Korean manufacturer will show the first application of its diesel-electric mild hybrid technology on the Optima saloon in Paris this week
Darren Moss
29 September 2014

Kia will showcase its new diesel-electric hybrid concept at the Paris motor show later this week.

The mild hybrid concept, based on the Optima saloon and dubbed T-Hybrid, combines the Optima’s existing 134bhp 1.7-litre CRDi turbodiesel engine with a small electric motor. 

The resulting concept can be driven by electric power only at low speeds and while cruising, with the model’s lead-carbon battery recharging via deceleration. Kia says it chose a lead-carbon battery over more conventional lithium-ion units because they require little cooling and can be easily recycled.

Kia first previewed the technology at the Geneva motor show earlier this year, saying the system would be offered in both petrol and diesel-powered models “in the near future” to help lower CO2 emissions while also raising power.

Other new features fitted to the concept include a new belt-driven starter generator, which replaces the conventional alternator and can start the Optima T-Hybrid concept with zero emissions, as well as “almost no noise or vibration”. A smaller vehicle battery and starter motor are also fitted.

Power from the 1.7-litre CRDi engine is also said to be enhanced thanks to a new electric supercharger, which works alongside the existing turbocharger to improve peak output and torque. The electric supercharger particularly increases engine response at low speed, says Kia.

Although Kia officials describe the Optima T-Hybrid as still being a concept vehicle, it’s extremely likey the technology will feature on the upcoming fourth-generation Optima, which has recently been spotted testing ahead of its planned launch late next year.

Kia Europe boss Michael Cole said: “The new mild hybrid system is our flagship technology for improving the efficiency of our internal combustion-powered models. In future, technology such as this will help Kia further reduce fleet emissions in Europe.”

Read more Paris motor show news

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Our Verdict

Kia Optima

The Kia Optima has looks, practicality and value on its side. But in a class of talented models, it is an also-ran.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer
  • Citroën C3
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Is the third gen Citroën C3 ‘fresh and different’ enough to take on its supermini rivals? We spend six months with one to find out
  • BMW X3
    First Drive
    15 October 2017
    A satisfying rework of the X3 that usefully improves its handling, cabin finish, space and connectivity to make this BMW a class front-runner again
  • Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer
    First Drive
    13 October 2017
    Off-road estate is now bigger, more spacious and available with torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, but is it enough to make its German rivals anxious?