Kia reveals new mild-hybrid system

Kia Sportage mild-hybrid 2018

The new "EcoDynamics+' powertrain reduces Carbon dioxide emissions by supplementing acceleration with electric power from an additional 48-volt battery and extending combustion engine 'off time" using a new Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator unit. Mild hybrid technology is becoming increasingly popular with vehicle manufacturers, appearing in the Renault Scenic and several Suzuki models. Kia's mild-hybrid powertrain is created to fit seamlessly into consumers' lives, with no plug-in recharging required.

Kia has announced plans to introduce new mild hybrid technology to its line-up, similar to the drivetrains now utilised by Audi. Its introduction is part of Kia's 2025 Electrification Strategy, under which the company intends to have launched 16 "advanced powertrain" vehicles by 2025, five each of which will be hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric vehicles.

Kia said this technology offers a cost-to-performance ratio compared to full hybrid powertrains and will enable it to offer a cleaner diesel engine.

The automaker says the system will help reduce Carbon dioxide emissions, lowering this by up to 4% on the new worldwide harmonised light vehicles test procedure (WLTP) and 7% on an NEDC calculation.

While some automakers have started ditching oil burners completely, others, such as Kia, continue to invest in new technology that helps diesels improve fuel economy and emit less CO2.

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Kia's take on mild-hybrid features a compact 0.46kWh 48-volt lithium-ion battery and a new Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator (MHSG). It means the engine can switch off earlier and for longer, even while the vehicle is moving, and lean on a 13bhp power boost from the motor while accelerating, both of which reduce fuel consumption.

Under deceleration, the system switches to "generator" mode, recuperating energy from the crankshaft to recharge the battery while on the move.

That all translates to greater efficiency, additional torque for hard acceleration and reduced engine load during light acceleration.

The battery recovers energy from the diesel engine's crankshaft when the auto is decelerating or driving downhill. It also extends the vehicle's "start-stop" capability by shutting down the engine as the vehicle coasts to a rest. During in-gear deceleration and braking, the engine will shut down and the hybrid system will kick things back into life if the throttle pedal is pressed.

Kia says that the compact packaging of the system means that it'll be relatively straightforward to install in the brand's current model ranges. Depending on vehicle, the 48V battery can be mounted beneath the trunk floor, freeing up interior space. And because the 48V battery connects to the car's on-board power supply it means a smaller 12v battery and starter motor.

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