Hyundai’s sister concern Kia Motors is all braced up to introduce the diesel mild-hybrid tech on its Sportage this year. The Kia Sportage mild-hybrid diesel version will mark the company’s 2025 electrification strategy, as per which Kia plans to launch as many as 16 advanced electrified vehicles. Out of the planned 16 – 5 will be hybrids, 5 plug-in hybrids, 5 battery powered fully-electric vehicles and one new fuel cell vehicle that is slated to be introduced in 2020.
Kia likes to call the diesel powertrain with the mild-hybrid tech as the “EcoDynamics+”. It The upcoming third-gen Kia C’eed will also get this EcoDynamics+ powertrain in 2019. Kia is also planning to incorporate this mild-hybrid tech in its petrol engines in future. As per Kia, this mild-hybrid technology is also very flexible and compatible with both manual and automatic transmissions. It can be adapted for front-wheel, rear-wheel and all-wheel drive systems as well.
The EcoDynamics+ utilizes a 0.46kWh 48-volt lithium-ion battery and a Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator (MHSG). The mild-hybrid generator helps in seamlessly switching between the ‘motor’ and ‘generator’ modes. In the motor mode, the MHSG offers 10kW of electric power assistance to the powertrain at the time of acceleration, while in the generator mode the MHSG captures energy during in-gear acceleration and braking for charging the batteries.
EcoDynamics+ also has start/stop function which turns off the engine during in-gear deceleration as well as braking to reduce fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions.
Thus, EcoDynamics+ works in multiple ways. On one hand, it augments the acceleration of the car, and while accelerating supplies extra electric power through the 48V motor to partially take the engine’s load. On the other hand, it decreases fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, while also storing energy during deceleration and braking to recharge the battery.
Kia says that is EcoDynamics+ mild-hybrid powertrain is compact and can be pretty easily integrated into its existing car lineup. While, the plug-in hybrid cars require charging sockets and needs change in architecture of a vehicle, the incorporation of mild hybrid technology is simpler and doesn’t require any such major changes.
The Indian car market already has diesel mild-hybrid cars, so Kia could bring in this tech too. However, India is discouraging new diesel cars and the diesel models are expected to become significantly more expensive when the new BSVI norms come into effect. Given that the Indian car buyers are already preferring the petrol cars more due to the uncertainties about the diesel vehicle, Kia might wait a bit for the Indian car market and launch its mild-hybrid petrol engines instead of the diesel ones to be on the safer side.
As the mild-hybrid technology is likely to play a crucial role in meeting the corporate average fuel efficiency norms, Kia is definitely expected to launch this tech in India in near future.
Kia is slated to introduce its new SUV based on the SP concept SUV that it unveiled at the 2018 Indian Auto Expo in 2019. A second Kia SUV is planned to launch soon after. We don’t expect to see the initial Kia products launch in India with the mild-hybrid tech, but to come at a later stage.