Launched in 2000, the Kia Optima has evolved in a spectacular fashion from the rebadged Hyundai Sonata that was introduced 14 years ago to the sleek and sporty sedan that debuted in 2011. The third-generation model also marked the introduction of a hybrid version, as well as the sedan’s motorsports debut in the Pirelli World Challenge series. At the 2014 Paris Motor Show, Kia showcased yet another variant of the Optima as a concept. This is the Optima T-Hybrid, a study that showcases the company’s newest hybrid drivetrain.

Unlike the production Optima Hybrid, which uses the 2.4-liter gasoline engine and a 30kW electric motor, the T-Hybrid combines the brand’s 1.7-liter turbodiesel engine and electric motor powered by a 48V lead-carbon battery. Although there are no production plans for the Optima T-Hybrid as of this writing, Kia says the innovative drivetrain remains under consideration for future models.

Click past the jump to read more about the Kia Optima T-Hybrid Concept.

  • 2014 Kia Optima T-Hybrid Concept
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    167 @ 4000
  • Torque @ RPM:
    280 @ 1500
  • Displacement:
    1.7 L
  • 0-60 time:
    9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    136 mph
  • Price:
    25000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • body style:

Kia Optima T-Hybrid Concept in detail

2014 Kia Optima T-Hybrid Concept
- image 570373

Though it works as a conventional hybrid that can be driven in electric-only mode at low speeds and when cruising, with braking serving to recharge the battery pack, the T-Hybrid features a handful of innovative technologies. First up is the electric supercharger mated to the already turbocharged diesel mill. The unit boosts torque and response at low engine speeds, while improving power and torque at all engine speeds when working in conjunction with the turbocharger.

Then there’s the new belt-driven starter generator that replaces the conventional alternator. The generator helps the engine restart with almost no noise or vibration, making the stop-start system a more comfortable feature to live with.

Lastly, Kia claims the new drivetrain could provide a "significant reduction" of CO2 emissions, while delivering a power increase of between 15 to 20 percent for any model equipped with the combo. The Koreans didn’t release any hard specs, but based on their estimates, the Optima equipped with 1.7-liter diesel engine - currently rated at 134 horsepower - could generate up to 160 ponies with the T-Hybrid drivetrain.


Type Four cylinder in-line
Capacity 1.7-litres, 1,685 cc
Bore x stroke 77.2 x 90.0
Compression ratio 17.0:1
Total power 160 HP @ 4,000 RPM
Total torque 280 LB-FT @ 1,500 rpm
Voltage 48 V
Max power (shaft) > 8 ps (> 6 kW)
Response time < 0.25 secs
Max speed 70,000 rpm
Weight 4 kg
Top speed (kph) 220 (136 mph)
0-to-100 kph (sec) 9.0

Press Release

Kia will reveal the new Kia Optima mild hybrid show car at the 2014 Paris Motor Show on 2 October, the first application and demonstration of the brand’s innovative new mild hybrid powertrain.

2014 Kia Optima T-Hybrid Concept
- image 570373

The Kia Optima T-Hybrid (turbo hybrid) concept is powered by the model’s existing 1.7-litre CRDi turbo-diesel engine, paired with a small electric motor, powered by a 48V lead-carbon battery. The diesel-electric powertrain concept, which was previewed at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, enables the Optima T-Hybrid show car to be driven in electric-only mode at low speeds and when cruising, with deceleration serving to recharge the battery pack.

Lead-carbon batteries were chosen for the mild hybrid powertrain as, unlike lithium-ion batteries, they require no active cooling and are easier to recycle at the end of the unit’s lifecycle.

The vehicle features a zero-emissions stop-start system, and a new belt-driven starter generator replaces the conventional alternator, meaning the engine can restart with almost no noise or vibration. Installing the powertrain in the Optima sedan has enabled engineers to fit a smaller vehicle battery and starter motor, enhancing weight distribution and handling.

The system also allows the installation of an innovative electric supercharger for the CRDi engine, in addition to the conventional turbocharger, providing improved power and torque at all engine speeds. The electric supercharger in particular helps to boost torque and engine response at low engine speeds.

Still under development, no specific performance or fuel economy figures are confirmed for the powertrain or its application in the Optima T-Hybrid show car. However, Kia’s engineers are targeting a significant reduction in CO2 tailpipe emissions and fuel consumption and a power increase of between 15 to 20 percent for any model which could be equipped with the new powertrain. Currently, the Optima’s 136ps 1.7-litre engine produces CO2 emissions of 128 g/km (when fitted with ISG stop-start).

“In future, our mild hybrid powertrain could offer Kia customers greater performance and lower running costs, without sacrificing the qualities they expect of a Kia car – enjoyable handling, a comfortable ride and high quality. Demonstrated for the first time in the Optima T-Hybrid, the technology will lower the total cost of ownership of our cars, yet still keep them affordable as an outright purchase for customers,” commented Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer, Kia Motors Europe.

“The new mild hybrid system is our flagship technology for improving the efficiency of our internal combustion-powered models. In future, technology such as this will help Kia further reduce fleet emissions in Europe,” added Cole.

2014 Kia Optima T-Hybrid Concept
- image 570374

While under development, no plans have been confirmed yet for mass production of the Kia Optima T-Hybrid show car. The T-Hybrid powertrain remains under consideration for new Kia models in the future.

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