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Kia Optima T-Hybrid concept on show at Paris

Kia says the diesel-electric T-Hybrid powertrain in its Kia Optima T-Hybrid concept, to be shown at the Paris Motor Show, could power future Kia models.

THE KIA OPTIMA T-Hybrid (turbo-hybrid) concept is powered by a 1.7-litre CRDi four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, mated to a small electric motor, powered by a 48V lead-carbon battery. The diesel-electric powertrain concept, which was previewed at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show in March, enables the Optima T-Hybrid show car to be driven in electric-only mode at low speeds and when cruising, with deceleration serving to recharge the battery pack. According to Kia, “Lead-carbon batteries were chosen for the mild hybrid powertrain as, unlike lithium-ion batteries, they require no active cooling and are easier to recycle at the end of the unit’s lifecycle,” it said in a statement.

In addition to the turbocharger, Kia boffins have fitted an electric supercharger for the CRDi engine, which Kia says provides improved power and torque at all engine speeds but particularly at low revs. Kia hasn’t released either performance or fuel consumption figures for the T-Hybrid concept, although it says its targeting a reduction in tail-pipe emissions, although it won’t elaborate.

“In future, our mild hybrid powertrain could offer Kia customers greater performance and lower running costs, without sacrificing the qualities they expect of a Kia car – enjoyable handling, a comfortable ride and high quality. Demonstrated for the first time in the Optima T-Hybrid, the technology will lower the total cost of ownership of our cars, yet still keep them affordable as an outright purchase for customers,” says Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer, Kia Motors Europe.

“The new mild hybrid system is our flagship technology for improving the efficiency of our internal combustion-powered models. In future, technology such as this will help Kia further reduce fleet emissions in Europe,” added Cole.

While still under development, Kia says the T-Hybrid powertrain is under consideration for new Kia models.

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober