At such a show, it would have been quite easy to overlook a a plain white Kia Optima tucked away in a far corner. However, that low-key car was the base of one of the more interesting technological concepts in Paris: a 48-volt hybrid with electric supercharging.
The Optima T-Hybrid concept previews Kia's new mild hybrid powertrain technology ahead of future mass production. The 168-hp (125 kW) FWD powertrain combines a 1.7-liter CRDi turbo diesel inline four-cylinder with a small electric motor offering light zero-emissions driving capabilities. The motor is powered by a 48-volt battery, and Kia says the lead-carbon battery offers advantages over more common lithium-ion in that it does not require active cooling and is easier to recycle at the end of its lifecycle.