Korean automaker Kia's aim to lower the average CO2 emissions of its range by 25 per cent before the end of the decade has been given a significant boost with the launch of the their first plug-in hybrid model, the Optima PHEV.
Priced at £31,495 (Rs 27.92 lakh), the Optima PHEV comes with a range of up to 33 miles in all-electric mode. It gets a 154bhp, 2-litre direct injection petrol engine and a 67bhp electric motor powered by a 9.8kW lithium-ion polymer battery pack.
The electric motor replaces the torque converter in the 6-speed automatic transmission. When working together, the petrol engine and electric motor generate a combined output of 202bhp and 375Nm of torque.
Kia says it has made some design revisions which contribute towards the car’s low CO2 emissions and good fuel economy. The most significant aerodynamic change is an active air flap grille which lowers the car's drag co-efficient to 0.25 when closed. The clever integration of the batteries behind the rear seat and in the spare wheel well, along with a 15-litre reduction in the car's petrol tank, means the Optima PHEV is still able to offer a decent 307-litre boot space.
Hybrid sales in the UK and mainland Europe have doubled over the past five years and are expected to reach 700,000 units a year by the end of the decade. The Optima PHEV then is a clever move by Kia to ensure that the brand is well positioned to take advantage of this growth.