Kia Rio hybrid makes an appearance, should be here in 2009

Back in March at the Geneva Motor Show Kia, displayed a hybrid version of their small Rio sedan. They are building about 4,000 of these for a field test fleet for the South Korean Government and a full production run is expected to be available for 2009. Initially the Rio Hybrid will have an 88hp 1.4L engine with a 16hp electric motor with a 1.6L /20hp electric option available as well.

The hybrid system will be a mild hybrid of the type used by Honda where the motor sits between the flywheel and transmission. In this setup the motor provides power boost and regenerative braking capability but can't drive the vehicle on its own. The 1.4L version should get about 42mpg.

[Source: AutoExpress] Kia Rio Hybrid
To mark the massive expansion of Korea's hybrid vehicle development programme, Kia Motors is displaying a very special version of the Kia Rio at Geneva. The European premiere of the Kia Rio hybrid celebrates the recent announcement that Kia Motors, together with Hyundai, is to supply the Korean Ministry of the Environment with an additional 3,390 hybrid vehicles over the next two years, as part of the country's on-going programme of 'real-world' testing aimed at creating eco-friendly cars.

The Kia Rio Hybrid sedan (also known as the Kia Pride in some markets), created by Kia R&D to take part in these 'real-world' test fleet activities, features a unique powertrain with a 1.4-litre, 90 ps gasoline engine, mated to a high-torque 12kW, 95 Nm AC synchronised electric motor and a CVT gearbox.

The electric motor is mounted between the flywheel and the gearbox and 'assists' the gasoline engine during starting, accelerating and hill-climbing. During steady cruising the electric motor switches off, while during deceleration it employs 'regenerative braking' to store energy and re-charge its power pack.

The hybrid Rio is the first Kia to employ a CVT (continuously variable transmission) and also features computer-controlled stop/start motoring which switches both engine and motor off whenever the car comes to a standstill for more than a few seconds.

Special lightweight components parts cut the Rio Hybrid's weight by 220 kg. It accelerates briskly from 0-to-100 kph in 12.2 seconds, can reach a top speed of 180 kph and returns a fuel consumption of 5.29 litres per 100 km (53.4 mpg). Air pollutants are reduced by 37% and fuel efficiency is improved by 44%.

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