Kia will roll out its so-called intelligent Manual Tranmission technology in the coming months. With this iMT system, the physical connection between the clutch pedal and the clutch of the car disappears. Instead, the coupling works on the basis of an electronic signal.

This should make it possible to switch off the engine while driving as soon as little to no power is required. This is also called sailing, so for example if you have to get off the gas for a while. This can be on the highway, but also when rolling out for a traffic light.

This was already possible with a hybrid car, ie with a drivetrain that also includes an automatic gearbox. With the iMT system, Kia now also wants to do this for the combination with manual gearbox.

For this, the brand applies the technique to the models with a mild hybrid system. This includes a so-called belt start generator with 48 V electric motor. In short, this starter generator can crank the fuel engine back up quickly when the driver goes back on the gas.

The iMT system viewed from below. (Photo: Kia)

Not first in its free

The engine simply continues in the gear already inserted. You do not have to release the lever first before switching off the engine, as is the case with regular fuel cars with a stop-start system.

If pressing the clutch is the first operation, the engine is started without being in a specific gear, so with the clutch open. In this way, the mild hybrid system can absorb more kinetic energy in the battery pack. Kia thinks that there can be achieved fuel savings and CO2 profit of about 3 percent.

The Kia Ceed EcoDynamics + with diesel engine will be the first model to be equipped with iMT technology. The recently upgraded Kia Rio will also have it available, albeit in conjunction with the 1.0-liter petrol engine. This version will come to Europe in the third quarter of this year. Other models will follow later this year, Kia said.

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Coupling - Cornelis Schetst