Hybrids – Vehicles, Battery & Hydraulic Technology

Kia Adding Three Hybrids for 2017

February 11, 2016

Photo of 2017 Optima PHEV courtesy of Kia.
Photo of 2017 Optima PHEV courtesy of Kia.

Kia Motors introduced three 2017 model-year gasoline-electric hybrids, including the Optima Hybrid, Optima Plug-In Hybrid, and Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle, at the Chicago Auto Show.

Kia is introducing the vehicles under its EcoDynamics sub-brand geared toward more environmentally friendly vehicles and includes the Soul EV. Kia hopes to increase fuel economy across its lineup by 25% by 2020.

The 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle arrives as Kia's first hybrid utility that should slot between the Sportage and Sorento with a 171.5 inch length and 106.3-inch wheelbase. The hybrid utility is powered by a 1.6L direct-injected gasoline four-cylinder that makes 103 hp and a 43-hp electric tractive motor. The tractive motor is mounted to the transmission and works in tandem with the engine to produce 146 hp and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. A 1.56-kilowatt-per-hour lithium-ion polymer battery is located under the rear seat.

Photo of 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle courtesy of Kia.
Photo of 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle courtesy of Kia.

The 2017 Optima Hybrid replaces an existing model, while the plug-in version adds a new option to the lineup. The vehicles now mirror Hyundai's Sonata, which is offered as both a traditional hybrid and plug-in model.

The 2017 Optima Hybrid improves fuel economy by 10% over the outgoing model. A 2.0L direct-injected gasoline engine replaces the previous model's 2.4L engine. It's paired with a 38-kilowatt electric motor and lithium-polymer battery pack that increases capacity to 1.62 kilowatts per hour. Total output is estimated at 193 hp. Power is delivered through a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The 2017 Optima Plug-In Hybrid pairs a 2.0L Nu four-cylinder direct-injection engine that makes 154 hp at 6,000 rpm with a 50-kilowatt electric motor. A 9.8-kilowatt-per-hour battery pack powers the vehicle to 27 miles in EV mode. The Optima PHEV offers 600 miles of driving range. The vehicle is enabled for Level 1 or Level 2 charging and needs under nine hours or under three hours for a full charge.

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