Kia Motors has announced that it will introduce its first 48V diesel mild-hybrid powertrain in the second half of 2018, applying the technology to its Sportage.
The news comes after Volkswagen in April announced that its upcoming Golf 8 would be offered with a “cost-effective” 48V mild hybrid system.
Dubbed “EcoDynamics+”, the Korean automaker says the new powertrain will reduce CO2 emissions by supplementing acceleration with electric power from an additional 48-volt battery and extending combustion engine “off time” using a mild-hybrid starter-generator unit.
The brand promises that the mild-hybrid technology will offer a “compelling cost-to-performance ratio” compared with full hybrid powertrains. And, interestingly, the compact nature of the components means the tech can be integrated into existing vehicle and powertrain architectures (with the battery most likely sited beneath the boot floor).
According to Kia, its new diesel mild-hybrid powertrain will be compatible with both manual and automatic transmissions, and “could be adapted” for front-, rear- and all-wheel drive configurations (as well as for petrol engines).
Kia says that the Sportage will be the first model to offer the new EcoDynamics+ 48V diesel mild-hybrid powertrain “later in 2018”. The new, third-generation Ceed will be the second “among a range of Kia models” to offer the tech from 2019.
The system features a 0,46 kWh 48-volt lithium-ion battery and a new mild-hybrid starter-generator. By electronically controlling the latter by means of an inverter, Kia says the system “switches seamlessly” between motor and generator modes. Connected by a belt to the diesel engine’s crankshaft, under acceleration the starter-generator provides up to 10 kW of electric power assistance.
Whether or not this technology will make it to South Africa any time soon remains to be seen…