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Kia To Introduce Cost-Effective Mild-Hybrids This Year

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Diesel-Hybrid Sportage will be first in new line of Kia's 2025 advanced powertrain strategy.

Kia Motors has announced that it will be launching a 48V diesel mild-hybrid powertrain later this year. The new system will offer an attractive cost-to-performance ratio relative to full hybrids and its compact size will make it easier to integrate into existing powertrain architectures. The Sportage crossover will be the first to receive the hybrid powertrain later this year followed by the third-generation European Ceed (badged Forte5 here in the US) in 2019 and a range of other models thereafter.

The setup features a compact 0.46 kWh battery and Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator. Under acceleration it will be able to provide up to 10kW of electric assistance and will recharge itself during in-gear deceleration and braking. A new stop/start system and Kia's Selective Catalyst Reduction (SCR) emissions control technology should also help improve efficiency levels. Kia predicts a reduction in CO2 emissions by 4% on the WLTP testing procedure and this is the beginning of its wider 2025 powertrain electrification strategy. By that date it plans to have 16 advanced powertrain vehicles in its range including hybrids and fully electric vehicles as well as a fuel-cell vehicle which should arrive in 2020.

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For now, though, the 48v mild-hybrid powertrain will gradually find its way into Kia's new vehicles which will also include gasoline models when that mild-hybrid system becomes available in the near future. Diesel hybrids are a rare combination and not many manufacturers offer such a setup. The introduction of Kia's 48V powertrain may help popularize the newer, cleaner diesel engines once again though. The fact that the system is compatible with just about any transmission and drivetrain configuration is an added bonus too.