Kia has outlined its next stage of fuel-saving technology with a high-tech 48-Volt mild-hybrid system.
The South Korean car maker is set to introduce a diesel hybrid powertrain in its facelifted Sportage later this year, with the new-generation Cerato to feature similar tech in 2019.
Dubbed EcoDynamics+ by Kia, the system uses a belt-driven electric motor to provide up to 10kW of assistance, reducing the load on the engine and thereby cutting fuel consumption and emission outputs by upto seven percent.
The electric motor is powered by a high-tech 48-Volt battery that can be recharged using regenerative braking under deceleration, and also provide the car with low-speed crawling abilities without using the combustion engine.
Kia says the 48-Volt system is compatible with both diesel and petrol-powered engines, and can be configured for manual and automatic gearboxes in either front-, rear or all-wheel drive transmissions.
The move to mild hybridisation is part of Kia's global plans to introduce 16 new vehicles by 2025 with advanced fuel-saving technology. These include five new hybrid varaints, five plug-in hybrid models, five battery-electric vehicles and one hydrogen fuel cell car.
It is unknown at this stage whether Kia Australia will offer the mild hybrid system on the updated Sportage and Cerato locally, but it has been contacted for comment.
However, Kia Australia's COO, Damien Meredith, recently told Drive the company plans to leapfrog hybrid technology in favour of Kia's electric cars.
Meredith says Kia has real belief in “what we’ve got coming”, and that “we’ll back the market” with acceptance of electric cars as opposed to hybrid or hydrogen-powered models.
“You’ll find that we’ll have a few EVs in play in three years time,” he said.
“We’re not going to sell thousands of these cars straight away. But we’re taking the EV course rather than anything else.
“Our view is that we will move into a range of EVs rather than go through the steps of hybrid and plug-in hybrid, we’ll move straight to EV over the next couple of years.
“It’s our view that EVs in the medium term are the way to go. We’re betting on that.”
While Kia sells hybrid and electric vehicles overseas, like the Niro SUV (pictured above), its Australian arm has elected not to offer them locally as yet.
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