2015 NAIAS: Hyundai Unveils 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Promises 22 Miles EV Range

South-Korean automaker Hyundai has officially unveiled its 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will go on sale in the U.S. later this year.

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will go on sale in the U.S. later this year.

The firm’s first U.S.-market plug-in, the five-seat Sedan will be offered alongside a non plug-in hybrid version of the Hyundai Sonata, and features a 9.8 kilowatt-hour lithium polymer battery pack roughly five times the size of the lithium ion battery pack found in its non plug-in sibling.

That, says Hyundai, should mean an all-electric range of ‘up to’ 22 miles, although we note that official EPA range testing has yet to take place.

Unlike the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, which uses a continuously variable planetary gearbox to eliminate gear changes and provide a smooth transition between operating modes, the Hyundai Sonata plug-in hybrid uses a conventional six-speed automatic transmission mated to the 2.0-litre four-cylinder GDI engine.

Inside, there's little to differentiate it from its non plug-in sibling.

Inside, there’s little to differentiate it from its non plug-in sibling.

In place of a torque converter however, Hyundai has placed what it calls a “Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device” or TMED. Sitting between the gearbox and the gasoline engine, the TMED is both more efficient than a standard torque converter and capable of driving the car in electric-only mode.

Rated at 50 kilowatts, Hyundai says the TMED fitted to the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is 32 percent more powerful than the one used in the non plug-in Sonata Hybrid model and enables a higher all-electric top speed, although we note that’s not mentioned in the official press release.

What is mentioned however, is a claimed 93 MPGe combined in EV mode based on Hyundai’s own testing, and an economy of 40 mpg combined when in ‘charge sustaining mode’ or conventional hybrid mode with an empty battery pack.

In terms of charging, Hyundai says the Sonata PHEV can be charged from empty to full in two and a half hours using a standard level 2 charging station, or five hours using a domestic 120-volt outlet.

The Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will charge in about 2.5 hours from a level 2 charging station.

The Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will charge in about 2.5 hours from a level 2 charging station.

As with other plug-in hybrids on the market today, the 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will come with its own Blue Link App suite of interconnected services, allowing drivers to remotely start and stop charging, precondition their car before leaving, and schedule future charging or climate control as required.

Drivers will also be able to query recharge time, estimated range, and battery state of charge.

As with other plug-in hybrids, the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is expected to qualify for a $2,500 federal tax credit towards the cost of their car, while owners will benefit from the usual Hyundai Assurance program offered to all U.S. customers.

But is it a compliance car? An initial launch market suggests yes.

But is it a compliance car? An initial launch market suggests yes.

Final prices have yet to be set, but Hyundai says the 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will go on sale later this year in select key markets across the U.S. Sadly, that translates to the usual compliance car market state of California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, at leas for a while.

Will Hyundai’s all-new 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid gain an edge over some of its plug-in competition thanks to its claimed 22-miles of all-electric range? Or will it find itself like so many other plug-in hybrids on the market and sell single or double-digit numbers each month?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

————————————

Want to keep up with the latest news in evolving transport? Don’t forget to follow Transport Evolved on Twitter, like us on Facebook and G+, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

______________________________________

Want to keep up with the latest news in evolving transport? Don’t forget to follow Transport Evolved on Twitter, like us on Facebook and G+, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting Patreon.com.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInDigg thisShare on RedditEmail this to someonePin on Pinterest

Related News

  • It’s somewhat frustrating when automotive manufactures publish the raw battery capacity, but omit to state the “usable battery capacity”.nnEg: nThe stated 22 miles range on 9.8 kWh seems very inefficient (2.2 miles/kWh); however a more typical 3.5 miles/kWh tells us the “usable battery capacity” is closer to 6.3 kWh (22miles / 3.5miles/kWh). nA 6.3 kWh “usable battery capacity” seems to also align with the quoted charging time of ~2.5 hours. The 2.4kW charger (120V*20A), would require ~2.6 hours to fully charge 6.3 kWh (~2.6h * 2.4kW).nnIMO: nA true “usable battery capacity” closer to 9.8 kWh would enable many more electric miles per year as it would enable ~34 miles range (9.8 kWh * 3.5 miles/kWh) per charge. 34 miles is significant in it’s the average daily travel distance (12,500 miles/year / 365 days/year is 34.3 miles/day). nnAn all electric range of ~34 miles would allow ~80% of days to be driven off a single home charge without needing public infrastructure. An electric range of ~22 miles would mean on average burning gas for ~12 miles per day, or finding someplace publicly to plug-in for ~1.5 hours per day (12 miles / 3.5 miles/kWh / 2.4 kW/h).nnThe difference in cost to maximize electric miles could be $0 if had access to free charging at work, or as much as $365/year (365 days * ~$1/session/day u2026 ~$30/mo). The alternative of 12 gas miles per day would require 110gal gas per year (12 miles / 40 MPG * 365 u2026 ~9gal/mo) u2026 costing ~275/year ($23/mo) at ~$2.50/gal; or $550/year ($46/mo) at $5/gal. However not plugging-in at night would triple gas cost to $825u2026$1650/year.

    • Sorry, for the bit of math u2026 just pointing out how significant 34 miles of electric range can be for altering an average drivers daily driving. 34 miles is enough to remove dependencies on gas and public charging infrastructure 80% of days driven in a year.nnAlso significant, is the importance of knowing “usable battery capacity”.

  • Joe

    Brian Henderson, I had the same thoughts as you and appreciate your taking the time to lay down some numbers! nnnMy only comment on this is a somewhat pointless remark about the look of the car. The exterior is boring enough to make me wonder if Hyundai really wants to sell these to anyone, but the interior is really what made me wrinkle my nose. I can count over 30 buttons on the dashboard, not counting the steering wheel. Aside from the LCD, the interior resembles every car from the 1990s. I’m not saying I expect Hyundai to go all Tesla or anything (I actually like SOME tactile buttons) but it really looks dull.

    • vdiv

      Some people prefer dedicated singlu0435-function buttons and a “dull” or a conservative interior. Getting the later from Hyundai is newsworthy 🙂

    • Michael Thwaite

      +1 It does rather feel a bit 90’s doesn’t it. I have to say, I too am no longer a fan of the 90’s Peugeot 605!