Kia Motors, the South Korean auto manufacture, has been previewing its future powertrains at the Geneva Motor Show this week including a mild hybrid which also uses an electric supercharger.
This new drivetrain, Kia say, should reduce diesel and petrol emissions by up to 15 per cent and it will be available on the next generation Kia models.
What makes this hybrid system different – and why we are covering it – is that it doesn’t use lithium ion or nickel metal hydride batteries to store power, instead using a 48 volt lead-carbon battery. This powers a small electric motor which increases the engine’s power output.
Kia say that the drivetrain will allow drivers to travel, at low speeds, in electric only mode. They also say that the lead-carbon battery was chosen over lithium ion ‘as they require no active cooling, are more easily recyclable at the end of the vehicle’s life and can function much more efficiently in sub-zero temperatures.’
This choice goes against a lot of other manufacturers who don’t seem to be concerned about these issues – for instance the LEAFs battery is not actively cooled and Tesla along with other manufacturers already have plans for recycling at the end of the battery’s useful car life.
The battery in the Kias also supplies power to an electric supercharger that increases torque and power at low engine speeds. When this is coupled with a larger conventional turbocharger it allows greater power and torque across all engine speeds. The lower speed torque being boosted by the electric supercharger and the higher speed torque being boosted by the turbocharger.
What do you think of the lead-carbon battery being used? Should we be moving towards all cars being at least mild hybrids? Let us know below.
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