Automotive

2016 Hyundai Sonata plug-in hybrid makes 22 miles on zero gas

2016 Hyundai Sonata plug-in hy...
The Sonata PHEV economy numbers break down to 93 MPGe combined in EV mode, based on internal estimates
The Sonata PHEV economy numbers break down to 93 MPGe combined in EV mode, based on internal estimates
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A 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder GDI engine coupled to the 50 kW electric motor
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A 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder GDI engine coupled to the 50 kW electric motor
Economy numbers break down to 93 MPGe combined in EV mode based on internal estimates
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Economy numbers break down to 93 MPGe combined in EV mode based on internal estimates
The Sonata PHEV can can travel 22 miles before you even have to start burning fossil fuels
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The Sonata PHEV can can travel 22 miles before you even have to start burning fossil fuels
The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will be built at the Asan, South Korea plant and will go on sale in select markets later this year
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The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will be built at the Asan, South Korea plant and will go on sale in select markets later this year
Sonata PHEV dash
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Sonata PHEV dash
The Sonata PHEV features a rather cool "Blue Link" smartphone app
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The Sonata PHEV features a rather cool "Blue Link" smartphone app
The Sonata PHEV features a rather cool "Blue Link" smartphone app
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The Sonata PHEV features a rather cool "Blue Link" smartphone app
The Sonata PHEV can can travel 22 miles before you even have to start burning fossil fuels
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The Sonata PHEV can can travel 22 miles before you even have to start burning fossil fuels
The Sonata PHEV economy numbers break down to 93 MPGe combined in EV mode, based on internal estimates
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The Sonata PHEV economy numbers break down to 93 MPGe combined in EV mode, based on internal estimates
View gallery - 9 images

What was once the province of the rich and relentlessly eco-conscious is now heading down-market at a high rate of speed. Only a few years ago, hybrids either came in the Prius flavor, or were only available on upper end Lexus products. But now, a company as declaratively proletariat and everyman as Hyundai is rolling out a plug-in hybrid – one that can can travel 22 miles before you even have to start burning fossil fuels.

Rolling out at the Detroit Auto Show, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata plug-in hybrid is notable for a number of things.

First and foremost, Hyundai says this thing can go for 22 miles (35.4 km) using just battery power alone. Meaning, if you don't do much driving, say a short commute or just puttering around on errands, you might be able to get through your day without using the internal combustion engine at all.

Also notable is the powertrain. In this case a 9.8 kWh lithium polymer battery pack is expected to give Sonata Plug-in Hybrid the expected all-electric range of up to 22 miles, which, Hyundai says, is farther than any other midsize PHEV sedan (for reference, the Toyota Prius makes about half that distance in "EV Mode"). There's a six-speed automatic transmission with a what's called a Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device (TMED) attached to it. In layman's terms it's a 50 kW electric motor in place of the torque converter. This new electrical motor is 32 percent more powerful than the motor used the in regular Sonata Hybrid and also allows EV operation at higher speeds. Old school-wise, there's a 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder GDI engine coupled to the electric motor. Said mill cranks out 154 horsepower (114 kW) and 140 lb. ft. (190 Nm) of torque and the whole she-bang puts out 202 horsepower at 6,000 rpm.

Economy numbers break down to 93 MPGe combined in EV mode based on internal estimates. In charge sustaining mode (which I'm assuming means using some sort of regenerative braking scheme) the Sonata PHEV is expected to return 38 mpg in the city, 43 mpg on the highway and 40 mpg combined. Recharge time ranges from two and a half hours at a 240 V Level 2 charging station to five hours using a standard 120 V outlet.

The Sonata PHEV features a rather cool "Blue Link" smartphone app
The Sonata PHEV features a rather cool "Blue Link" smartphone app

The Sonata PHEV also features a rather cool "Blue Link" smartphone app. This handy bit of modern technology will allow you to perform remote control services and vehicle diagnostics. So you can start or stop charging or set up charging schedule with days of the week and time to take advantage of lower nighttime electricity rates. It also lets you deal with climate control and the defroster (handy on very hot or very cold days). And with the connected car services you can run vehicle diagnostics/status, check existing battery level and a whole host of other parameters.

Finally, it's notable that it looks like a car. It does not look like a moon ship or something an anime character would cook dinner in. It looks like a rather run-of-the-mill sedan. Three box design (more or less), squashed hexagonal grill that has been the fashion for a while now, dog-bone lower front end, squinty headlights. The only exterior feature that gives it away is the round port just below the driver's side A-pillar that looks like a misplaced gas cap – this is where the plug-in portion of the plug-in hybrid happens.

The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will be built at the Asan, South Korea plant and will go on sale in select markets later this year. Sadly, no word on MSRP, but c'mon, it's a Hyundai, how expensive can it be?

Source: Hyundai

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11 comments
Freyr Gunnar
> Meaning, if you don't do much driving, say a short commute or just puttering around on errands, you might be able to get through your day without using the internal combustion engine at all. The problem is that those cars cost way too much just to drive small distances. In that case, an e-bike is a cheaper option, possibly as a cargo-bike to haul stuff.
Aross
I wonder how far it will go at -25c with the heater and defroster running!
Thomas Boles
"Charge sustaining" is a common term used to describe a state in a hybrid EV where the charge in the battery is sustained (not used) and the vehicle is powered by the, usually, IC engine. (Regen braking is only distantly involved and they are not the same thing.) In some vehicles, this mode of operation can be at different levels of battery charge. The Chevy Volt has a "hold" mode that when selected, allows the battery charge to be sustained and the car runs with the IC engine turning a generator, making electrical power for the electrical motor to drive the wheels. Also, the term is "shebang", not "she-bang". Finally, the Volt has provided good-looking and sporty plug-in hybrid performance at moderate cost since 2011. The Sonata is a nice looking car that adds to the market and I hope this version does better in the marketplace than the last one.
Richard Barrett
@Aross ,,,, you can go as far as the money lasts. Just stop at the next GAS station after about 300 miles. That's what's nice about a PHEV.
Neil Farbstein
22 miles? So what!
Pat Pending
"...the Sonata PHEV is expected to return 38 mpg in the city, 43 mpg on the highway and 40 mpg combined." Am I missing something here? My diesel Volvo XC70 has exactly the same figures and it's a tank with wheels.
Gargamoth
Hyundai makes really nice cars. I wish their would hurry with their HND-9 Genesis Coupe, a hybrid version would be good also.
Solomookie
@Neil Farbstein: "22 miles, so what?" So my job is 2.5 miles from my house; meaning 5 miles a day. This car can take me to work and back on electric alone for 4 straight days. @Freyr Gunnar: I prefer to commute to work each day regardless of weather. So an e-bike is not a particularly attractive option. @Pat Pending: It's true that there are many standard fuel cars that match or beat the mileage stats they give. However, as a commuter vehicle, the "mileage" is much higher. Also, as a commuter, we're talking zero emissions. Not saying it's for everyone, but it's nice to see as an option.
Kevin Newman
the author of this article seems to lead one with the impresion there is only ONE Japanese car mfg that has hybrid cars - in fact there are TWO Japanese mfg that make hybrid cars - Toyota and Honda - the Honda insight has been around for a while - the new one looks a lot like the Prius and speaking of Honda ... with my 1979 Honda Civic 5 speed with the 1458cc CVCC engine went 425 miles on 10 gallons of gas - 42.5 MPG so I gues the Hyundai Sonata is better - it gets 43 MPG hwy
Cispa Thrasher
Wow. My Volt goes 44mi "before you even have to start burning fossil fuels", but its battery is twice as big... go figure. To be totally honest though you should mention that most all electric cars burn fossil fuels, coal usually.