Hyundai Sonata PHEV First Drive

JUN 5 2015 BY MARK KANE 36

Hyundai Sonata PHEV

Hyundai Sonata PHEV

Hyundai soon will launch in the US and Canada its first plug-in hybrid vehicle – the Sonata PHEV, which will be in competition with the Ford Fusion Energi and Honda Accord PHEV.

Sonata PHEV’s advantage will be a slightly bigger battery (9.8 kWh from LG Chem), which lets it qualify for $4,917 worth of federal tax credit. And it comes with a Lifetime battery warranty..

All-electric range is expected at some 24 miles with fuel economy at 93 MPGe (40 MPG or 5.88 l/100 km in charge sustaining mode).

50 kW electric motor is combined with a 2.0L GDI engine and six-speed automatic gearbox for a total of 151 kW of system power. All-electric mode is available up to 75 mph (121 km/h).

Hyundai Sonata PHEV will be manufactured in South Korea and enter market this fall, initially in the ZEV states (California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont).

The 2016 Sonata HEV & PHEV batteires (both from LG Chem)

The 2016 Sonata HEV & PHEV batteires (both from LG Chem)

Price isn’t known yet, but we have reports from first test drives for media. Here is Green Car Congress’ opinion:

Driving impressions. Overall, the Sonata PHEV is a pleasure to drive. The roomy cabin is comfortable, even in the back seat. The transitions from electric to hybrid mode are smooth, and noise is kept to a minimum. The HMI on the center console display is extremely usable, and provides good detail on energy flow and driving performance.

The driving route provided for the media event was essentially divided between stop-and-go driving down the Pacific Coast Highway through the small towns and cities dotted along it and higher speed (and relatively constant) driving on the 5. These are the conditions that show the Sonata PHEV at its best. However, there wasn’t much opportunity to get a sense of Sonata handling in higher-speed cornering, steep inclines, and winding roads.

On the route we drove, the Sonata PHEV (and HEV) handled and performed extremely well. As noted above, the Charge Battery function was a nice addition. Our sense, unconfirmed at this point, is that with the PHEV battery pack situated toward the rear of the car, the PHEV might have a tendency to wallow through a tight corner—as do most vehicles with a rear positioned battery pack.

Further, the acceleration off the line seemed just a tiny bit slow, although there is no hesitation.

All that said, however, Sonata is not targeting a high-performance buyer.

Although Hyundai has yet to announce pricing, the Hyundai team suggested the pricing would be compelling. If that is indeed the case, Hyundai may well advance the market for a mainstream, mid-size plug-in hybrid sedan beyond what its competition has yet been able to do.”

A collection of review summaries can be found at PluginCars, while below we enclose videos:

2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug -in Hybrid 1st. drive with Product Planner John Shon

2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid with iWatch Blue Link App

2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid presentation by Yong Seon Kim

Source: Green Car Congress

Categories: Hyundai

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36 Comments on "Hyundai Sonata PHEV First Drive"

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Stephen

Fusion Energi, Sonata PHEV.
GM. You can do a Malibu Plug-in.

bro1999

Do an Equinox/GMC Terrain plug-in!!

ArkansasVolt

+1

kubel

+2

tom911

+3

Nix

+4

Scramjett

+5 preferably with a Voltec power-train.

Speculawyer

Yeah, but it will probably end up as another 20 mile electric range PHEV. But I guess that is better than nothing.

Nix

Looks like a decent entry point into the PHEV market for Hyundai. Just in time to meet their CARB ZEV mandate.

25 miles on a charge would probably provide somewhere around 4,000-5,000 miles of gas-free operation out of the 10 kWh battery. Or in other words, 2 of these will likely drive as many miles per year on electricity as 1 pure EV with a 20+ kWh battery pack (based upon average Leaf statistics).

While that might not make the purists happy, it makes good use of batteries. If they can attract 3 more mass market buyers for their PHEV than they could have attracted with a less than 100 mile range EV, it is a net win for the environment than selling 1 EV and 2 gas cars.

Speculawyer

I think they get to take advantage of credits from their sister company’s KIA Soul EV.

Nix

Yup. They are taking the same approach as GM is with the Spark EV and Volt. Use EV’s for part of the ZEV mandate, and fill in the rest with PHEV’s.

Lensman

I find it a bizarre trend to keep reading comments from people who write as if batteries are somehow a finite and shrinking resource; as if batteries are merely swapping out one type of fossil fuel for another.

The best use of batteries is to eliminate 90% or more of a driver’s consumption of oil or other fossil fuels. Not merely 30%-40% by using a tiny battery pack of less than 10 kWh. The Volt, with its 16.5 kWh battery pack, is getting closer, but even that only provides 70% replacement of gas-powered miles with electric-powered ones.

ModernMarvelFan

“The Volt, with its 16.5 kWh battery pack, is getting closer, but even that only provides 70% replacement of gas-powered miles with electric-powered ones.”

How do you know it is only 70%?

What about all the BEV owner’s gas miles when they switch to their Non-plugin car backup?

How do you count those?

Nix
Lensman — It isn’t the batteries that are the finite resource. It is the number of early adopters who are willing to live with 75 miles of EV-only range that is not growing at the rate it used to. When you say “The best use of batteries is to eliminate 90% or more of a driver’s consumption of oil or other fossil fuels.”, you are thinking micro-economics. You are thinking about this one person at a time. When it comes to this early point in the evolution of EV’s, and having them go Mass Market, my mind is on the macro-economics. I want to see as many total miles driven on electricity as possible. In my mind, 10,000 miles driven in EV mode is 10,000 miles driven in EV mode, regardless of whether it is driven by 1 driver in 1 car, or 3 drivers in 3 cars. My hypothesis is that more mass market drivers would buy PHEV’s than pure EV’s. Enough more that we would get more total miles driven in EV mode if there were more PHEV choices. My evidence is the number of REX version of the BMW i3 that have been sold compared to the… Read more »
Nix
Lensman — It isn’t the batteries that are the finite resource. It is the number of early adopters who are willing to live with 75 miles of EV-only range that is not growing at the rate it used to. When you say “The best use of batteries is to eliminate 90% or more of a driver’s consumption of oil or other fossil fuels.”, you are thinking micro-economics. You are thinking about this one person at a time. When it comes to this early point in the evolution of EV’s, and having them go Mass Market, my mind is on the macro-economics. I want to see as many total miles driven on electricity as possible. In my mind, 10,000 miles driven in EV mode is 10,000 miles driven in EV mode, regardless of whether it is driven by 1 driver in 1 car, or 3 drivers in 3 cars. My hypothesis is that more mass market drivers would buy PHEV’s than pure EV’s. Enough more that we would get more total miles driven in EV mode if there were more PHEV choices. My evidence is the number of REX version of the BMW i3 that have been sold compared to the… Read more »
Steven

25 miles will get me to work and back… just barely.

David Murray

the range sounds good for an entry-level PHEV (better than Ford’s) but I’m not impressed with 50 KW on the drive motor. Ford has 68KW and I have test driven those. They get pretty sluggish when going faster than 45 mph unless you allow the gas engine to run. I would imagine this Sonata will be even worse.

Brian Swanson

The performance really depends on how the electric motor is connected. Since this car has a 6 speed transmission they might get some electric only performance gain by having gears to switch.

jdbob

The Energis are limited by how much power than can get out the battery. The Hyundai seems to be limited by the motor power. Will be interesting to see what the 0-60 time in EV only mode is, assuming they even have an EV only mode. In the first video John Shon says that if you stomp the accelerator the gas engine will come but he didn’t say whether applied to their “Electric Mode” or not.

TX NRG

The Ford Energi’s have 88kw motors and combined ICE/EV 195HP with 85mph top EV only speed. Sonata might be a little slower but offers a bit more EV range.

Sonatas were knock-offs of the Accord in previous generations but now seemed to have morphed to look more like the Fusion with the Aston Martin like grill.

Robb Stark

Other sites are saying this qualifies for $4911 Federal Tax credit?

Nix

That sounds about right. Here is the tax rule:

“the credit is equal to $2,500 plus, for a vehicle which draws propulsion energy from a battery with at least 5 kilowatt hours of capacity, $417, plus an additional $417 for each kilowatt hour of battery capacity in excess of 5 kilowatt hours. The total amount of the credit allowed for a vehicle is limited to $7,500.”

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Plug-In-Electric-Vehicle-Credit-IRC-30-and-IRC-30D

When the official number is calculated by the IRS, it will show up here:

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Qualified-Vehicles-Acquired-after-12-31-2009

Until that happens, we can really only speculate. The car maker has to certify the car with the IRS first.

Martin B.

The price will likely be similar to the Volt so I wonder how can this compete in this segment with such a small battery? They will hope the consumer doesn’t shop around and look at the facts or specifications?

Nate

Volt driver here, and while I would still prefer even my first gen Volt (let alone the second) to this car, I can see this might be a good car to consider for people who:

-have an average daily commute in the 15 range, or less than 30 if they can plug in at work. These are low numbers, to account for winter but would be higher in mild climates.

-want a bigger cabin than the Volt.

-would never buy an American and/or GM car.

-have a Sonata or Sonata hybrid and want to upgrade.

I’m glad to see Hyundai bring out this option.

Londo Bell

Not to mention the 10 years/100000 mi full coverage (bumper to bumper) warranty.

Nix

That’s sort of like asking why Ford is able to sell any PHEV Fusions, since the Volt has longer battery range. Yet the combined sales numbers of all of Ford’s EV’s and PHEV’s is very similar to all of GM’s when totaled together.

Different strokes for different folks.

Doug

The Sonata is very roomy inside. I like bigger sedans. This car has my attention.

Absidu

Finally flat trunk that’s what is it’s all about!

Lensman

24 miles of estimated electric range. Yawn.

Wake me up when some auto maker offers a PHEV with better electric range than the Volt… not worse.

But I suppose we should be grateful that at least Hyundai isn’t wasting all its alternative fuel vehicle development money on “fool cell” cars.

Nix

That would be the BMW i3 REX. Depending on how picky you are about the definition of “PHEV”…

ModernMarvelFan

“50 kW electric motor is combined with a 2.0L GDI engine and six-speed automatic gearbox for a total of 151 kW of system power. All-electric mode is available up to 75 mph (121 km/h).”

What is its all electric 0-60mph time? 20 seconds? LOL.

This is worse than Energi. Just another stronger version of Prius Plugin…

50KW motor won’t allow you to merge onto hwy properly in all EV mode for sure in this large/heavy car.

Daniel

Don’t forget this setup has a transmission. If you combine a lower gear ratio with the rpm range of an electric motor while in ev mode you might get pretty good acceleration.

ModernMarvelFan

Gearing it up only helps low end acceleration or torque, it doesn’t do a thing for 0-60mph which requires high end power.

Just_Chris

This car will be cheap, big and slow. It is unlikely to be driven “hard” down a road with bends, ever. My biggest hope for it is that it is mass produced putting a hard floor on the market.

Nick

“the Charge Battery function”

I wonder what that is referring to? Is this a button you can push to have the engine charge the battery?

That’s a super handy feature for using the car as a backup power supply.

PHEVfan

Nick,
That is exactly what it means. I wish other PHEV makers (ahem, FORD) would also offer this. This is a great feature. It only requires a software change and maybe one switch on the dash.
I have a >100 mile trip I do often that has city driving on both ends of a freeway drive (plus traffic on occasion in between). It would be great to use the ‘charge’ mode while on the freeway to extend my EV driving at the end of the trip when I get off the freeway.