KIA Motors has revealed a new iMT manual gearbox’s details and specifications, for its forthcoming mild-hybrid models, which the firm claims to offers improved fuel economy and greater driver engagement. This new gearbox has been designed and developed by Hyundai’s technical centre in Germany. This system will be replacing the traditional mechanical linkage for the clutch with an electronic wired connection – ‘clutch by wire’ with the system then integrated into the 48V MHEV powertrain system.
Michael Winkler, KIA’s powertrain boss, said that manuals still accounted for more than half of the Korean firm’s sales in Europe. “Manual gearboxes are a real driver for Europe, so we wanted to look at how to electrify a manual transmission,” said Winkler.
KIA claims that this system will help to boosts fuel efficiency and reduce CO
2 emission up to 3%. It is operated by a mild-hybrid’s starter generator to switch off the engines when coasting while keeping the selected gear is engaged.
Electronic wired connection might sound vague to operate but it is said to be quite simple. As you start slowing down by taking your foot off the pedals, the mild-hybrid system shuts down the engine before the start-stop system activates, thereby saving that extra drop of fuel. If you still want to get going again, all you need to do is simply dab on either the accelerator or brake pedal. The car remains in the gear engaged before and the engine restarts at speed thanks to the mild-hybrid system on board. The system is also capable of shutting down the engine and coasting in-gear on the motorway, helping save fuel.
This new iMT tech will firstly be offered in the European market later in other countries.