Besides the updated Rio and the Sorento, Kia will also display the Optima T-Hybrid at the 2014 Paris Motor Show which is slated to begin on October 2, 2014. The company describes the car as a “mild hybrid” show car as there are no plans yet of putting it on mass production.
First previewed during the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the T-Hybrid powertrain of the car is composed of a 1.7-liter CRDi turbo-diesel engine that is paired with an electric motor powered by a 48V lead-carbon battery pack. The use of lead-carbon instead of lithium-ion required no active cooling and will be easier to recycle according to Kia. It can run on pure electric power at low and cruising speeds and can even recharge the batteries when decelerating.
Modifications under the hood include the brand's ISG Start/Stop system, a belt-driven starter generator that replaces the traditional alternator and eliminates start-up noise/vibration, and an electric supercharger that lessens engine load albeit providing better power and torque throughout engine's power band.
Kia has not yet released any performance figures but the 1.7-liter unit produces a stock rating of 136 PS and releases 128g/km of CO2 (fitted with the ISG system). Kia engineers are hoping to achieve a 15-20% increase in power while also garnering a big drop in carbon emissions with the use of the new diesel-hybrid powertrain.
“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. The new mild hybrid system is our flagship technology for improving the efficiency of our internal combustion-powered models. In the future, technology such as this will help Kia further reduce fleet emissions in Europe,” said Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors Europe.
The T-Hybrid powertrain is still under scrutiny by the company if it will ever be used in future Kia models.