The all-new Optima Plug-in Hybrid, Kia’s first ever plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, will receive its European premiere at next month’s Geneva Motor Show, ahead of the car going on sale across Europe in Q4 2016. The innovative new plug-in hybrid powertrain will be a key addition to Kia’s D-segment Optima line-up, as well as the company’s expanding portfolio of low-emission vehicles.
The all-new Optima Plug-in Hybrid provides greater battery capacity and pure electric range than earlier Optima Hybrid models, enabling drivers to travel up to 33 miles in zero-emissions electric-only mode before the efficient 2.0-litre GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine is required to provide propulsion. Kia’s development teams are targeting combined CO2 emissions of just 37 g/km, which will ensure a low total cost of ownership for private and fleet buyers alike.
Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer, Kia Motors Europe, commented: “Hybrid sales have more than doubled in Europe over the last five years, and are estimated to account for around 700,000 new car sales in Europe by 2020. The Optima Plug-in Hybrid will allow Kia to address the growing demand for low-emissions vehicles, and support us in our mission to hit our global 2020 target: to improve average fleet fuel efficiency by 25% over 2014 levels.”
He added, “Our advanced new Plug-in Hybrid powertrain makes the Optima an incredibly compelling proposition for private and fleet customers. It combines attractive design, a great driving experience, low running costs and minimal environmental impact.”
The last-generation Kia Optima is credited with starting the brand’s design-led transformation when it was launched globally in 2010. The all-new Optima marks the next stage in this transformation, with the new Plug-in Hybrid model featuring a series of visual enhancements. These changes differentiate the model from other Optima models powered by conventional internal combustion powertrains, and also improve aerodynamic efficiency.
The all-new Optima Plug-in Hybrid comes equipped with a series of intuitive driver assistance technologies, maximising safety and further contributing to efficient engine performance.
33 mile electric-only range and 37 g/km CO2emissions development target
The Optima Plug-in Hybrid is powered by a 9.8 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack paired with a 50 kW electric motor, allowing it to operate in pure-electric mode for up to 33 miles at speeds as high as 120 kph, placing the Optima Plug-in Hybrid 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 engine at its core, which on its own generates156 ps and 189 Nm. The engine is coupled with the electric motor, which allows the car to operate in charge-sustaining mode 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 immediate engine response to throttle inputs. With the addition of electric power, the Plug-in Hybrid’s total torque output is a high 375 Nm (276lb ft) from just 2,300 rpm.
Power is applied to the road through a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic gearbox, with the transmission-mounted 50 kW electric motor that is used to power the Optima Plug-in Hybrid replacing the traditional torque converter.
The Optima Plug-in Hybrid’s next-generation battery system features a 9.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, which produces significantlymore energy output than the battery pack found in the outgoing Optima’s hybrid system. Its simplicity enables compact packaging on the front axle, and a straightforward provision of electric and petrol power to the driven front wheels with minimal energy transfer and conversion losses.
The Optima Plug-in Hybrid offers a seamless blend of highly-efficient electric and internal combustion power, and a consistently high level of performance. The Optima Plug-in Hybrid will accelerate from 0-to-100 kph in 9.4 seconds, 0.6 seconds faster than the previous-generation parallel hybrid, the Optima Hybrid.
The Optima Plug-in Hybrid is expected to deliver carbon dioxide emissions of 37 g/km (combined, New European Driving Cycle).
In spite of the space taken up by the high-capacity battery pack, the Optima Plug-in Hybrid is packaged in such a way to allow a 307-litre (VDA) cargo capacity, with the new battery pack hidden behind the rear seat and in the tyre well. The addition of the plug-in powertrain means engineers have been able to fit a smaller fuel tank than the outgoing Optima Hybrid, with capacity reduced from 65 to 55 litres.