League that Kia will pay a tribute to is Superman. This will be the sixth one-off Kia Optima patterned after a super hero. To make this possible, Kia teamed up with the Super Street magazine staff. It got a stock 2013 Optima Hybrid and gave it some muscular flared fenders.
It was then painted using Superman’s colors. Most of the vehicle is painted blue but there’s a metallic red stripe around the side windows and out over the rear fenders to remind us of Kal-El’s cape. In addition, Superman’s logo is stamped on the hood. In a press release, Kia said that the beveled red grille supposedly resembles Superman’s belt, while red-tinted headlamps “glow with the same intensity” of Superman’s heat vision.
Kia isn’t just doing this for kicks. Kia is also hoping to raise awareness and possibly raise funding for DC Entertainment’s We Can Be Heroes campaign, which seeks to relieve the suffering of families in the Horn of Africa who face famine and drought.
It’s rumored that Kia will be building a car for Wonder Woman. There may even be an eighth car that supposedly uses all the elements from the seven comic book heroes. This means that it will pay homage to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg.
While there are a number of powertrain systems available on the market today, the one inside the Kia Optima Hybrid stands apart from the rest owing to having a distinct architecture. Ford, and even Toyota, typically utilize what is known as power-split hybrid systems. However, the Optima Hybrid has what is known as a TMED or Transmission-Mounted-Electric-Drive layout.
What this means is that the electric motor is not included with the transmission gear-set. By making use of this configuration, the Optima Hybrid is able to benefit from a number of advantages. For example, there is the use of powertrain packaging that is clearly more efficient. In addition, a number of its parts are considered “off-the-shelf” like the automatic six-speed transmission paired with the 2.4 liter GDI Optima.
Yet another advantage is that the engineering investment is lowered. Because of this, it means that there are additional combinations that can be used in the future like using motors that are more powerful or having batteries with higher capacity. The Optima Hybrid from Kia is also one of the first full hybrid systems being offered on the market to have the automatic step-ratio transmission as standard.
This is the same transmission that was fitted on the 2011 Kia Sorento CUV when this model was first unveiled. Nothing has been changed for the hybrid version. In addition, Kia added an external oil pump, which is electrically-driven, so that the necessary hydraulic fluid pressure is there, ensuring that the clutches remain engaged even if the vehicle itself is in idle stop mode.
Aside from being hard-coupled to the transmission’s input, the electric motor has a synchronous permanent magnet electric traction motor capable of delivering 40.2 hp (30 kW) with peak torque of 151.2 lb.-ft. Note however that the figures refer to the all-electric mode as the hybrid mode produces 206.2 hp with top torque at 195.4 lb.-ft. Going back to the layout, the Optima Hybrid does not have a torque converter.
Rather there is the multi-disc clutch that is positioned in the middle of the motor and the engine. As such, when under electric drive mode or an idle stop, it makes it possible to de-couple the gas engine from the powertrain. Finally with this configuration, it makes sure that the whole package, torsional damper included, can be placed in an area similar to one that has a standard torque converter.