Kia to introduce 48v hybrid tech to diesel engines

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It means the engine can switch off earlier and for longer, even while the auto is moving, and lean on a 13bhp power boost from the motor while accelerating, both of which reduce fuel consumption. 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.

The system makes its debut in the Sportage later this year but will later find a home in the all-new third-generation Kia Ceed and other Kia models from 2019.

More detailed plans for the roll-out of its new mild-hybrid technology in the United Kingdom will be announced by Kia in due course.

Compact packaging means the system easily integrates into existing architecture.

Further details are expected to be released closer to a mild-hybrid model being unveiled in the latter half of 2018. When decelerating, and inverter switches the current of the motor, effectively turning it into a generator to top up the 0.46kWh battery. The system will be available on the new Kia Sportage SUV.

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 roll-out of diesel mild-hybrid technology will contribute to the brand's global efforts to improve whole-fleet fuel efficiency. In "generator" mode, the system collects kinetic energy from the vehicle during deceleration and braking and uses the power to recharge the batteries.

In "motor" mode the battery is discharged under acceleration, providing additional torque to the engine for a slight boost in performance under hard acceleration.

The battery recovers energy from the diesel engine's crankshaft when the vehicle is decelerating or driving downhill. It can even deliver a "Moving Stop-Start" if there's enough charge in the battery.

The manufacturer also says that the system will have minimal impact on practicality, with the required 48V battery located beneath the boot floor. The MHSG can then quickly restart the engine the moment the driver presses the accelerator pedal. Charge from the 48V battery helps to start the engine in most conditions.

Kia says the system is compatible with both manual and automatic transmissions, and with the former will reduce Carbon dioxide emissions by up to 4% in the upcoming WLTP test, and by 7% under the current NEDC test.