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Diesel-Electric Kia Optima T-Hybrid Comes to Paris

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 9/29/2014 Kelly Pleskot

At the Paris auto show next month, Kia will debut the Optima T-Hybrid Concept, which could serve as a template for a future mild-hybrid car.

The primary motivating force in the Kia Optima T-Hybrid is a 1.7-liter CRDi turbodiesel engine. A small electric motor paired with a 48V lead-carbon battery takes over when driving at low speeds and while cruising. Deceleration recharges the battery pack.

Why did Kia choose a lead-carbon battery rather than a more-common lithium-ion unit? Kia said that the lead-carbon option requires less cooling and is easier to recycle. The automaker has also gone non-traditional with its stop-start system. Thanks to a new belt-driven starter generator that replaces a conventional alternator, the engine can restart from a stop with little noise or vibration, according to the automaker. Kia Mild Hybrid Technology© Provided by MotorTrend Kia Mild Hybrid Technology

Although Kia has not yet released specific performance numbers, the T-Hybrid promises more power and improved torque through a conventional turbocharger and an electric supercharger for the CRDi. This combination promises added torque and engine response at low speeds.

Kia says the new powertrain can reduce emissions in a future car by 15 to 20 percent. The car has not been given the green light for production but remains a point of study for future Kia vehicles.

“The new mild hybrid system is our flagship technology for improving the efficiency of our internal combustion-powered models," said Michael Cole, COO of Kia Motors Europe, in a recent statement. "In [the] future, technology such as this will help Kia further reduce fleet emissions in Europe."

The Paris auto show begins October 2.

Source: Kia

Kia Optima T Hybrid Concept Front Three Quarter© Provided by MotorTrend Kia Optima T Hybrid Concept Front Three Quarter
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