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