Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid To Make European Debut in Geneva


The all-new Optima Plug-in Hybrid, Kia’s first ever plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, will receive its European premiere at next month’s Geneva Motor Show, ahead of the car going on sale across Europe in Q4 2016.

Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid

The all-new Optima Plug-in Hybrid provides greater battery capacity and pure electric range than earlier Optima Hybrid models, enabling drivers to travel up to 33 miles in zero-emissions electric-only mode before the efficient 2.0-litre GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine is required to provide propulsion. Kia’s development teams are targeting combined CO2 emissions of just 37 g/km, which will ensure a low total cost of ownership for private and fleet buyers alike.

The last-generation Kia Optima is credited with starting the brand’s design-led transformation when it was launched globally in 2010. The all-new Optima marks the next stage in this transformation, with the new Plug-in Hybrid model featuring a series of visual enhancements. These changes differentiate the model from other Optima models powered by conventional internal combustion powertrains, and also improve aerodynamic efficiency.

The all-new Optima Plug-in Hybrid comes equipped with a series of intuitive driver assistance technologies, maximising safety and further contributing to efficient engine performance.

33 mile electric-only range and 37 g/km CO2emissions development target

The Optima Plug-in Hybrid is powered by a 9.8 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack paired with a 50 kW electric motor, allowing it to operate in pure-electric mode for up to 33 miles at speeds as high as 120 kph, placing the Optima Plug-in Hybrid among the leaders in the D-segment for pure-electric range.

The innovative powertrain employs Kia’s efficient 2.0-litre ‘Nu’ four-cylinder GDI engine at its core, which on its own generates156 ps and 189 Nm. The engine is coupled with the electric motor, which allows the car to operate in charge-sustaining mode once the battery runs out of charge. The powertrain’s total power output is 205 ps at 6,000 rpm, with the application of the electric motor facilitating immediate engine response to throttle inputs. With the addition of electric power, the Plug-in Hybrid’s total torque output is a high 375 Nm (276lb ft) from just 2,300 rpm.

Power is applied to the road through a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic gearbox, with the transmission-mounted 50 kW electric motor that is used to power the Optima Plug-in Hybrid replacing the traditional torque converter.

The Optima Plug-in Hybrid’s next-generation battery system features a 9.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, which produces significantlymore energy output than the battery pack found in the outgoing Optima’s hybrid system. Its simplicity enables compact packaging on the front axle, and a straightforward provision of electric and petrol power to the driven front wheels with minimal energy transfer and conversion losses.

The Optima Plug-in Hybrid offers a seamless blend of highly-efficient electric and internal combustion power, and a consistently high level of performance. The Optima Plug-in Hybrid will accelerate from 0-to-100 kph in 9.4 seconds, 0.6 seconds faster than the previous-generation parallel hybrid, the Optima Hybrid.

The Optima Plug-in Hybrid is expected to deliver carbon dioxide emissions of 37 g/km (combined, New European Driving Cycle).

In spite of the space taken up by the high-capacity battery pack, the Optima Plug-in Hybrid is packaged in such a way to allow a 307-litre (VDA) cargo capacity, with the new battery pack hidden behind the rear seat and in the tyre well. The addition of the plug-in powertrain means engineers have been able to fit a smaller fuel tank than the outgoing Optima Hybrid, with capacity reduced from 65 to 55 litres.

Aesthetic and aerodynamic enhancements instantly distinguishable

In exterior profile, the Optima Plug-in Hybrid is instantly recognisable as a Kia and as part of the Optima family, although it adopts a range of enhancements that further improve aerodynamic efficiency. When the car’s all-new active air flap grille is activated, Kia’s design teams have reduced the drag coefficient to just 0.25 Cd (0.27 Cd for the Optima sedan). Reprofiled front and rear bumpers enable more efficient air-flow over the body of the car, thanks to a more aerodynamically efficient design.

Also distinguishing the Optima Plug-in Hybrid is special chrome trim with a clean metallic blue finish, for the rear bumper, grille surround and wheel arches, as well as special ‘EcoPlugin’ badging. The charging port is integrated into the driver-side front wing.

Inside, the Optima Plug-in Hybrid features a series of enhancements to reflect the innovative nature of the car and its powertrain. A new driver instrument cluster displays key information about the Plug-in Hybrid powertrain – such as the battery’s state of charge – as well as details on driving style, highlighting where a driver can drive more efficiently.

New touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

The Optima Plug-in Hybrid is equipped with Kia’s latest audio-visual navigation (AVN) functionality, with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. DAB digital radio, which is available across a number of European markets, is fully supported with Kia’s AVN. New for the Plug-in Hybrid, the AVN features a series of menus to show the car’s current EV range, as well as a new function to locate nearby charging stations.

The Optima Plug-in Hybrid will additionally be among first Kia models to feature Android Auto, designed to work with Android phones running 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher, and Apple CarPlay for iPhone 5 or newer. Both systems feature voice control and allow the driver to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road ahead at all times.

Available from launch, Android Auto connects to the user’s phone and lets them access smartphone apps and functions through the in-car infotainment system, such as voice-guided Google Maps navigation, hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition. Android Auto also lets users stream music from Google Play Music.

Apple CarPlay – available on Plug-in Hybrid Models by the end of 2016 – will enable full Siri voice control to control the phone’s various functions and apps, including navigation via Apple Maps, calls and text dictation. Apple CarPlay also supports other audio apps, such as music streaming or audiobooks, that the user may have downloaded to their iPhone.

The Optima Plug-in Hybrid is available with Kia’s new wireless charger for mobile devices, situated at the base of the central console. The 5W wireless charger lets users charge their phone on the move, without plugging in. With ‘foreign object detection’, the charging system activates when a compatible device is placed on the pad and warns owners when they’ve left a phone on the charger when they leave the vehicle. The system displays the phone’s charging condition on the instrument cluster, and features a safety system to prevent overheating while in use.

Intelligent fuel-saving and energy harvesting technologies for efficient battery use

The all-new Optima Plug-in Hybrid comes equipped with a series of innovations to enhance the efficiency of the battery pack, as well as advanced energy harvesting systems and driver assistive technologies.

The Optima Plug-in Hybrid is equipped with two key technologies to save and regenerate battery power – regenerative braking and a new Coasting Guide Control (CGC) function. The Optima Plug-in Hybrid is also equipped with an advanced heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system with a driver-only ventilation function to conserve energy.

Kia’s regenerative braking system – now in its third-generation for its application in the Optima Plug-in Hybrid effectively allows the car to harvest kinetic energy while coasting or braking. Updated over the system found in earlier iterations of the Optima Hybrid, the new system is able to regenerate 11% more energy, recharging the Plug-in Hybrid’s battery when possible to reduce emissions and improve hybrid driveability.

Adopted from the Kia Soul EV, the Optima Plug-in Hybrid features Kia’s advanced HVAC system, which employs a smart air intake system with a ‘Driver Only’ ventilation system. This individual ventilation system provides ventilation and heating to the driver’s seat, completely shutting off heating and ventilation to other areas of the car. This is in contrast to other systems, in which closing the vents merely diverts ventilation through other vents in the car while energy consumption remains the same. Overall, the HVAC system seeks to reduce the load on the battery and cut energy consumption from heating and ventilation.

2016 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid on-sale from Q4 2016

The all-new Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid will go on sale across Europe in Q4 2016, offering the company’s unique 7-Year, 100,000 mile warranty as standard. The all-new Optima Plug-in Hybrid for Europe will be built at Kia’s plant in Hwasung, Korea.