Last week, we took a little dive into the new diesel 48v mild-hybrid powertrain system by Kia Motors. Like how the Fiat Chrysler Automobile Group made the eTorque system, the new mild-hybrid by Kia Motors can provide hybrid functionalities while not completely crossing over into the hybrid setup. Known as the EcoDynamics+ diesel mild-hybrid system, the new powertrain has a main focus on emissions control and fuel efficiency. The secondary focus is on the practicality of the new mild-hybrid powertrain that, just like any other hybrid, can fit seamlessly into a consumer’s life, without needing to plug-in or worry about recharging.
EcoDynamics Diesel Mild-Hybrid Powertrain
A little recap – the new 48V mild-hybrid powertrain is the first new technology to be launched as part of Kia Motors’ powertrain electrification strategy. In an effort to launch 16 advanced powertrain vehicles by 2025, Kia Motors intends to offer cleaner diesel engines. The EcoDynamics+ diesel mild-hybrid powertrain (referred to as EcoDynamics+ for short from here throughout) will enable Kia Motors to do just that. To begin the new roll-out of diesel mild-hybrid technology into possibly the entire fleet of Kia Motors vehicles, the 2018 Kia Sportage will receive the option to opt-in for the EcoDynamics+ powertrain in late 2018.
There are two modes that the EcoDynamics+ powertrain can make use of, known as “motor” and “generator”. These two modes rely on Kia’s mild-hybrid technology, made up of a compact 0.46 kWh 48-volt lithium-ion battery and a new Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator (MHSG). In “motor” mode, engine load and emissions are reduced, and up to 10kW of electric power assistance are added to the powertrain via the MHSG during acceleration. In “generator” mode, kinetic energy is harvested from the vehicle via regenerative braking – the process of recycling the energy used to bring the car to a stop as power to recharge the battery.
EcoDynamics+ in Motion
One may be wondering, “Okay, that’s all great and dandy, but what does it all mean?” Aside from meeting Kia Motors’ goals of creating cleaner and greener vehicles, this new EcoDynamics+ powertrain can also deliver greater fuel efficiency on internal combustion engine vehicles by using electric power. Unlike the eTorque system that has a much larger impact on the amount of torque a vehicle can generate, the EcoDynamics+ mild-hybrid powertrain has a larger focus on integrating into the vehicle while improving its performance.
For instance, if the consumer wishers to increase the vehicle’s performance, in “motor” mode, the battery will be discharged under the increased acceleration via engine throttle, or increased pressure on the gas pedal. Once the driver decelerates, or even if the driver takes the pressure off the gas pedal completely, say if driving downhill, the MHSG will switch over to “generator” mode and collect energy expended to recharge the battery on-the-go. Now here’s where things get interesting.
The entire EcoDynamics+ powertrain system is controlled by an advanced Electronic Control Unit (ECU) that calculates the most efficient use of the available energy, and then adjusts accordingly, based on the amount of charge remaining in the car’s batteries. This is just a sample of Kia Motors’ latest dive into artificial intelligence, behaving almost human-like when using power. This same system also provides a new “Moving Stop & Start” function that will turn the combustion engine off during in-gear deceleration and braking if the battery has sufficient charge and then re-ignite the engine once the driver applies pressure to the gas pedal. That’s just a fancy way of saying the EcoDynamics+ powertrain system features idle stop-and-go technology, the same tech that conserves fuel efficiency by turning off the engine when idle, such as in stop-and-go traffic.
Practicality of the EcoDynamics+ Powertrain
The EcoDynamics+ powertrain will be able to be integrated easily into the current Kia Motors lineup. Starting with the 2018 Kia Sportage, the EcoDynamics+ mild-hybrid system can be integrated into the existing vehicle architecture, is compatible with both manual and automatic transmissions, and can be adapted for front-, rear- and all-wheel drivetrain layouts. This new powertrain could even be adapted for use in petrol engines in Europe and the western hemisphere.
With their headquarters in South Korea, Kia Motors will debut more of the EcoDynamics+ powertrain in the UK in the coming months. Keep up with us on Miami Lakes Kia social media to learn more.