2011 Kia Optima Hybrid
2011 Kia Optima Hybrid. Click image to enlarge

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2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

Nanaimo, British Columbia – Today, Kia introduced the new mid-size Optima Hybrid sedan with a starting price of $30,595.  Kia’s first-ever hybrid in North America employs a newly-developed hybrid powertrain that includes several innovations.

“The introduction of the Optima Hybrid to the Canadian market in 2011 marks a significant milestone for Kia in our current design-led transformation through the enhancement of world-class technology” said Maria Soklis, Chief Operating Officer Kia Canada Inc. “The hybrid offering also further entrenches our positioning as a responsible car company that will continue to provide Canadians with environmentally-friendly, world-class vehicles”.

The 2011 Optima Hybrid uses a full parallel hybrid system and can be driven in zero emission mode, and/or in blended gas-electric mode. When the car comes to a stop and the electrical load is low, the engine shuts off to completely eliminate idle fuel consumption and emissions.

The 2011 Optima Hybrid’s outstanding efficiency is due in large part to the use of a lithium polymer battery, which was developed in South Korea with partner LG Chem.  The Optima Hybrid’s battery will hold its charge up to 25 per cent longer than hybrids with nickel metal hydride batteries, so the battery is more likely to have usable energy available even if it has not been in use.

The Optima Hybrid also is among the first full hybrid systems on the market to use a typical step-ratio automatic transmission.  The extremely compact six-speed automatic that debuted on the 2011 Kia Sorento CUV is carried over to the hybrid largely unchanged.  An external electrically-driven oil pump also has been added to provide the hydraulic fluid pressure needed to keep the clutches engaged when the vehicle is in idle stop mode.

Beyond the Optima Hybrid’s innovative powertrain, Kia’s engineers addressed all aspects of vehicle efficiency including aerodynamics and rolling resistance. The Optima Hybrid features unique exterior aero refinements, a lower ride height, an active air flap system, lower drag wheels, and underbody aero tuning to reduce drag, while low rolling resistance tires also help increase efficiency. The Optima Hybrid’s drag coefficient is an exceptionally low 0.26.

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