|The Kia Rio hybrid. Click to enlarge.|
Kia Motors is showcasing a Rio mild hybrid sedan at the 77th Salon de l’Automobiles in Geneva.
Hyundai and Kia Motors will supply the Korean Ministry of the Environment with an additional 3,390 hybrid vehicles over the next two years as part of the country’s on-going program of real-world testing to develop hybrid vehicles for the future.
The Kia Rio mild hybrid created by Kia R&D to take part in these test fleet activities features a powertrain with a 1.4-liter gasoline engine mated to a 12 kW, 95 Nm AC synchronized electric motor and a CVT gearbox.
The Alpha ll gasoline engine is fitted with CVVT (continuously variable valve timing) and generates 66 kW (89 hp) of power with 126 Nm (93 lb-ft) of torque. The high-torque permanent magnet electric motor is mounted between the flywheel and the gearbox and assists the gasoline engine during starting, accelerating and hill-climbing. During steady cruising the electric motor switches off, while during deceleration it employs regenerative braking to store energy and re-charge its Ni-MH 144 volt power pack.
The computer-controlled system also allows stop/start motoring which switches both engine and motor off whenever the car comes to a standstill for more than a few seconds. Restarting is automatic.
The hybrid Rio is the first Kia to employ a CVT (continuously variable transmission).
This Rio accelerates from 0-to-62 mph in 12.2 seconds, can reach a top speed of 112 mph and returns a fuel consumption of 5.29 l/100km (53.4 mpg Imperial, 44 mpg US). Compared to the standard gasoline Rio, air pollutants are reduced by 37% and fuel efficiency is improved by 44%. The hybrid’s CO2 figure is 126 g/km.
To help reduce its fuel and power demands, the Kia Rio Hybrid employs special lightweight components—with aluminium hood, trunk lid and front seat frames—plus lightweight road wheels, low-friction tires and electric (rather than hydraulic) power steering. These parts cut the Rio’s weight by 220 kg, or 23% compared to the conventional steel model.
Two Kia research centers—at Yongin and Namyang in Korea—are investigating low-emission vehicles, lightweight vehicles and both materials-saving and energy-saving vehicles and component production processes. The hybrid came from these, as did the Sportage fuel cell vehicle shown at the Paris Show in 2004.
Elements of the low-emissions technology program include ultra-high heat resistant catalysts, dual-pipe exhaust systems to maximize low-temperature catalyst activity at engine start-up, an air-purifying radiator which removes ozone from the air and a range of diesel exhaust filtering systems. By 2010, Kia plans to have a diesel catalyst system that will absorb 90% of NOx emissions.