The Kia motors launched their first hybrid “Kia Optima Hybrid” at this year’s first international Motor show at Detroit. Although Kia had unveiled the 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid last year at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, this car will go on sale only in the spring of 2011. This car has the same drivetrain found on the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid which is a 2.4-liter engine combined with six-speed automatic transmission. In addition the car has a 30kW electric motor and lightweight lithium polymer batteries to provide a total of 206 hp and 36 mpg in the city and 40 on the highway.
Durable Lithium Polymer Battery:
The 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid has an outstanding efficiency because of the use of a lithium polymer battery, that was developed in South Korea in partnership with LG Chem. Kia engineers used the power and energy density of this new type of battery to create a lighter and more compact battery pack, with the 30 kilowatt battery pack weighing just 95.9 pounds. This battery weighs 28 pounds less than the 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid’s nickel metal hydride pack. This aids fuel economy and also helps to maximize Optima’s cargo space.
Unique Hybrid Architecture:
The Optima Hybrid powertrain is configured with a unique architecture unlike most current systems on the market. Compared to the power-split hybrid systems found on vehicles from Toyota or Ford, the Optima Hybrid uses a Transmission-Mounted-Electric-Drive (TMED) layout with the electric motor separated from the transmission gear-set. Offering several advantages, this modular layout includes more efficient powertrain packaging, use of many “off-the-shelf” components such as the existing six-speed automatic transmission found on the 2.4-liter GDI Optima, and reduced engineering investment. This also allows for other possible future combinations including the application of more powerful motors and higher capacity batteries.
Just like the entire Kia automobiles, the 2011 Optima Hybrid is well equipped with a high level of standard safety features. The safety features includes six airbags 3 dual advanced front and front-seat mounted side as well as full-length side curtain, front active headrests, side-impact door beams, height-adjustable front seatbelts with pre-tensioners, three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Four-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), a Traction Control System (TCS), a Brake Assist System (BAS) and Hill Assist Control (HAC) also are standard.