Kia will release a hybrid with a diesel engine

The new Sportage is likely to get exterior styling tweaks to move it on from the current model

Kia say the big plus for the new 48V system is that it's so compact it can be easily integrated in to existing vehicle architecture (it's heading for Kia's petrol engines too) without the need to reconfigure the engine bay or lose space to a big battery.

With the new unit Kia claims to be the first manufacturer to offer consumers hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery-electric and 48-volt technology across its model line-up. In generator mode, the system harvests kinetic energy from the vehicle during in-gear deceleration and braking and uses the power to recharge the batteries.

With the "Moving Stop & Start" function, the engine can be switched off to reduce engine usage and emissions, but as soon as the accelerator is pressed it restarts.

Paired with the brand's Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) active emissions control technology, the system helps reduce Carbon dioxide emissions by up to 4 percent on the new WLTP, and up to 7 percent on the NEDC, thus enabling "Kia to offer cleaner diesel engines", in their own words. Reigniting the engine is done by pressing the acceleration pedal.

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This battery is also able to connect to the vehicle's on-board power supply, meaning the regular 12V battery and the starter motor can be smaller. Charge from the 48V battery helps to start the engine in most conditions.

According to its creators the mild-hybrid technology offers advantages over full hybrid units, particularly in the performance generated for the cost. It can also be adapted for FWD, RWD and AWD drivetrain layouts.

The first vehicle to get the combustion-electric combo - the mild hybrid will be mounted under the boot floor - will be the Sportage which will be launched later this year.

Kia already has hybrid, electric and plug-in hybrid models on sale in the UK.

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