'Mild Hybrid' Kia Sportage due later this year

Kia Sportage mild-hybrid 2018

Kia is preparing to electrify its Sportage with the introduction of a 48V mild-hybrid version of the SUV set to be launched later this year.

Kia already has hybrid, electric and plug-in hybrid models on sale in the UK. Kia's new 'EcoDynamics+' powertrain reduces emissions by supplementing the diesel engine with a electric-powered generator that is powered by a 48-volt battery.

It features an electric motor that provides up to 10kW of extra power, reducing the diesel engine's workload during acceleration. On most vehicles the battery will be located under the boot floor minimising any space penalty. When coasting, or braking, it switches to "generator" mode to recharge the battery. This system, which uses a 0.46kWh 48V lithium ion battery, will eventually make its way into other Kia models.

In "motor" mode the battery is discharged under acceleration, providing additional torque to the engine for a slight boost in performance under hard acceleration, or to reduce engine load during light acceleration. The all-new third-generation Kia Ceed will be the second among a range of Kia models to offer the new powertrain from 2019. There'll be a mode for harnessing energy released during braking to recharge the 48v battery and a "moving stop and start" function that can switch off the engine as you're slowing down, before the auto has come to a complete halt. The starter generator is mounted to the engine via a belt, and provides quick starts-so the engine can remain off when the vehicle is stopped-thereby reducing emissions.

This battery is also able to connect to the vehicle's on-board power supply, meaning the regular 12V battery and the starter motor can be smaller. 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. 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 powertrain will also be adapted for use in gasoline engines. Charge from the 48V battery helps to start the engine in most conditions.

Kia says that its mild-hybrid technology can provide extra acceleration for overtaking, as well as reducing engine load when the vehicle is being driven more gently.

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