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

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2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

Los Angeles, California – Kia has held the world premiere of its all-new Optima Hybrid sedan at the Los Angeles Auto Show. In Canada, the Optima is the new name for the completely redesigned Kia Magentis.

Kia said that the new hybrid was created primarily with the North American market in mind and is the latest model in the company’s design-led transformation, employing an innovative Kia-developed powertrain that promises to deliver exceptional hybrid performance and class-leading fuel efficiency.

The Optima Hybrid, the brand’s first-ever hybrid for North America, uses a full parallel hybrid system, and will accelerate to 100 km/h in 9.2 seconds to a top speed of 195 km/h while achieving a 40.7 per cent mile-per-gallon improvement over a regular Optima.

“Kia Motors is proud to unveil its first-ever hybrid for the North American market,” said Hyoung-Keun Lee, vice-chairman of Kia Motors Corporation. “The new Optima Hybrid features a unique architecture and is packed with innovative technologies that demonstrate Kia’s ongoing commitment to investing in R&D and to developing environmentally-friendly vehicles for the future. Although these new technologies presented our engineers with a series of complex challenges to overcome, the resulting Optima Hybrid delivers a fully automatic, seamless and enjoyable drive, together with real-world benefits for our customers.”

The Optima Hybrid uses a 2.4-litre gasoline engine with small electric motor. A special clutch fitted between the engine and motor enables the gasoline engine to be decoupled from the powertrain, so that the Optima can be operated in zero-emissions full-electric drive mode from a standstill up to 100 km/h. The system’s configuration does not require a high-capacity electric motor and generator, saving weight and cost.

Described by Kia engineers as a “transmission mounted electric drive,” the electric motor sits within the car’s extended transmission casing and is the world’s first oil-cooled system. The battery is a lithium polymer array developed in partnership with LG Chem.

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