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Kia Sportage diesel hybrid to launch this year

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A mild-hybrid diesel variant of the Kia Sportage SUV will go on sale before the end of 2018.

The powertrain, dubbed EcoDynamics, will reduce CO2 emissions of the Sportage by aiding acceleration with electric power from its additional 48-volt battery, and using a mild-hybrid starter-generator (MHSG) unit to extend the time that the diesel engine is not under load.

According to its creators, the mild-hybrid technology offers advantages over full hybrid units, particularly in the performance generated for the cost. The system cuts CO2 emissions of the diesel engines, Kia quoting savings of 4% on the new Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), and up to 7% via the current New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).

The mild hybrid system is compact and can be easily incorporated into existing vehicles. On most vehicles, the battery will be located under the boot floor minimising any space penalty. The battery will link into the vehicle’s power system allowing a significant reduction in the size of the 12-volt starter battery and the starter motor, which will normally only be required for cold starts at low temperatures.

The MHSG is mounted in the engine bay and connected to the crankshaft by a belt. In ‘motor’ mode, under acceleration, it uses battery charge to add torque to the engine to aid acceleration. When coasting, or braking, it switches to ‘generator’ mode to recharge the battery.

When the battery is sufficiently charged the system can even switch the engine off under deceleration or braking, automatically restarting as soon as the driver presses the accelerator pedal to provide a ‘Moving Stop & Start’ function.

Versatile technology

Kia adds that the system is equally compatible with manual and automatic transmissions, and front, rear or all-wheel drive layouts. And while debuting on a diesel engine, it will be adapted for petrol units.

Following the launch of the Sportage mild-hybrid model, the forthcoming third-generation Kia Ceed will also be offered with the technology. Kia says that the new powertrain is the first new technology to be launched as part of the brand’s wider powertrain electrification strategy.

With the new unit, Kia claims to be the first manufacturer to offer consumers hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery-electric and 48-volt technology across its model line-up. Future plans will see the launch of 16 ‘advanced powertrain’ vehicles by 2025, including five new hybrids, five plug-in hybrids, five battery-electric vehicles and in 2020 a new fuel-cell electric vehicle.

Kia Ceed The Car Expert
New Kia Ceed will be second model to gain hybrid tech.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.