Kia intends to uncover the new Kia Optima T-Hybrid (turbo hybrid) concept at the 2014 Paris Motor Show on October 2. This version of the Optima features the first application and demonstration of the Kia new mild hybrid powertrain. To start with, the Kia Optima T-Hybrid concept is powered by a 1.7-liter CRDi turbo-diesel engine found on the diesel-run Optima. It is complemented by a small electric motor powered by a 48V lead-carbon battery.
Just recently, Kia provided a glimpse of the diesel-electric powertrain concept at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. This mild hybrid powertrain allows the Optima T-Hybrid concept to run in electric-only mode at low speeds and when cruising. During deceleration, a system allows the battery pack to be recharged.
Kia chose to use lead-carbon batteries for the mild hybrid powertrain since they don’t need to be cooled actively and are easier to recycle at the end of the unit’s lifecycle. Further advancements found on the Optima concept are a zero-emission stop-start system and a new belt-driven starter generator that takes the place of the conventional alternator to achieve a noiseless and vibration-less engine restart.
By equipping the Optima sedan with the mild hybrid powertrain, Kia’s engineers were able to install a smaller vehicle battery and starter motor that helped improved weight distribution and handling. The system also paved the way for the installation of an electric supercharger for the CRDi engine to complement the conventional turbocharger – resulting to better power and torque at all engine speeds.
The electric supercharger could help increase torque and engine response at low engine speeds. Since the mild hybrid powertrain remains under development, Kia has yet to finalize the performance and fuel economy figures in the Optima T-Hybrid concept. Nevertheless, Kia’s engineers are aiming to achieve much lower fuel consumption and reduced carbon dioxide emissions, as well as get a 15-20 percent jump in power for any model on which the mild hybrid will be installed.
The 1.7-liter CRDi turbo-diesel engine found on the Optima (with ISG stop-start) develops 136PS and emits 128 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer. Since the Kia Optima T-Hybrid is still under development, Kia has yet to confirm any plans for mass production of the concept. However, Kia is considering the T-Hybrid powertrain for new Kia models in the future.
Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors Europe, remarked that the mild hybrid powertrain could offer greater performance and lower running costs in the future, without compromising the qualities expected of a Kia car.
He noted that the T-Hybrid technology will result to a lower total cost of ownership of Kia cars, while keeping them affordable for customers. Cole added that the new mild hybrid system is Kia’s flagship technology for improving the efficiency of their internal conventional models. He also noted that such technology could help the carmaker further trim fleet emissions in Europe.