KIA SPORTAGE TO DEBUT BRAND'S NEW DIESEL MILD HYBRID POWERTRAIN

The all-new Ceed will be the second model to get an electrified diesel setup.

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s fully revealing spy shots of the Sportage facelift, Kia has now shed some light about what to expect from the updated compact crossover. While the styling tweaks will be kept down to a minimum, bigger changes will occur underneath the familiar skin where the mid-cycle refresh will come along with the brand’s very first mild hybrid system. Plot twist: a diesel engine is going to be electrified at first.

Premiering later this year, the thrifty powertrain will benefit from 48-volt technology and the company’s own Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) active emissions control system to drive down CO2 emissions by as much as four percent in the forthcoming Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). In the outgoing New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), emissions will be slashed by up to 7 percent.

Officially known as the EcoDynamics+ diesel mild-hybrid powertrain, the new setup encompasses a 0.46-kWh, 48-volt lithium-ion battery and a Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator (MHSG). Kia promises the electronically controlled MHSG uses the inverter in such a way as to seamlessly switch between “motor” and “generator” modes, so drivers probably won’t even notice it.

The MHSG is linked to the diesel engine’s crankshaft through a belt and pumps out as much as 14 hp (10 kWh) of electric power while the vehicle is accelerating and in “motor” mode. Thanks to this boost, engine load decreases and as such emissions are reduced.

While the Sportage is in “generator” mode, the mild hybrid setup grabs the kinetic energy from the vehicle during in-gear acceleration and braking to use the harvested energy for recharging the battery pack.

Following its debut in the 2019 Sportage, the EcoDynamics+ system will then be implemented in the new Ceed next year, with other models to follow. Kia says a gasoline engine will also form the basis of a mild hybrid setup and both will be compatible with front-, rear-, and all-wheel-drive cars as well as those with a manual or an automatic gearbox.