11 Jun 18

Hyundai and Kia convert to micro-hybridism

After Audi (A8, A7, A6), Mercedes (S, E, CLS), Porsche (Cayenne, Panamera) and Renault (Mégane, Scénic), the South-Korean automotive giant Hyundai Motor also launches a 48-volt mild hybrid powertrain. In this case, the 137-kW strong 2.0-CRDi diesel engine gets assistance from a starter-generator yielding up to 12 kW of boost and drawing its energy from a 0.44 kWh lithium ion battery.

Kia will introduce this powertrain to its Sportage line up later this year. Logically, Hyundai will do the same with the Tucson. By assisting the combustion engine while accelerating, the 48-volt system increases fuel efficiency by up to 7%. When slowing down, energy is recuperated and stored back in the shoebox-sized battery.

Later this year, the 48-volt technology will find its way to other combustion engines in the Hyundai and Kia portfolio, including the new 1.6 diesel and various petrol engines.

The norm by 2025

Mild hybrids are expected to become the norm by 2025, when 55 percent of all new cars are likely to be powered by a combustion engine assisted by a starter-generator fed by a 48V-battery. They offer a relatively cost-effective solution to drive down CO2 emissions. Other OEMs that will introduce mild hybrid technology within the next two years are Ford (2020 Focus), JLR (2019 Range Rover Evoque), Volkswagen (2019 Golf) and Volvo.

Brands that have announced they will go "all electric" over the next few years will actually mainly rely on mild hybrids to walk the talk. As from 2019, every now Volvo model will have an electric motor under its bonnet, in most cases a tiny one to assist the combustion engine. Jaguar Land Rover adopts the same strategy, which will take effect in 2020.   

Picture copyright: Hyundai, 2018

Authored by: Dieter Quartier