At next month’s Geneva show, Kia is set to display a stand-alone exhibit of a new hybrid technology, developed by the brand’s European R&D centre for use in future Kia models.
In the hybrid system, a 48V lead-carbon traction battery is connected to a small electric motor that assists the combustion engine. The battery also feeds an electric supercharger, which works to boost power and torque at low revs.
In ideal conditions, the vehicle can be driven on electricity alone at low speeds, and while cruising, the battery is recharged under deceleration. Kia says the zero-emissions stop-start system operates with almost no noise or vibration, due to it being a belt-starting system. The technology also allows the size and weight of the existing 12V battery to be reduced.
Kia has not mentioned its suppliers for the new hybrid powertrain, but electric superchargers are offered by French company Valeo, who acquired the technology from UK-based Controlled Power Technologies (CPT) in December 2011.
The device can spool up to 70,000 rpm in just 350 milliseconds to provide boost at low revs, before the vehicle’s turbocharger (if fitted) takes over. It’s also described as a less costly alternative to two-stage turbocharging or mild hybrid solutions.
Audi has also detailed a 3.0 litre BiTDI V6 with a conventional exhaust-driven turbo and an electrically-driven compressor.