New Kia Optima will be hybrid

Following on from yesterday’s announcement regarding Kia Motors company’s ongoing commitment to broaden its global range of low-emission vehicles, the Korean carmaker has today revealed details of a range of advanced new powertrains planned for the all-new Optima, as part of the Innovative new hybrid powertrains will be a key feature of Kia’s new D-segment saloon, which will offer both hybrid-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric power within the next 12 months.

A new addition to the Kia model line-up, the Optima Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) will be Kia’s first plug-in hybrid for global markets when it goes on sale in the second half of 2016, offering increased battery capacity and pure electric range. Meanwhile, the new Optima Hybrid (HEV) will offer buyers substantial improvements over the existing Optima Hybrid, with a larger battery pack, more powerful electric motor and revised transmission. These changes are expected to contribute to a 10% improvement in fuel economy over earlier versions of the Optima Hybrid.

The Optima HEV is expected to go on sale across the majority of Kia’s global markets in the first half of 2016.

The next-generation Optima PHEV will feature a 9.8 kWh lithium-polymer battery back – roughly six times the energy output of that found in the current-generation Optima Hybrid. Paired with a 50 kW electric motor – itself 42% more powerful than in the previous Optima hybrid version – the combination allows the Optima PHEV to operate in pure-electric mode at higher speeds. Engineering teams working on the Kia Optima PHEV are expecting the car to go on sale with the ability to travel up to 27 miles on electric power alone, placing the Optima PHEV among the leaders in the D-segment for pure-electric range.

The innovative powertrain employs Kia’s efficient 2.0-litre ‘Nu’ four-cylinder GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine at its core, expected to generate 156 ps and 189 Nm. The engine is coupled with the electric motor, which allows the car to operate in charge-sustaining mode (just like the current Optima Hybrid) once the battery runs out of charge. The powertrain’s total power output is 205 ps at 6,000 rpm, with the application of the electric motor facilitating an immediate engine response to throttle inputs.

This power will be applied to the road through a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic gearbox and the transmission-mounted 50 kW electric motor, which replaces the traditional torque converter in non-hybrid Optima models. The Optima PHEV will offer a seamless blend of highly-efficient electric and internal combustion power, and a consistently high level of performance.

Based on internal tests carried out to date, the Optima PHEV is expected to deliver 119MPGe combined (99 US mpge), while engineers are targeting 48 mpg combined (40 US mpg) in charge-sustaining mode. Once plugged in, the PHEV will recharge in less than three hours at a 240V Level 2 charging station, or nine hours from a standard 120V power outlet.

To ensure the PHEV will stand out among the Optima range, the car boasts a series of visual modifications. These include a charging port integrated into the driver-side front panel (LHD vehicles), chrome side sill moldings, new wheel designs and ‘EcoPlug-In’ badging. In the cabin, the PHEV model is equipped with a distinctive instrument cluster, which displays information about the car’s functions and powertrain status, while a charge indicator on top of the dash allows drivers to easily see the state of charge from outside the vehicle (for instance, while it charges outside a home).