Kia Rio adds mild-hybrid system

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Kia has unveiled the fourth-generation Rio, its first model to offer a gasoline 48V mild-hybrid system.

The EcoDynamics+ powertrain pairs a 1.0-liter T-GDi Smartstream engine with the 48V mild hybrid system, increasing fuel efficiency with electric torque assistance and regenerative braking.

Engine torque output is supplemented with power from a 48V lithium-ion polymer battery and engine ‘off time’ is extended with a mild-hybrid starter-generator (MHSG) unit.

When decelerating, the MHSG can switch to generator mode, recuperating energy from the crankshaft to recharge the battery. The MHSG is connected to the engine’s crankshaft by a belt and switches between motor and generator modes. Under acceleration in motor mode, the MHSG provides electric power assistance to reduce engine load and emissions.

The Smartstream engine is equipped with Kia’s Continuously Variable Valve Duration technology, enabling the engine to switch between different combustion cycles depending on load to maximize efficiency.

The Rio EcoDynamics+ is also fitted with intelligent manual transmission (iMT), meaning the clutch is controlled purely electronically. The iMT is integrated with the MHSG to switch off the engine earlier than Kia’s start-stop system when coasting to a halt.

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