SEEING GREEN: Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid will go on sale globally in the second half of 2016.
SEEING GREEN: Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid will go on sale globally in the second half of 2016.

Kia announces its Plug-In Hybrid Optima for 2016

KIA is slowly turning green, not with envy mind you, but with its foray into hybrid power. As part of that plan, innovative new hybrid drivetrains will be a key feature of the new Optima with the sedan likely to be offered with both hybrid-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric power inside a year.

The Optima Plug-in Hybrid will be Kia's first plug-in hybrid for global markets when it goes on sale in the second half of 2016, offering increased battery capacity and pure electric range. The next-generation Optima PHEV will feature a 9.8 kWh lithium-polymer battery back - roughly six times the energy output of that found in the current-generation Optima Hybrid.

Paired with a 50 kW electric motor - itself 42% more powerful than in the previous Optima hybrid version - the combination allows the Optima PHEV to operate in pure-electric mode at higher speeds. The car is expected to travel some 45 kilometres on electric power alone.

The innovative powertrain employs Kia's efficient 2.0-litre four-cylinder GDI engine at its core, expected to generate 115kW and 189Nm. 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.

Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid. Photo: Contributed
Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid. Photo: Contributed

The powertrain's total power output is 151kW at 6000 rpm, with power applied to the road through a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic gearbox and the transmission-mounted 50 kW electric motor, which replaces the traditional torque converter in non-hybrid Optima models.

The new Optima Hybrid will showcase improved fuel economy and packaging. The car is powered by a 2.0-litre GDI engine coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission. The upgraded transmission houses a 38 kW electric motor and clutch to replace the traditional torque converter, delivering the same responsive and engaging driving characteristics that Optima Hybrid owners would expect. The combined power output of the Optima Hybrid's upgraded powertrain is 143kW at 6000rpm. The transmission also uses a new electric oil pump, contributing to the increase in fuel economy.

Kia will expand its current green car line-up from the four current models to 11 in the next five years.



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