Posts Tagged ‘FCA’
It seems like only days ago that the auto market placed its focus on Aurora Innovation, a self-driving startup among many currently entering the race for the first self-driving vehicle for public retail. Although there are already companies out there testing their vehicles on public streets, and even programs like Waymo One offer the everyday citizens (in Phoenix, Arizona) to be chauffeured from place-to-place by a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan, the flagship of the Waymo self-driving fleet. As it turns out, the self-driving car startup company Aurora Innovation was just running the company’s series B financing round, and two more large names in the auto industry made an investment – the Hyundai Motor Group and Kia Motors Corp.
That’s right. According to a news release, Kia Motors is getting in on the ground floor with Aurora Innovation. With their recent partnership also fueled by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), this brings Aurora’s total for this round of funding up to $600 million. It’s going to be interesting to see how FCA intends to work with Aurora and whether or not the company will be sharing technology across the automakers or developing technology for each. In the aforementioned news release, companies discussed the integration of the Aurora Driver technology into Hyundai’s fuel cell vehicle NEXO.
Kia Motors is really killing the alternative fuel vehicle scene. Nearly every time they make it big with a vehicle from their lineup, they turn it into a hybrid, then a plug-in, and if they’re really looking to push the envelope, then an electric vehicle. They followed that pattern with the Kia Niro, currently in production for an all-electric variant, the Kia Niro EV. To follow up, Kia is looking into other forms of fuel, and with the Fiat Chrysler Automobile Group (FCA) having recently designed and produced the eTorque system, Kia Motors will not be outdone. Hence, they’re about to launch their own mild-hybrid powertrain in 2018.
The eTorque system is a new mid-hybrid system from the FCA that is currently placed in the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL and the 2019 Ram 1500 pickup truck. The eTorque system is called a “mid-hybrid” system because it offers hybrid capabilities, such as auto stop/start, electric power assist, extended fuel shut-off, transmission shift management, intelligent battery charging, and regenerative braking. Like all hybrid systems, it also has an electric feature to it that can replace various car components.
When it comes to the 2019 Ram 1500, the eTorque system is able to deliver its own electricity to the truck, nullifying the need for an alternator, and is able to keep the Ram 1500’s original 12-volt battery charged as well as perform its hybrid functions. In addition, the eTorque system is actually a 48-volt system that can convert 12 volts into 48 without a prolific sweat. Kia Motors seems to be aiming for something similar if not the same.
Kia Motors Mild-Hybrid Powertrain
The full name for this new mild-hybrid powertrain from Kia Motors is actually “diesel 48v mild-hybrid powertrain.” Can you already see the similarities? This year, 2018, Kia Motors will be introducing its first 48V diesel mild-hybrid powertrain, called a new ‘EcoDynamics+’ powertrain that will reduce CO2 emissions by supplementing acceleration with electric power from an additional 48-volt battery and extending combustion engine ‘off time’ using a new Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator unit. Yep, lots of similarities there, but we won’t fault Kia for getting in on the ground floor with what can easily become a revolutionary component for vehicles in the next few years (or decades, it’s anyone’s guess).